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The 5 attributes of a great nurse

Written by Dave Cullen

Since time immemorial nursing is a profession that has been held in high regard. For many people, nursing is more of a calling than a career, the desire to demonstrate compassion towards those in need of care remains a core component of the profession. However, there are a number of other important qualities required to be a great nurse. A nurse must be committed to doing their utmost to alleviate suffering, possess a high degree of EQ (Emotional Intelligence) and maintain a strong technical knowledge of the latest medical practices for their discipline.

The following is a list of 5 key attributes that make a great nurse:

Compassion: A nurse needs to be able to expressing genuine sympathy and concern for those patients in their care. A sick patient will experience a variety of challenging emotional states within a healthcare facility from fear of deteriorating health or death, anxiety, frustration or depression. A nurse must be capable of providing emotional support to not only the patient but also their family members who may be fearful of losing their loved one.

Empathy: In order to effectively convey compassion, a nurse must demonstrate the skill of active listening and encourage an environment where the patient feels comfortable enough to communicate openly with them. Empathy is the capability to recognise the emotions that other people are experiencing. In the case of nursing, it means being able to appreciate the suffering of a patient and imagine their feelings from their point of view.

Selflessness: Being able to go above and beyond the call of duty to meet the needs of a patient is one of the primary defining qualifies of a great nurse. An example of acting with more concern for the wellbeing of others than yourself may be something as simple as working through your lunch to spend time with a patient.

Technical capability: Becoming a great nurse can only be achieved by a relentless desire to learn and expand the limits of one’s technical knowledge. It is essential that a nurse continues to update their skills and keep abreast of developments in medical sciences, this means reading articles published in academic journals and attending relevant healthcare conferences. The healthcare industry is constantly evolving and improving its practices, for this reason, it is important to periodically familiarise oneself with any policy, compliance or process changes. Additionally, obtaining required certifications in new skills and patient care procedures is a fundamental part of the nursing profession.  Failing to do so could result in placing a patient’s life at risk.

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