July 8, 2021

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Great Nurse?

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Great Nurse?

If you have been recently thinking about taking up an invigorating new career in healthcare, you may already have the unique set of skills required for success. 

Nursing can be an immensely rewarding role, albeit one rife with high-pressure situations, potentially distressing moments, and long hours. 

For many nurses, their sincere need to help care for others in their time of need is the most meaningful, emotionally fulfilling job description that they could possibly dream of. 

The road to becoming an experienced and highly specialized nurse is often challenging and is not right for everyone, which is why dedicating some time towards figuring out whether or not you would be a good fit is essential. 

In order to help you gain some insight into what exactly the role entails and how to start preparing for it, here are some important points you may wish to consider. 


Education and training are intrinsically linked to the healthcare profession, as it ultimately determines which direction your career will take later on down the line. 

A college education is generally the most common way people first start their journey through the world of nursing, and thankfully, fantastic remote learning opportunities have meant that COVID restrictions need no longer stand in the way of education. 

Moreover, there are some great advanced learning opportunities for those of you who wish to take your current undergraduate degree to the next level, as this can help you enter the field of nursing at a higher level.

For a great example of what to expect from an advanced learning opportunity, you might want to check out the Elmhurst University MENP program, as this can give you much deeper insight into how best to utilize your current skillset. 


Nurses are generally great by definition, as the role they play in looking after the livelihood of individuals everywhere is irreplaceable, invaluable, and essential in supporting society as a whole.

If you recognize the value of the position and wish to make a positive difference to the world throughout your average working day, you probably already have some highly useful personality traits you can use to your advantage. 

For example, the best nurses are usually highly empathic, astute, caring, and compassionate, while at the same time, able to utilize their interpersonal skills to comfort patients and their families should they need support. 

For many healthcare professionals, their mindset is truly their greatest ally, as it provides them with the motivation they need to keep going in the midst of the most stress-inducing situations. 

Coping with Uncomfortable Situations

The realities of nursing can be incredibly harsh, so it is probably best to prepare yourself for some of the more potentially upsetting situations you may find yourself in. 

The hours are often extremely long, and you will need to have a great deal of stamina, both mentally and physically, to ensure that you can do the best job possible. 

Even with a team of reliable, supportive colleagues to help you throughout the day, you will likely have to make difficult decisions by yourself on a regular basis. 

Learning to make potentially life-saving decisions in the blink of an eye is no easy feat, but it starts with accepting responsibility and successfully navigating the pitfalls of high-pressure environments. 

Despite the vast array of advice available online, dealing with distressing inevitabilities like death first-hand can be exceptionally hard to prepare for, if it is even possible to do so at all. This is just one of the many reasons why strength of will is an important trait to possess. 

In these situations, it may be useful to remind yourself of why exactly you decided to become a nurse in the first place, as this may be able to return some perspective to the situation. 

A nurse’s working day is one like no other, so learning to laugh at the potential absurdity of life can be a valuable asset. 


True compassion can be second nature to many, but acting on that compassion in order to preserve human dignity in particularly distressing circumstances takes courage. 

Sometimes, traits like bravery and courage can be the tools required to face a situation head-on and do what is best for the patient in need. 


As a qualified nurse, you will most likely be interacting with a diverse array of people from a host of different cultural and religious backgrounds. There is no room for prejudices or discrimination whatsoever in the role, as everyone should receive the highest level of care possible no matter who they happen to be. 

Learning to accept differences also pertains to an ability to understand a variety of perspectives and mindsets. Unfortunately, there will probably be times when patients will not reciprocate, and you will have to deal with some difficult individuals

There are a number of ways to effectively approach this situation, depending on the way the client is behaving. Being in a hospital environment is usually a highly stressful time for patients, no matter who they are, so practicing empathy and patience might be able to help you out. 

Stepping back from the situation and taking a look at the bigger picture is also another good way to retain perspective and prevent yourself from feeling underwhelmed. After all, it is their health you are trying to preserve. 

A Flexible Approach

Even if your schedule looks sparse on paper, there is probably little chance you will ever be working the hours originally set for you. 

You may get phone calls at any hour of the day, so making sure you take a flexible approach to work is a great way to stop yourself from becoming overwhelmed. 

Reach Out for Support

Reaching out to current healthcare professionals working in the industry is a good way to help develop your understanding of what to expect from your first day of work, as is seeking out literature and articles online. 

As part of your education and training, you will usually get a chance to experience the fieldwork first-hand before you start your official job, so keeping an open mind and nurturing a desire to learn is crucial when preparing yourself for what could ultimately be a fulfilling, life-affirming career. 

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