Top 6 Skills to Help You Succeed in Nursing

See also: Careers in Healthcare

The significance of interpersonal interactions between doctors and nurses with their patients cannot be overlooked. Possessing the right interpersonal skills is vital for the success of the ongoing treatment. In some cases, even after a treatment, the patient needs emotional support to encourage fast recovery.

Medical professionals and those working in healthcare need excellent soft skills to not just support a patient who may be emotionally unstable but also to provide the needed hope to the family. While the concerned doctors will visit from time to time, the role of nursing assistants is more crucial as they spend more time with the ailing patients.

Thus, it is important for nurses to not only acquire hard skills learnt through their professional training and CNA Classes, they should also possess crucial soft skills as well which will help them grow professionally and survive in a stressful medical setting.

The top six key soft skills that a nursing assistant must acquire are discussed below:

1. Effective Verbal Communicativeness

Communicating directly with the patient and his or her family is a part of a nursing assistant’s profile. In addition, nurses have to interact with the concerned doctors and other professionals regarding the everyday healthcare of the patient.

Communication has to be clear and understandable. Speaking politely, active responsiveness, clear voice and reassurance are a few skills that ensure effective verbal communication. With this soft skill, nurses will be able to understand the personal needs of the patient as well as perform accurate assessment of the data provided by the medical professionals. As a nursing assistant is the connecting link between the doctor and the patient, he or she has to assess and deliver information in an understandable manner to both sides.

Nurses must convey the treatment procedure and recovery expectations to the patient side while providing regular updates and assistance to the concerned doctor and his or her fellow workers.

2. Keen Observation and Attention to Detail

Paying the needed attention to the details involved in the information shared by the doctors and observations to be conducted on the patient's part is another very significant ability to have. For processing the health information provided in patient charts, high accuracy is needed. This is imperative to avoid any kind of inconvenience to anyone.

In addition to the written part, nurses also have to be very observant regarding the patients’ nonverbal indications such as breathing patterns, sleep patterns, appetite and more which can alert them about any physical or mental health changes occurring which may be of great importance to the physician concerned. Giving the needed attention to such details can save lives in certain cases, while ignoring these can prove to be life threatening for some.

3. Flexibility and Professionalism

The job of a nursing assistant has a varied profile. It has its own unique challenges and experiences in every case that these professionals deal with on a day-to-day level. Factors like the age group to which the patient belongs, the personality of the patient and their current psychological state greatly influence the treatment.

Every patient needs a different kind of care and handling. In addition to these, on certain days, a nursing assistant may have to handle a couple of patients while the next day, they may have to look after more and perform other official duties as well. Also, the nurses need to work in different shifts during different times of the day which sometimes get extended to several working hours. They even have to perform weekend shifts in some cases in addition to the initial schedule. In such challenging cases, nurses need to demonstrate flexibility and a higher level of professionalism to instil confidence in their team and the patients as well.

4. Being Optimistic

In some cases, a situation can take an undesirable turn. Such difficult times may become very challenging for a nursing assistant. However, it is expected from them to handle the situation with optimism and an enthusiastic attitude. This will encourage the same optimism and positive energy in patients and the co-workers to help everyone handle the situation confidently and avoid any kind of panic. Such a way of performing their duties promotes an overall healthy culture in the workspace. Moreover, such an attitude contributes to maintaining a better mental health condition in the long run.

5. Compassion & Empathy

In hospitals, patients and their family members often feel helpless, gloomy, confused and stressed. During the diagnosis and even during an ongoing treatment, they may experience fear, anxiety, frustration, anger and a feeling of giving up. To give them the needed hope and showing them empathy is very important for enhancing the chances of recovery and ensuring their cooperation.

Providing care and empathy to the vulnerable patients will enhance the feeling of safety in them and will thus make things easier for the nursing staff too. However, the nursing assistants should avoid getting personally affected by the patient’s condition. They need to act professionally yet ensure that the required treatment is being provided. They have to convey the patient’s present condition to the patient and their family in an understandable manner but also assure them about the recovery to make them feel at ease and avoid panic.

6. Managing Stress Levels

Working in a stressful environment like a medical facility and running all around to take care of multiple patients with different needs is often a demanding job that can take a toll on your mental health. Nurses need to incorporate effective stress management tips into their working style to persevere their performance. Having high stress levels can lead to lack of focus, frustration and saturation. In such a mental state, a nurse can’t perform their best. Not just the nurse but the patients are also affected and put at risk. First, nursing assistants must understand that this profession requires handling stress as a requisite. Second, they need to have a break and get some personal time for doing things that work for them such as going on a walk, listening to a soothing melody, doing yoga or meditation to alleviate their stress levels and feel refreshed and re-energized.

By inculcating these basic soft skills into your behaviour, your success as a nursing assistant is assured and you can provide the best possible care to your patients under all circumstances.

About the Author

Jane Brownlee has over 11 years’ experience in the health industry and enjoys helping new nurses. She is currently a nurse writer with a background in community health, telemetry and staff development.