12 Essential Skills and Qualities of a Nurse

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Nurses have a great responsibility to care for the lives of patients, so their technical skills need to be excellent. On top of that, though, there are several soft skills and qualities of a nurse, including passion, communication, collaboration, attention to detail, and efficiency.

nurse looking close at IV bag

Nurses are on the front lines of the battle to save lives. The essential skills and qualities of a nurse can mean the difference between survival and death. That’s why Concordia University Texas (CTX) commits to the central purpose of graduating the very best nurses that we possibly can.

In pursuit of that excellence, we admit the best and the brightest nursing students to our nursing program through our traditional four-year track and our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track. However, for prospective nurses who want to make a career change quickly, the ABSN track is the ideal solution, allowing you to graduate in as few as 16 months.

Your decision to become a nurse should be based on your heart for patients; you must be dedicated and passionate. That’s because nursing goes above and beyond the technicalities of measuring and administering medicine. Some of the skills you need to become a nurse can be taught in the classroom, but others are more intangible. So, do you have what it takes to become a Concordia nurse?

Hands writing on an application

While having these skills can help you to become a great nurse, they aren’t the only factor that will be considered when you apply to a nursing program. Learn some tips that will get your nursing school application noticed.

The 12 Skills and Qualities of a Nurse You’ll Need for Your Career

Across the board, from maternal/newborn care to the intensive care unit (ICU), nurses share a few common skills and traits that naturally drive them to be excellent caretakers.

Concordia University Texas’s ABSN track can help you further develop these skills needed to become a nurse, which include:

1. Resourcefulness

Bedside patient care — and the illnesses that put patients in the hospital — is a complex process, involving both the treatment of the root disease and promotion of wellness. You will discover through your career how much little adjustments and learned strategies will help you provide better care.

2. Creative Problem Solving

Whether you’ve learned to fix the printer with a barbecue skewer or tighten a screw in your desk chair with a dime, you probably already have the kind of creative problem-solving it takes to be a nurse. Every patient will present a unique challenge to you, and you must be able to approach each one with your problem-solving and creativity skills ready.

3. Intuition

You know what people are going to say before they say it. You anticipate needs of others before they ask. You can keep track of unique patterns and stay ahead of your work. This kind of professional intuition is what separates life-changing nurses from the rest, and it will serve you well for the rest of your nursing career.

4. Confidence

To be able to trust your intuition, you must have confidence in yourself and your ability to make sound decisions. To gain this confidence in your nursing abilities, you must attend a quality nursing program.

ctx nursing student helping a patient

Here at Concordia University Texas, our ABSN track is designed to set our students up for success. Aside from the online coursework and high-tech labs, you’ll get a chance to apply your nursing skills during clinicals before you graduate. This will give you a chance to develop the skills and confidence you need to provide excellent patient care.

5. Self-Discipline

Our most successful nursing students are highly self-disciplined and make a priority out of spending regular, focused time on their coursework. This carries over into successful professional nursing, as our students refuse to cut corners or compromise their patients’ care, down to the last dressing change five minutes before a shift ends.

6. Good Assessment Abilities

Can you look at a problem, immediately pick it apart, and solve the issue? If the answer is yes, then you have good assessment skills. Sometimes patients are not able to give you a detailed description of their problem, and you must figure out what’s causing their distress with a minimal number of questions. Your attention to detail will help piece together what could be the cause of the patient’s pain. Good assessment skills separate superior nurses from the average.

7. Communication

Are you good at getting people to speak to you about personal issues? This is a great skill to have, especially when it comes to dealing with a patient. You’ll have patients who are more than able to answer questions if the right ones are asked. Don’t be afraid to re-phrase questions and keep digging until you find the source of the issue that landed them in the hospital.

ABSN student working with sim manikin

Not only will it be important for you to communicate with patients, but you’ll also have to communicate to the rest of the healthcare team. It will be critical that everyone is on the same page about the patient’s care plan and is informed when things change unexpectedly.

8. Compassion

When you turn on the television and see someone’s sad story, you may imagine yourself in that person’s shoes. This is something you must do often as a nurse. It goes beyond inserting a proper IV or delivering medicine. You treat patients the way you would want to be treated, and to do that you have to empathize with them. It’s about more than just an illness or injury; it’s about helping and healing the whole patient — mind, body, and spirit.

9. Time Management

Are you a task master? Can you make the most of 24 hours in a day? Nurses juggle multiple patients during a shift. Each patient has different needs, which can range from treatment to comfort to hygiene. Nurses can’t be late for any of it. Prioritizing care and managing every minute is the only way to ensure proper care.

These are not just the skills you need to become a nurse, but all of them are essential to becoming a successful nursing student at CTX, especially in our ABSN track. Due to the accelerated nature of this track, you will need to spend a good chunk of your time completing your schoolwork and studying. While it may be a challenge, it will be worth it when you can graduate in as few as 16 months. Additionally, managing accelerated nursing school will be good practice for juggling the responsibilities in your career.

10. Sense of Humor

Being a nurse is rewarding, but it’s no walk in the park. It can be a stressful and sometimes emotionally draining occupation. That’s why it’s important to maintain a positive attitude and a sense of humor. Not only will this help you get through some of the tough days, but it can also help make your patients feel more at ease.

CTX ABSN students in lab working together

11. Endurance

While all these personality traits and characteristics make for a good nurse, you will likely need a certain level of physical endurance to get the job done. Most nurses are on their feet for the majority of their shifts. Not to mention, lifting patients, helping them while they move around, and adjusting them throughout the day takes a decent amount of strength.

12. Ability to Maintain Work-Life Balance

To be a great nurse, you must maintain a healthy work-life balance. This means prioritizing self-care, whether that’s going to the gym (this will also help you out with that physical endurance), spending time with family and friends, or setting aside time for hobbies. Being able to maintain balance is vital. Taking time to recharge your batteries after work will help prevent burnout and can help you be more present for your patients.

Nurse wearing purple scrubs in a meditation pose

See our 9 self-care tips for nursing students.

Choosing Nursing at CTX

Do you have most of the skills and qualities of a nurse? If so, it’s time to start your path to putting those qualities to use. Concordia University Texas’s Accelerated BSN track helps you advance your skills and even discover some you didn’t even know you had. Your instructors are dedicated to helping you develop those skills so you are prepared to pass the NCLEX exam and start a rewarding nursing career.

If you’re ready to enhance your skills and become a Concordia nurse, contact an admissions counselor to find out how to begin.