The best nursing graduates have top-notch nursing skills, have passed all their exams and certifications, and feel confident that they would make great nurse practitioners. But it takes a lot more than technical knowledge or skills to become a great nurse. There are a lot of skills that make you stand out, and most of them are not learned in the classroom. This follows the saying that great nurses are born, so we will look at some skills you will need that are not taught in the classroom and that will propel you from a good to an excellent nurse.
Although some aspects of professionalism can be taught, the act of putting these aspects into action is a lot more important. Whether they are dealing with patients, colleagues, or patients’ families, the best nurses maintain their professionalism at all times. Respect, a positive attitude, an innate need to help, and discipline are all present in the best nurses.
By remaining professional, nurses can become part of a collaborative effort to provide the best care as well as be part of the bigger patient care picture.
Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity
As medical professions move to patient-centered care, cultural awareness and sensitivity will be critical. Understanding how different cultural values and beliefs affect how different patients view wellness, health, the care they receive, acceptance and the ability to stick with treatment plans and death helps nurses become better at their job.
To deliver the best nursing care, nurses must also understand, respect, and accommodate their patients’ needs and preferences regarding their culture, beliefs, and practices.
Recognizing biases is the first step in providing competent care. Additionally, nurses can increase their cultural awareness and sensitivity by taking on additional training through institutions and organizations that teach these skills.
Ability to Adapt to New Roles
Nursing is always evolving and the first title a nurse has when they start their career might change in a year or two. For example, a family practitioner nurse might see their responsibilities reduced, and their title change to a neonatal or geriatric nurse due to their ability to work with patients of all ages.
Alternatively, a nurse might see their responsibilities increase over the year. Nurse practitioners, for example, are finding themselves handling tasks that were left to physicians in the past. This allows them to provide better care and opens new career paths for them. Nurses who have these responsibilities have had to learn and adapt to their new roles. To learn more about how the nursing profession has changed, as well as how this evolution benefits nurses and patients, click here to read an in-depth analysis.
Nurses have so much to do, with very little time to do it all. To make sure they can manage to do them all, nurses must develop time management skills. Every nurse is different, so try to find a system or strategy that works for you.
By the very nature of their jobs, nurses are problem solvers. Because time and other resources might be in short supply, nurses must learn how to bring together information, past outcomes, evidence, and experiences together to provide the best care with the limited resources available to them.
To expand your critical thinking skills, talk with your superior or nurses who have more experience than you, and keep learning. Staying updated on the latest findings in different journals helps you see things from a different angle and will help with your critical thinking skills.
Attention to Detail
Paying close attention to detail is not only a great way to avoid mistakes, but it is also a great way to improve the level of care a nurse provides. Mistakes in nursing can have dire consequences as they can impact the health of your patients.
Learning to pay attention better starts with learning how to listen better. It also entails training your mind from wandering or being distracted when talking to patients. By doing this, patients feel listened to and understood, and is a great way of avoiding mix-ups that will lead to huge problems.
The best nurses are also present and mindful of all their patients. In addition to avoiding distractions and wandering, these nurses deal with one patient at a time instead of thinking of other patients who need their care or all the other tasks that await them.
Paying attention also calls for observing non-verbal cues. Some patients are understandably afraid of talking to nurses about some sensitive topics, and observing non-verbal cues can help a nurse see if there is an underlying issue which allows them to probe further.
Dealing with Different Types of Emotions
Nurses deal with a lot of things throughout the day. Their shifts are filled with pressure, so they must find ways to deal with it. Everyone will have a different approach to dealing with these pressures, but you will learn how to adapt and deal with them as you get more experience.
Perhaps the most challenging thing about being a medical professional is dealing with death. No one is fully prepared for it, but nurses must learn to deal with the feelings and emotions that surround death so they can be sympathetic figures for the families that need them in such challenging times. Learning to deal with the emotions that surround death will take time, understanding, and, sadly, a lot of experience.
Nurses are vital to the coordination of patient care. They must, therefore, be able to communicate effectively with other healthcare personnel for the best outcomes. When communicating, it is not only important to choose the words you use carefully, but it is also important to choose your tone carefully. The way a message is communicated can have a different effect depending on how it is said.
Good communication skills should also extend to patients. Being measured, calm, professional, reassuring, and sympathetic can have a huge positive effect. Also, it is important to keep improving your communication skills as the understanding between you and your patients will affect their healthcare outcomes.
While you might need the technical skills you learn in the classroom to be able to complete your tasks, certain skills will elevate you to become a better nurse. Many of these skills are not taught in the classroom and all nurses are advised to take the time to learn them.