6 Nursing Skills You’ll Need To Succeed

If you’re preparing to become a nurse, there are many skills you will be learning, from understanding patient anatomy and administering medications, to writing up reports and interpreting instructions. However, there are a lot of other abilities that nurses need to develop over the years if they want to be the best they can be at their jobs. Read on for some top nursing skills needed by all nursing graduates today.


One of the first things likely to get tested is your communication ability. It is imperative that nurses have exceptional skills in this area, because so much of their job relies upon it.

For starters, you have to be able to listen to and speak with patients from diverse backgrounds and age groups, often communicating challenging information at tough times for people. You will likely be required to clearly relay critical information from practitioners to patients in an approachable way.

You will also need to help patients and their family members to feel comfortable and to understand all the medical information that is thrown at them. This is all while dealing with patients and their loved ones who may be irritated, angry, anxious, frustrated, sad or scared.

Nurses must also possess impeccable communication skills so that they can work closely with other nurses, doctors, administrators, and other healthcare professionals. All of these people oftentimes work in high-stress environments where time is a critical factor and many workers are sleep-deprived and irritable. Nurses must ensure that patient information and updates are always shared accurately so that no errors or miscommunications occur.

Able to Multitask

Of course, in busy working environments where there are usually many different patients to attend to, lots of practitioners to work with, and constant schedules to adhere to, nurses must also be able to multitask if they want to be successful in their role.

Nurses typically have to juggle jobs such as checking in on patients and ensuring they are taking medications, writing up case notes, answering patient questions, speaking with doctors, organizing shift handovers and more in each shift. They need to be able to stay focused under pressure when dealing with competing priorities, and not “drop the ball” on any important information or tasks.

nursing compassion

Compassion, Empathy and Patience

Other incredibly important traits that nurses need to display in their role every day are compassion, empathy, and patience. When dealing with the sick and injured, nurses need to have empathy for the pain and suffering that patients are dealing with, plus patience for their needs and wants, as well as compassion for family members and other loved ones who are supporting the ill and injured.

Good nurses can use their emotional intelligence to help people feel better during difficult times and understand why tempers may be frayed, or tears may be threatening. Nurses also must be non-judgemental, as they deal every day with people from all sorts of backgrounds and with varying beliefs, habits, and values.

Attention to Detail

Due to the fact that nurses deal with life and death and health and sickness during every shift, their actions at work can have far-reaching consequences. As a result, it is very important for nurses to have a strict attention to detail so that they don’t make mistakes. Absentmindedly writing down the wrong patient name, symptoms, medication, or other details can lead to negative consequences; while not following a doctor or other health care provider’s exact instructions can also cause undue suffering, illness or other repercussions.


Another trait that many people don’t often realize is so important for nursing is stamina. The field is a demanding one, and being a nurse requires workers to be physically, mentally, and emotionally strong and stable. The hours tend to be long for nurses, and requires high levels of energy, agility, and strength. In addition, dealing with the realities of sickness and death can take its toll day in and day out. For nurses to last in the profession, they need to have a healthy lifestyle and be able to deal with tough situations over the long term.

nursing skills

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a necessary nursing skill due to the many important choices nurses have to make on a daily basis. Nurses need to be able to assess a situation very quickly, and to make crucial decisions on the spot, analyzing the situation on the fly and coming up with a solution with no time to hesitate. Critical-thinking skills help nurses to do their job well in high-pressure scenarios where information can often be limited.

Putting It All Together

These are the top nursing skills to develop that may seem less obvious than the usual on-the-job training you’ll receive. While these might be more difficult to convey on your resume than your nursing certifications and degrees, you can develop these skills when you earn a degree or Master of Science in Nursing online or in-person.

You can also try to hone these skills with a little practice. Try to incorporate communication and compassion into your other relationships to benefit from this in all aspects of life. Multitasking, attention to detail, and critical thinking can be more difficult to develop, but you can try games that are geared toward these specific traits, or some of the techniques you can find online to help convey these skills in an interview. And remember to eat properly and exercise to build up your strength so you can have the physical stamina you need to do your job well.

About the Author

Cher Zavala is a content coordinator who assists in contributing quality articles on various topics in healthcare. Cher has built up many strong relationships over the years within the blogging community and loves sharing her useful tips with others.

Tags: NurseNursing

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