Nursing skills are not just limited to medication administration and following a doctor’s orders. Nursing is a very demanding career as well as a career that is in demand. It requires critical thinking combined with a careering personality, an ability to advocate for the patient, and a personality equipped to deal with high levels of stress and physical demand.
Nurses are often on their feet for twelve hours a day. They lift, clean, and do dressing changes, all while simultaneously assessing the patients and planning the care that they will need to provide in the near future, and they do it all with a smile on their face.
Fields of Nursing
Depending on which field of nursing one is going into, the day-to-day requirements may vary. On average, though, a “basic” set of nursing skills is required in all aspects of the career.
Attentive listening is a major requirement. Listening not only to the patient but also to families and friends of the patient, physicians, respiratory therapists, ancillary staff, social workers, and co-workers is important. Taking their opinions and assessment findings into consideration should be done because different people see different things, and everyone can assist in improving the care of the patient. A new set of eyes may see something others missed and thus change the course of care and improve the overall outcome for the patient.
Along with attentive listening, the nurse should be ready and confident to answer questions and offer advice. This is not limited to speaking to the patient’s family. The nurse should be prepared to offer suggestions to the interdisciplinary team as well.
The nurse should be prepared to stand up for the patient and advocate. This may mean calling a sleep-deprived resident at any hour of the day, going up the chain of command when necessary, doing whatever it takes to always keep the patient safe, and keeping their care in mind.
Other Important Qualities
Time management is also a skill required in all fields of nursing. A nurse may have a workload consisting of ten patients, all of which need assessments and medications or therapies, and all of the care provided will need documentation. Learning to manage time well is one of the hardest skills to learn for new nurses, but once attained, it will improve work and decrease stress on the nurse.
Stress management is a skill that is vital to the nursing career. One skill is not more important than another, but this skill is definitely a necessary one. If a nurse does not learn to manage the stress not only of themselves but also of those around them, then their nursing career may end preemptively.
Nursing is career where blood, guts, and any body fluid may show up in a given day. Nurses are interacting with people often when they are most vulnerable. Patients may be vomiting, have diarrhea, or have fevers. They may be getting new, life-altering news. It is not often the best time in their life. The nurse should be prepared to assist and care for patients during these times; to clean up a mess with a smile on your face; and to be a shoulder to cry on, even if you feel like crying.
Though the list below is not the complete list of nursing skills required, it is a great short and sweet list. The characteristics and skills are growing every day, and they vary in every field. The prospect nurse should keep these things in mind and also keep in mind that all skills are not learned all at once.
According to the National Health Service, the six “C”s of nursing are care, compassion, competence, communication, courage, and commitment. Work first on learning these and go from there, and even on the days you feel like you have none of them or that you are not doing a great job, remember almost every nurse feels like that at some point, so hang in there.