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Americans have consistently recognized the honest and ethical qualities of a nurse. For 16 consecutive years, nurses have topped the list of most trusted professions, according to Gallup.

“As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul and body of our patients, their families and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

-Maya Angelou

There are plenty of great nurses, but it is not necessarily simple to be one. The following section explores some of the many important qualities needed to be a good nurse.

5 Qualities of a Good Nurse

1. Strong Communicator

Communication skills are important in practically any profession, but it’s especially important in nursing. Effective communication in nursing helps healthcare professionals speak and connect with patients, which builds relationships, prevents mistakes and provides a higher level of care. Nursing communication is its own academic subfield with multiple communication theories and models that help explain and guide positive interactions between nurses and patients.

2. Patience

Nurses interact with patients and families who may be confused, sleep-deprived or experiencing a great deal of stress. Patience helps nurses better care for patients and respond to other challenging aspects of the job.

“Patience is so important as a nurse where you have so much accountability and responsibility but at times not the authority,” Mary Kavalam, clinical scientist and former critical care nurse, told Minority Nurse. Nurses “carry out multiple doctors’ orders while complying with federal, state, hospital and unit policies, as well as carrying out nursing care plans,” which is why patience is so important.

There are organizational pressures to go along with customer service aspects of nursing. Patience helps with every part of the profession.

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3. Compassion

Compassion help nurses show kindness, concern and provide personalized care. A Journal of Clinical Nursing study points out that the effects of the lack of compassion in care should not be undervalued. When nurses get to know patients and spend time with them, patients experience compassion. For some patients, compassionate actions may only need to be fleeting.

Compassion is frequently seen as being much less important than other acts of care, according to an article in the Journal of Compassionate Health Care. However, “there is extraordinary potential for blending the best of evidence-based medicine with real patient centeredness, performing medicine with patients rather than doing it to them, to the benefit of all.”

4. Professionalism

Nursing involves working with patients of different cultures, age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds. Sometimes patients can be difficult, but each patient should be treated with respect and dignity.

Nurses need to exhibit professionalism when communicating with patients, administering medication and maintaining patient records. By focusing on the patient and taking any opportunity to build a relationship, nurses can provide a high level of care and overcome any potential barriers.

5. Eagerness to Learn

Nurses need to be aware of and apply the latest research. From medical insights to innovative technologies, nursing constantly benefits from change. Nurses should be eager to learn the latest techniques, procedures and how to get the most out of new equipment.

There are plenty of formal and informal routes to enhance nurses’ learning. One clear example is the precedent for all nurses to receive their bachelor’s degree. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine delivered its landmark report, The Future of Nursing, and called for 80 percent of registered nurses to have a bachelor’s degree by 2020. Many hospitals already require all nurses to hold the degree, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nurses with the credential will have better job prospects than those without one.

Good nurses should take advantage of every opportunity to enhance their skills and deliver great care, and obtaining a bachelor’s degree can also increase salary potential. Southeastern University’s online RN to BSN program lets you accomplish your goal of higher education without interfering with your busy schedule. Gain the knowledge and skills you need to provide better patient care, pursue specialties and move into management roles.