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5 must-have traits of nurses

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Do you want to be a nurse? Thinking about applying to nursing school? If you’ve ever visited our website before, you know we continually stress that this job is tough, and it’s not for everyone.

Here are five traits and skills every person needs to posses in order to enter, survive and thrive in the world of nursing:

Compassion

  • You actually have to care about the job you are doing. You not only care about your job and your unending responsibilities, but you have to genuinely care what happens to your patients. This is not something you can “learn” while you’re in school. You HAVE to “care about your care.”

Flexibility

  • Or adaptability. You have to adapt to the situation that is presented to you–every time, all the time. This applies to pretty much everything about nursing. Nothing is predictable in our profession and there is no such thing as “routine.”

Patience

  • This is a hard one to understand. You must have patience with the unknown, unforeseeable and misunderstood. The human condition dictates a fair amount of variety in our lives. It’s our job to have the patience to allow that variety to unfold naturally with unwavering support.

Tolerance

  • Our profession is like many others out there: There are unfortunate souls whose entire purpose in life is to make yours miserable. For some strange reason, we don’t have a shortage of negative, detractive ogres with an endless supply of ammunition. The difference is, in our profession, you need to figure out how to be bulletproof.

Passion

  • I’d liken this to “chutzpah” with an endless supply of positive “verve.” You must have passion and be passionate about what you do, what our profession represents and how impactful each and every nurse is to the lives we touch. It’s not blind braggadocio. It’s always believing in that light at the end of the colloquial “tunnel,” and being the mirror when someone needs to see that the light truly exists.

None of these can be taught. None of these can be learned. In the end, you either posses these traits…or you don’t.

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One Response to 5 must-have traits of nurses

  1. Val RN

    Tolerance is one of the most important traits needed. Today’s nurses are constantly strained by heavy assignments with higher acuity patients. Nursing is always the first part of the organizational budget to be cut. On top of that, nurses are forced to work with bully colleagues and managers. It’s very frustrating to be in a job that you are very passionate about and to not have the support you need to do that job well. The nursing profession is suffering and patients’ safety is at risk because of it.

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