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Soft Skills to Help You Excel as a Nurse

soft skills

Nursing is a highly technical job. There are plenty of detailed procedures to memorize, new technology to learn, and – no matter the specialty – ongoing training and certification requirements. However, as important as these so-called “hard skills” are, there are also many personal traits and behaviors, or “soft skills”, that are just as critical to your success as a nurse.

Which makes sense. If you’ve ever been a patient for someone who was skilled at their work but had zero bedside manner, barked at their staff or didn’t communicate well, you probably weren’t thrilled with your care. That’s because a patient’s experience is greatly impacted by their caretaker’s attitude and interpersonal skills. Healthcare workers can’t provide excellent care if they’re rude, impatient, or short-tempered.

With that in mind, check out these four soft skills that every nurse needs to excel at their job:


1. Communication

Knowing how to clearly communicate is a soft skill that’ll benefit you in any industry, but it’s especially useful in healthcare. You’ll use it to help patients understand their medical issues and care plan, to keep them informed about their health. It also helps you have more efficient, productive conversations with your coworkers, which keeps everything running smoothly.

2. Patience

Challenging patients, long hours, boring paperwork – as with any career, there are plenty of everyday annoyances about nursing that can test your patience. But the better you can manage your reaction to them, the better off you’ll be. Allowing yourself to slow down and take a breather when you feel frustrated will help you stay calm and collected on difficult days. That way, you’re less likely to lose your temper or make a mistake.

3. Teamwork

Nursing isn’t a solo job. During tough shifts, you need to be able to lean on your coworkers for support and pitch in when they need help. Being a good teammate helps you form stronger relationships with your colleagues, which creates a more interconnected workplace. When you know you don’t have to go it alone, you have the support and confidence you need to provide top-notch care.

4. Stress management

Stress management is central to keeping you mentally, emotionally, and physically well, both on the job and in your personal life. Chronic stress can mess with your sleep, compromise your immune system, and lead to burnout. As a nurse, you’re exposed to plenty of stress-inducing situations, so knowing how to respond in healthy ways is crucial.

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