What Makes A Good Nurse?

FEBRUARY 15, 2016
Ryan Gray, MD
Monitoring the health of patients around the clock is a challenging job. From the physician’s standpoint, that is just one aspect of what happens during the day. It’s even more challenging to meet the many other needs that patients have, such as answering questions and keeping them happy and comfortable. Good nurses know how to juggle all these jobs, and many more.
In my last post, I discussed some specific things that good nurses do to help make our jobs (and lives) as physicians easier. I believe that good nurses have certain personality traits and characteristics that help them to do their jobs well. Here’s a list of 6:
1.     An extroverted nature. Nurses have to be outgoing and enjoy being around people in order to do their jobs well. They have to be able to engage with patients and their families and find out what they need in order to provide the best possible care. An extroverted nature helps them feel energized by patient contact instead of worn out or aggravated.
2.     Excellent communication skills. When it comes to communication, nurses have to be able to adapt their communication style to achieve the best result. Nurses must deal with all types of people, including physicians, other nurses, patients and families. And, to make things even more challenging, nurses often have to communicate with people who are angry, stressed or sad. They also need to translate complicated medical jargon into written and spoken language that patients can understand and be quick-thinking when patients ask questions about their care and treatment.  
3.     Compassion. Caring for patients requires nurses to be compassionate and empathize with what patients are feeling—physically and emotionally. A nurse without a compassionate nature can quickly become frustrated, annoyed or curt with patients. Compassion and empathy work together to help good nurses advocate for their patients.

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