To mark National Nurses Week, we asked new RNs about what every nurse needs to succeed. Five nurses from the Philadelphia Tri-State region, all with two years or less of experience, answered the following question: What qualities or characteristics are most important to posses as a nurse, and why?
Equanimity is steadiness of the mind under pressure, and in my opinion it is the most important quality for a nurse to possess. [I was taught that] peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. I walk onto my unit every day with a smile that evokes calm confidence no matter what the day brings. Equanimity has allowed me to provide competent and compassionate nursing care.
The quality I think is most important to possess is compassion.
Understanding that patients in the hospital are probably the sickest and most frightened that they have ever been allows a nurse to give better care.
Compassionate care matters to patients. