Key Skills & Attributes Needed For Nursing

Many people think about a career as a nurse, which is understandable as it can bring so many perks and is incredibly rewarding. While there are certainly many benefits to nursing, it is important to realize that this is not a profession for everyone, and you will need certain skills and attributes to succeed in this field. Some people quickly discover that nursing is not for them, while others seem born to be a nurse. There are also those that are able to develop these skills over time and go on to see nursing as more of a way of life than a career. Read on to discover what you need to succeed as a nurse.

Strong Soft Skills

Soft skills are required in most professions, but in nursing, they are hugely important and will have a significant impact on your ability as a nurse. While some people will naturally possess soft skills, they can still be developed with research, training, and practice. As a nurse, a few of the key soft skills that are required include:

  • Communication skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Time-management
  • Organization
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Dexterity


There is a good chance that if you are interested in nursing, then you will naturally be a compassionate person, which is hugely important in nursing. While doctors will mainly focus on treating the patient, a nurse will both provide treatment and care so that the patient feels supported and looked after. This means that you need to be able to connect and empathize with patients (and their families), but you must also make sure that you do not get too attached as otherwise, you will struggle due to the things that you see every day.

A Strong Stomach

Following this point, the things that nurses see on a daily basis would shock the majority of people. You will have to deal with many things that disgust, shock, and upset you as a nurse, but this is all part of the job description, and often there is no time for reaction, so you need to have a strong stomach. Typically, this is something that nurses develop over time, but if you pass out at the sight of blood, then this may not be the profession for you! Death is obviously something that is unavoidable in this role and is something that is never easy, but something that you learn to cope with and not let affect your work or private life.

Thick Skin

In addition to having a strong stomach, nurses must also have thick skin. When you are working in a high-pressure environment, emotions can fly, and tempers can flare, so you will get shouted at, and confrontation can be common. Again, this is all part of the job and should not be taken personally. You must keep in mind that everyone is on the same team and simply trying to do their best to help, and remember that it is the patient that always comes first. This means that clashes in the workplace are often forgotten as soon as the situation is dealt with, and fellow nurses and other healthcare workers often have strong bonds both inside and outside the hospital.

Be A Team Player

Leading on from this, it is also important that you are a team player if you want to excel as a nurse. There is no room for ego when it comes to healthcare, so you need to be happy and willing to be part of the team and play a role, no matter how big or small it is, in the patient’s care. Nurses are often tightly knit and look out for one another, so it is helpful if you are a team player and always happy to help and support your colleagues as best you can.

Possess Leadership Skills

In addition to being a team player, you also need to possess leadership skills so that you can take charge in certain situations. There will not always be someone around to take charge when it comes to healthcare, and being able to take the reins, instruct others, and determine the best course of action is vital. In addition to ensuring that you are providing a high level of care, this could also help you to advance your career as a nurse.

Strong Study Skills

Obviously, studying and earning qualifications is vital for nursing, so you need to have a thirst for knowledge and strong study skills. You can learn the key steps required to become a nurse practitioner at this website, and now could be a great time with a shortage in nurses, a strong growth rate predicted for the next few years, and high earning potential being just a few reasons why now would be a good time to earn a degree and get the ball rolling on a nursing career.

Strong Work Ethic

In addition to having the knowledge and right skills, it is also vital that you have a strong work ethic as a nurse. This is work that is incredibly demanding and stressful with long shifts, so you need to have a strong work ethic and be motivated if you are to succeed. This also means that you need to know how to master using your time off and look after yourself during and outside of work. For those that are able to achieve this, nursing is a great profession because there is flexibility, and shift work can allow for multiple days off in a row.

Ability To Separate Work & Home

It is also vital that you are able to separate work from home so that you do not let the difficult experiences affect your free time and personal life. This is obviously hard when you are dealing with death and difficult situations, but it is possible and something that most nurses develop over time.

These are just a few of the main skills and attributes that are needed as a nurse, many of which can be developed over time and will allow you to enjoy a successful and rewarding career.