Nursing is a great career path to pursue. Not only is it a high-demand profession, it allows you to make a direct difference in the lives of others. Yet while it’s a rewarding field, it’s also a demanding career that you shouldn’t enter into lightly, which may lead you to wonder: “Would I be a good nurse?”
Before making the leap into nursing, you’d be wise to consider the skills and traits that help make a great nurse outlined below. Some of the traits you may already have; others you may have to strengthen through education. Combined with the nursing and medical knowledge you’ll master in the Marian University Accelerated BSN (ABSN) program, they’re what will help make you a successful nurse.
1. Strong Problem Solving Skills
Between sick patients, trauma cases, and other emergency scenarios, nurses need to be available to solve problems and manage complications every day. Whether it’s fielding questions from family members, soothing a nervous patient to get a blood draw, or managing other members of a patient’s healthcare team, having good problem solving skills is key to your day-to-day success as a nurse.
It’s a skill Allison Clark, ABSN Class of 2016, picked up during the simulation lab portion of her Marian ABSN program experience. She says the ability to apply her nursing skills in mock emergency scenarios boosted her confidence in her problem solving abilities.
“I learn the best in situations where I’m forced to use my critical thinking skills instead of just saying in this situation you should do A and B. It’s not always black and white in nursing,” she says.
Even when no one is watching, great nurses hold people and rules in high esteem. They respect confidentiality requirements, different cultures and traditions, the hospital staff, and each other. Above all, they understand that the patient is the top priority.
As part of a student-centered Catholic institution, the Marian University ABSN program instructs the importance of responsible stewardship along with dignity of the individual, peace and justice, and reconciliation. That fact mattered to Dan Francis, ABSN Class of December 2017.
“As a nurse, you are taking care of other people’s lives, children, and family members. You are out there on your own doing it. You need to have the integrity to take care of these people. When nobody is looking, you do the right thing,” he says.
Being a great nurse requires flexibility on many fronts. It’s a career that demands you to think on your feet — literally. Not only can you expect to work long shifts — sometimes overnight and on weekends — but during those shifts you’ll learn to adjust to all kinds of unforeseen circumstances.
“Nurses are made of hardworking individuals with a desire to help people and the ability to adapt to change,” says Lindsay Degnan, ABSN Class of 2015.
We prepare you for the day-to-day intricacies involved in complex healthcare environments during the more than 700 hours of clinical practice you’ll complete as part of your accelerated nursing education. Your clinical schedule will often mirror actual nursing shifts of working nurses at St. Vincent in Indianapolis or Saint Thomas Health in Nashville, who will help you understand how to adapt to complex, multi-faceted situations.
4. Compassion and Empathy
Nursing is a caregiving career; ensuring your patients feel cared for, especially when it’s tough, is vital. Great nurses empathize with their patients’ suffering, using emotional intelligence to help people feel better. Compassion for family members and other loved ones supporting the ill and injured also goes a long way.
It’s also an attribute integrated into every aspect of your accelerated nursing education. While Marian University is a Catholic institution, we welcome students of all faiths and teach nursing students to take a holistic approach to patient care that focuses on treating the mind, body, and spirit.
“While we need to be clinically smart, that can be taught. What can’t be taught is to care about a patient regardless of finances or who’s laying there — just care for them because they’re a human being,” says Ruth Lamb, ABSN Class of December 2016.
5. Strong Communication Skills
While you don’t have to be outgoing to be a great nurse, you do need to be able to communicate effectively with other nurses, medical staff, patients, and their family members to deliver an effective care plan. Out of all the members on their medical team, patients interact with nurses the most and consider them their main advocates; anticipating their needs and ensuring the rest of their care team understands their situation is key to being a great nurse.
“Marian University ABSN students are attractive to employers for how well they communicate and how they treat individual patients. … that stems from the Franciscan values that are instilled in them throughout the program,” says Dorothy Gomez, PhD, RN-CNE, dean of the Marian University Leighton School of Nursing.
Commitment to demonstrating all of the above traits in your career will go a long way toward making you a great nurse. Dedication to patients first starts with dedication to your studies and clinical experiences in our accelerated nursing program.
The Marian University ABSN program teaches you how to understand the human aspect of patient care in addition to the medical knowledge you’ll need to be a great nurse. It involves 16 months of rigorous nursing study, but you’ll learn both sets of skills from instructors who want to see you succeed.
“Focus is the biggest thing you can do to be successful in this program. Have an understanding that this is an accelerated program and that it moves quickly, but that we’re here for you and we’ll help you get through it,” says Murphee Mashburn, MSN, RN, director of nursing academic services for Marian University’s ABSN satellite location in Nashville.
Is nursing right for you? Contact one of our dedicated admissions advisors to see if nursing and our ABSN program are a good fit for you.