Essential skills in becoming a nurse

Nurses continuously face new difficulties, opportunities, and protocols as the healthcare environment undergoes significant shifts. For this reason, there are specific skills nurses must have in their back pockets to keep their careers alive.

Regardless of the field’s diverse nature, all nursing specialties require skills fundamental to meeting the challenges in the healthcare industry and providing the best level of care.

With the American Association of Medical Colleges projecting a shortage of nearly 139,000 healthcare professionals in the United States by 2023, having these skills becomes essential. Keep scrolling and find out the critical skills that will help you transition into becoming an effective nurse.

Communication skills

Nurses rely mostly on communication for all aspects of their job. Achieving improved health outcomes, developing relationships with colleagues, patients, and relatives, and resolving tricky situations depend on excellent verbal and communication skills.

Improved health outcomes are the consequence of nurses who take the time to hear and understand the concerns of each of their patients. This way, they can gain skills to manage unique issues as they arrive.

Patients frequently receive treatment plan explanations from nurses, who provide any necessary clarification. Even patients with a minimal understanding of medicine can benefit from the clarity and accuracy with which good nurses can do.

Additionally, nurses occasionally have to break the bad news to patients and their families; doing so calls for straightforward yet caring communication skills. Besides being skilled in verbal communication, good nurses must also be adept at nonverbal cues, including body language.

On the other hand, a lack of or poor communication can lead to patients ignoring treatment plans and misunderstanding treatment instructions. It may also cause a team disruption in workflow, resulting in a medical error. A recent Joint Commission report reveals that ineffective communication of patient transfer contributes to 80% of healthcare mistakes.

The truth is that staff members working in the same hospital frequently have communication issues, particularly when planning procedures and organizing room transfers. The efficiency of each treatment can suffer when healthcare workers cannot communicate effectively.

This could lead to increased costs or even put patients at risk. With good communication skills, you can stop mishandling healthcare files and guarantee that patients get the best care while ensuring efficiency.

Problem-solving skills

Nurses perform their jobs in unpredictable, changing circumstances. When a patient’s life is at risk, nurses must be able to think swiftly, consider pros and drawbacks, and make well-informed judgments.

Like it or not, these issues come in different shapes and sizes. For instance, nurses manage and implement care regimens for their patients, but even the most comprehensive plans can go awry due to different patient reactions.

As a nurse, you must handle these complex situations and quickly develop creative solutions that would not jeopardize the patient’s healthcare journey.

Nurses depend on their clinical knowledge and experience in various circumstances, but those who solve problems better serve their patients. Thinking creatively, asking pertinent questions, and weighing different choices will significantly improve a nurse’s ability to solve difficulties.

More often than not, nurses examine, interpret, and summarize data using critical thinking. They use this data along with their prior knowledge to formulate a strategy. Critical thinking is where problem-solving abilities in nursing are first applied. Nurses can use their creativity to develop fresh approaches and make choices when there are no apparent options or actions.

Nurses transitioning from bachelors to BSN at Baylor University understand how to draw upon their abilities and critical thinking skills to enhance their practice. This is because these nursing students are taught evidence-based practice, which enables them to solve specific patient issues.


The importance of empathy in nursing is too hard to ignore. Without compassion, patient treatment is less effective and can leave those receiving medical care frustrated, neglected, and confused about their treatment.

On the flip side, patients feel more comfortable discussing their issues and worries with nurses who are compassionate and better know their requirements. After all, nurse empathy often calls nurses to put themselves in the patient’s shoes, show they understand them, and take the right action.

Now, how can a nurse show empathy to patients? Of course, there are no hard and fast rules, but a good start is to listen to patients and show curiosity about their lives. Nod in agreement with the patients’ statements and give them your full attention.

As an alternative, you can ask about the impact of health issues on the patient’s condition, then listen attentively, inquire further, and express interest in the patient’s life outside of the context of being a patient.

After addressing any patient issues, focus entirely on that patient to prevent distraction. Patients are more willing to discuss symptoms, queries, and concerns when they believe that nurses are paying attention, resulting in more effective care and satisfaction.

Either way, an empathy-centered strategy can result in better outcomes, whether dealing with a severe ailment like the coronavirus or just going through routine diagnostics.

Time management

Nurses often work long hours. Usually, nurses have very demanding and complicated work with numerous conflicting expectations and many patients to care for. To be successful, they must be able to manage their time.

In healthcare, every day is different. Thus, nurses must be ready to manage any emergency or unforeseen circumstances. Nurses will have a much easier time executing their daily duties and activities if they clearly understand what is expected of them.

So, it is no surprise that time management is among the essential skills to become an effective nurse. Good time management skills can help nurses accomplish daily chores, including administering drugs, establishing drips, or replacing machines.

Being organized, setting priorities, and successfully managing each patient case are crucial for nurses because they frequently handle multiple situations. By effectively managing their time, nurses can complete all required tasks, handle complex patient caseloads, and feel less stressed while ensuring successful healthcare delivery.

Being a nurse requires a myriad of skills. Get these skills and become an effective nurse by signing up and enrolling today.



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