Ever wonder what fellow nurses deem to be the #1 important trait of a good nurse? There are certainly numerous invaluable traits that a nurse must possess. We’ve collected comments from our devoted readers who have written in to share their stories and their opinions about the most important skills, not only to thrive in a nursing team, but also to provide top patient care
1. Jack of all trades
I am an LPN of 21 years! I feel I have been a witness to so many experiences and situations and am grateful! Yes, the job gets so hectic and you must be a jack of all trades. Sometimes you can’t give all to everyone all the time; first and foremost is your patient!
Delegation is a hard job for me because I feel and think that everyone working needs to do their job, and if they don’t, then I will do it and sometimes exhaust myself mentally and physically. I do not know any other way! I LOVE being what God made me for!!!
2. Team player
I have been a nurse in Michigan for 23 years. I have seen the changes in our technology, and tons of documentation and state regulations, and it has become quite the business for all companies, namely pharmaceuticals. What is really sad is to see the heart of nursing forced to change by all the pressure put on us. WE are mostly and hopefully in nursing for the true compassion we have for human beings. Unfortunately, a lot of people are getting into it for the “job security and supply and demand” and for the steady income. The “policies” our companies implement are a setup for failure for nurses, as we are seen as expendable, easily replaced, etc. [We have] worries about “being written up,” which leads to doom and possible termination!
Team support in nursing is a rare quality that is burdened to those FEW of us who still TRY to influence our other nurses to be thoughtful and kind and try to trust each other, as we are all in the same boat. Because of all these micro-sub-management positions being created, it leads to nurses becoming cruel and competitive, for more hours, positions, work stations, schedules, etc. It’s exhausting, but I stay faithful it will get better!
3. The right attitude
I have been in nursing for 30 years. Med carts should be kept clean and organized, period. It just makes it easier to work. MIA nurses scare me and I wonder how they get away with it. Climbing the ladder should be via smart work and higher education. I have seen many people get manager positions without the backup they needed and were quickly demoted. Hard work, knowledge and attitude are what really help us to stay focused. My love of nursing has always been at the bedside. But above all, we must take care of ourselves first so we can be our best and do our best at work. When we leave at the end of the day, leave the job at the door. Take it off like a jacket and focus on home once you leave.
The problem I have noticed in nursing is the lack of support we give each other. We no longer have the post-clinical conference to hash out what just happened. We do need a place to vent, to make sense of what just happened. Be supportive of each other and be honest. Help each other grow and love each other for the individuals we all are. If you go home miserable every night, then you are probably in the wrong spot for you. Nursing is demanding—we all agree on that. Attitude is everything.
I am a firm believer that a nurse who says that they have never made a mistake is a nurse who should never, ever, ever be trusted. Not even in a crisis and they are the only person in the hospital…they are too perfect and perfect people have never had that gut check moment where you are like “Oh, crap. That was really close. I have to be more careful! I could have really hurt that patient.” When a nurse is perfect, they have nowhere to improve to.
5. Documentation prowess
Be the best nurse you can be and find peace of mind in that (easier said than done, I know). And when being your best isn’t enough for the borderline personality disordered clipboard-toting types, document, document, document—on your interactions with them, and anyone else you think may have a stick up their nether regions and is out to cause headaches for you. A key word with a date and time on your report sheet and a saved draft in a (non-work) email account that can be appended to are priceless when the time comes.