Compassion? No. It’s important to have, but compassion alone will not suffice.
Technical skill? No. You may be able to perform procedures with your eyes closed, but that isn’t enough.
Bravery? No. Courage is necessary at times, but it takes more.
All those qualities contribute to your goal of becoming the best nurse you can be. But the one quality that is necessary to become a great registered nurse, is that you need to be
You have to be intellectually smart.
- To get through the prerequisite courses of biology, chemistry and math before going to nursing school. Then once in nursing school, you must pass anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and clinical rotations in medical/surgical nursing, psychiatry, pediatrics, obstetrics, long term care and community health.
- To know what you don’t know and then figure out where to get the information you need.
- To develop critical thinking, problem solving and time management skills.
- To know the signs and symptoms of diseases to prevent complications.
- To realize what actions you need to take when there is a change in a patient’s condition.
You must be people smart.
- To communicate with patients and their families to form therapeutic relationships.
- To assume someone is doing the best he can without making assumptions or making rash judgments before all the facts are examined.
- To resolve conflict and get along with your peers and other health care workers.
- To lead, delegate and supervise a team of people and work collaboratively with an interdisciplinary team.
You need to be emotionally smart.
- To examine your own emotions and prevent them from negatively affecting your patients.
- To be willing to continually learn about yourself and change when needed.
- To recognize when to show compassion or to doll out tough love.
- To balance work and home life without getting too stressed out.
So be smart. Develop these skills and you will be a great nurse. And if you need help, send me your questions. I want you to become the best nurse you can be.