Career & Education

Are You a Good Fit for a Nursing Career? 13 Qualities You Need

Are You a Good Fit for a Nursing Career? 13 Qualities You Need

Nursing might be one of the most in-demand careers in the world, with nurses tasked with working long and often unsociable hours while looking after patients who are going through a tough time. But despite the workload, many nurses who do this job will also describe it as one of the most rewarding career paths that they have experienced. Despite the high physical and mental demands of this job, nurses report a very high level of personal and professional satisfaction with the work that they do since they are able to use their time and their choice of career to make a real difference to others. Seeing a patient go home after helping to save their life in the hospital or getting a thank you message from the parents of a child that you cared for when they were sick, can make nursing one of the most rewarding and fulfilling career options out there. 

However, nursing is a career that comes with a high level of responsibility, and to do this job well, you will need to have a specific set of skills and qualities. Nurses that have an impact on the world through the job that they do and are noticed for the effort and dedication that they put into their profession tend to have a higher level of the following skills compared to the average population. 


Having empathy for others is absolutely essential to a successful career as a nurse. You are going to be spending your time working with people who are sick, injured, and in some of the worst situations of their lives. Many of the patients that you work with are going to be frightened, and their family members and friends may also be distressed. To be able to work effectively and build strong and trusting relationships with the people that they are treating on a daily basis, nurses need to have the ability to put themselves in the patient’s shoes. Even if they have never personally experienced what the patient is going through at the time, the nurse needs to assure that patient that they can understand how they are feeling right now and have the initiative to provide the care and support that they need in that moment. 


As a nurse, part of your job description will involve communicating effectively with people who may not be as able to communicate as effectively as they normally would at that moment. The patients that you are working with might be feeling frightened, down, or simply too unwell to communicate well. Nurses are not only the main caregivers for their patients but are also advocates for patients and need to communicate well to find out more about what patients want in order to improve the standards of care that they receive. When moving up further into advanced nursing career roles such as a nurse practitioner, this skill may often become even more important since nurse practitioners are tasked with providing healthcare advice and counseling to patients. They are often responsible for offering treatments, prescribing medication, and diagnosing conditions, and need to possess the effective communication skills that are necessary to ensure that patients understand this vital information. 

Team Working:

Wherever you work in nursing, it is likely that you are going to be working together as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Along with the essential communication skills, nurses need to be excellent team players and have a keen understanding of how their actions and decisions might impact everybody else. Teams of nurses and other healthcare professionals are often working together towards the same goals of providing better patient care and ensuring that the patients who are currently in their care receive the level of support that they need with whatever health conditions they are going through. Working well as a team means being supportive, communicating clearly with everybody on the team, and considering the needs of the team in every decision made. 


Good nurses need to be highly ethical professionals who are always in the business of putting their patients first. Even when nobody is watching, good nurses conduct themselves with integrity and don’t even think about cutting corners in their careers. They will make sure that every task they work on is done to the highest standard and that patients are always at the forefront of their mind no matter how small or large the job that they are currently working on. Nurses need to be constantly thinking of what’s best for their patients and making sure that patients are treated with dignity and respect at all times. 

Critical Thinking:

In this fast-paced career where anything could happen at any time, it’s no surprise that nurses need to be critical thinkers. A good nurse is often somebody who is able to make snap decisions on his or her feet in response to an emergency situation while keeping their cool and putting the wellbeing and health of the patient first. Being able to stay calm in a crisis and think critically even when faced with a situation that would cause most people to panic is an essential quality that nurses need to develop. Don’t worry if you’re not the coolest and calmest person in a crisis right now. It’s a skill that can take time and experience for you to master with the support of your colleagues, and you can get started developing this skill among others with Texas Woman’s University’s Online Nursing Programs. 

Attention to Detail:

Nurses can’t afford to lose their focus when they are working on many of the essential tasks that need to be done when caring for patients throughout the day. It is a career where attention to detail is one of the most necessary skills to have. Nurses need to be organized and able to put strategies in place in order to ensure that they are not at risk of making even small mistakes throughout the working day that could potentially put patients at risk. Even a simple mistake on a medicine dose, for example, could be the difference between life and death for a patient, which is why being meticulous and detail-oriented is such an important skill for all nurses to develop. If you tend to notice the smaller things and are unlikely to overlook anything that others might not notice, nursing could be the ideal career choice for you. 


