So you’ve survived all the years of school and are now a busy, working nurse. You love your job and the gratification you receive knowing that you are making the world a better place, can also be incredibly stressful. Here are some tips to stay on top of your game and be a superstar in your profession.
Communication skills: Basic interpersonal communication skills are just as important as the wealth of medical knowledge that nurses carry. When a patient is irritable or family members are constantly asking the nursing staff to see their loved ones in critical care, nurses must have the skillset to manage these situations in a calm, respectful manner. Nurses are in contact with any and everyone at their workplace those who are effective communicators can testify that their job becomes much less stressful when they know how to simply talk to the patient or family members.
Emotional-Intelligence skills: Your job is incredibly emotionally taxing. From quick surgeries with speedy recoveries to tragic accidents that entail years of trauma, you’ve seen it all. So, being emotionally adept is very important. You must at least be able to sympathize with your patients to offer them support and compassion during a stressful time. To take your patient care one step further, empathize with the patient if you have experienced something similar in your life: whether you were undergoing a similar treatment yourself or through a loved one. This simple act of human compassion breaks down the barrier of formality that is the “patient-nurse relationship” and allows you to become someone the patient feels that they can trust and rely on.
Decision-making/Critical Thinking skills: As you know, very rarely do things in the medical world go as planned. When someone’s life is on the line, this is even more problematic. You’ve gone through all the training and you know to adapt to any situation. Your actions and decisions are inevitably affect your patients and coworkers. In sticky situations, such as distinguishing whether a patient seeking pain medication truly needs the treatment or is the patient there to satisfy their addiction, nurses must be able to act swiftly, follow their gut, and provide the proper treatment in whichever form. So, have confidence in yourself and your abilities: you will be amazed at how your knowledge produces miraculous results in high-pressure situations.
Teamwork: Much like any other well-oiled machine, nursing units depend on excellent teamwork. Know your fellow nurses and work with them in order to create a high functioning unit. Your willingness to allow others to help you will reward you with more knowledge and an appreciation for both your profession and fellow nurses. The best nurses know the importance of working well together.
Flexibility: The nursing profession is based on being selfless 100% of the time. So, of course, life and death situations do not wait around for you to finish your weekend trip to the Florida Keys. With this in mind, nurses (especially those nurses just starting out) need to be aware that their workload is anything but consistent. The best nurses are able to adapt to these changes and are willing to put some aspects of their lives on hold in order to save another’s.
Tell us some of the skills you find important for nurses to have on the job!