great nurses

What Makes a Nurse a Great Nurse?

great nursesGreat nurses have certain characteristics that stand them apart from their peers. There are certain things that they do, and certain ways that they do them, that make them extraordinary. There are a lot of factors that determine what makes a really outstanding nurse.

Here are some of the attributes that make a great nurse:

Good communication skills-You have to be able to work as a part of a team, communicate with each other, have to communicate with other members of the health team such as docs, dieticians, counselors etc.

Patient advocacy-We are the patients advocate. In certain areas like the Operating Room the patient is asleep, ventilated, paralyzed. It’s the nurse’s responsibility to advocate for their dignity, to make sure they don’t suffer any harm from poor positioning etc.

Be able to work under stressful conditions.

A nurse must be able to accept responsibility and admit their shortcomings. You have to be able to take the responsibility that comes with the job.

The skill to recognize when other staff are not coping well and to offer them support when needed.

Assertiveness-There are unfortunately some staff, doctors, and other nurses who may talk down to you, and treat you like dirt. A good nurse is able to be assertive, without being aggressive.

Leadership skills-sometimes your the one in charge and you have to be able to prioritize and delegate tasks so the job gets done.

Solid communication skills. A great nurse has excellent communication skills, especially when it comes to speaking and listening. They should be able to follow directions without problems and be able to easily communicate with patients and families.

A good nurse is able to teach and support students and new grads.

i love nursesNursing is a stressful job where traumatic situations are common place. The must have the ability to accept suffering and death without letting it get too personal is crucial. Some days can seem like non-stop gloom and doom. On the flip side, there are many heartwarming moments that can make a bad day become one of complete joy.

Patients look to nurses as their advocates i.e. the softer side of hospital bureaucracy. Being sympathetic to the patient’s hospital experience can go a long way in terms of improving patient care. Sometimes, an empathetic nurse is all patients have to look forward to.

Great nurses have empathy for the pain and suffering of patients. They are able to feel compassion and provide comfort. But at the same time they must be prepared for the occasional bout of compassion fatigue; it happens to the greatest of nurses. A great nurse will learn how to recognize the symptoms and deal with it efficiently.

Another trait of a great nurse is Flexibility.  A great nurse is flexible in regards to their working hours and responsibilities. Nurses, like doctors, are often required to work long periods of overtime, late or overnight shifts, and weekends. The upside to this is that nurses seldom have the boring same ole same ole nine to five routine.

A great nurse has excellent interpersonal skills and works well in a variety of situations with different people. They work well with other nurses, doctors, and other members of the staff. Nurses are the link between doctors and patients.

Nurses are the glue that holds the hospital together. Patients see nurses as a friendly face and doctors depend on nurses to keep them on their toes. A great nurse is able to balance the needs of patient and doctor as seamlessly as possible.

Every function in the medical field is one that can have far-reaching consequences. A great nurse pays excellent attention to detail and is careful not to skip steps or make errors. From reading a patient’s chart correctly to remembering the nuances of a delicate case, there is nothing that should be left to chance in nursing. A simple mistake can spell tragedy for another’s life. Attention to detail can literally be the difference between life and death.

love your nurseNurses are always on the go, a great nurse should be able to maintain her energy throughout her shift, whether she’s in a surgery or checking in on a patient. Staying strong, eating right, and having a healthy lifestyle outside of nursing are important attributes to being a great nurse. Nurses perform frequent physical tasks such as, standing for long periods of time, lifting heavy objects or people, and performing a number of taxing maneuvers. These daily tasks are the staples of nursing life. Nursing is definitely not a desk job.

A great nurse is able to think quickly and address problems as, or before, they arise. They have a sort of sixth sense or intuition if you will.

When dealing with sick patients, trauma cases, and emergencies, nurses always need to be on hand to solve a tricky situation. Whether it’s handling the family of the patient, soothing a patient, dealing with a doctor, or managing the staff, having good problem solving skills is a top quality of a great nurse.

Another item that helps make a great nurse is quick response. Nurses need to be ready to be able to respond quickly to emergencies and other situations that may arise. All to often, health care work is simply the response to sudden incidences, and nurses must always be prepared for the unexpected.

Staying on their feet, keeping their head cool in a crisis, and a calm demeanor are great qualities in a nurse

Respect is a must. Respect goes a long way. A great nurse respects people and the rules. They are able to remain impartial at all times and are mindful of confidentiality requirements and different cultures and traditions. Above all, they respect the wishes of the patient.

A Great nurse respects the hospital staff and has the understanding that the patient comes first. Nurses who respect others are highly respected in return.

Nurses have a very touch and difficult job and all too often they are under appreciated or not appreciated at all. Yes, there are bad ones along with the good ones, but showing them respect when they are treating you goes a long way in helping them feel appreciated and that in turn helps them along on the path to being a great nurse. At some point you will encounter one of the really great nurses, and when you do, thank them for being that outstanding nurse as it will certainly brighten their day and yours as well.

Do you know an exceptional nurse? What did they do that made them so special?


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George Tall

Author at Hug Your Nurse
George Tall works in the legal field, is a father of three, and a husband of a RN for 25 years. He enjoys writing about everything, especially nursing! He has been writing for a living, at least partially, since around 2000. As an author on dozens of websites, he enjoys being factual, while spinning a bit of humor where possible.
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