Thanks to the shortage of primary care physicians in the US right now, nurses are increasingly becoming the primary caregivers for patients in a wide range of settings. As nurses enjoy this increased responsibility and high demand for them as professionals, it’s become more and more important for nurses to be confident in their abilities since they may be working alone more and more often. A good nurse is somebody who is not only confident in what they can do but is always working to improve their knowledge and skills so that they know they can rely on themselves to make the right calls when working in their profession. They are aware of the ever-changing nature of the healthcare industry and are committed to keeping their knowledge and skills up to date with additional classes, training, and their own research. 

Physical and Mental Strength:

To succeed as a nurse, the individual needs to be able to look after themselves both physically and mentally. For nurses who work in settings such as hospitals, the work itself can often be quite physically demanding, involving a lot of walking between stations and patients, lifting and moving patients, and other physically demanding tasks that will require the nurse to keep themselves in good shape for their own benefit. In addition, the job of a nurse can also be mentally taxing. Nurses need to be committed to keeping themselves mentally strong and healthy in order to be able to keep up with the emotional and mental demands of their job, which may sometimes involve tragic and traumatizing experiences. 


The ever-changing nature of the healthcare industry today means that nurses need to be able to adapt more than ever before. Those who have been in the nursing profession for several years will tell you that nursing is certainly not the same today as it was when they first started in this profession, and the same is likely to be true for you when you begin your career as a nurse. Being able to adapt to changing situations, new diseases that might come on suddenly such as COVID19, new equipment, techniques, treatments, and new policies in healthcare is just one of the main parts of working successfully as a nurse, and successful nurses need to be the type of person who can embrace and work with change easily. 


Along with treating and caring for patients, nurses may often take on more leadership roles as they progress and advance through their careers. Along with roles that are designed specifically for nurses looking for a leadership position such as a nurse manager, many experienced nurses will move into positions of higher authority or mentorship positions where they will be responsible for helping student nurses and newly qualified nurses on a day-to-day basis on the job. Showing good leadership skills can not only make your job easier as a nurse, but it can also help you get noticed for promotions to supervisory level nursing careers and improve your healthcare career advancement options to management and even executive positions. 


Nurses need to be committed and dedicated to what they do. For many nurses, it’s not just a job, but rather a lifestyle. While it’s important for nurses to have a work-life balance, many would not hesitate to help a person in need in public if necessary, even if they’re not working at the time. When you become a nurse, you are committing to a lifetime of helping others and putting the health and wellbeing of other people first wherever you are in a position to do so. You will become a highly respected professional that others will look up to and often call on for support in their time of need. It’s for this reason that most nurses describe their careers as a calling and are committing to being the best nurse that they can be in every area of their life. A high level of commitment is often needed for nurses to be able to put in the amount of work that is necessary for this career choice since it can often involve working long and sometimes unsociable hours, dealing with situations that most people do not see or experience throughout their everyday lives, and providing support to people who might be at their lowest points. 


Nurses are highly regarded as respected professionals, and as a nurse, it’s important to conduct yourself with the utmost professionalism at all times. As a nurse, you are not only going to be concerned about your conduct while you are at work but also your conduct outside of the workplace and how it could have an impact on your employer’s reputation or the reputation of nursing and healthcare in general. 

Commitment to Learning:

Last but not least, good nurses are professionals who know that they are going to need to learn new things on a regular basis in order to excel in their careers. As a nurse, you will need to be committed to learning new things and having your knowledge and skills tested at regular intervals throughout your career. Nurses often have to undergo exams in order to ensure that they are up to date with the latest developments in the healthcare industry and have the knowledge and skills that are required to provide their patients with the best standards of care. 

Nurses are an essential part of the healthcare system not just in the US but also around the world. If you want a career where you can help others and believe that you have or could easily develop these important skills for a career in nursing, it might be right for you. 

Featured Image: People photo created by senivpetro –

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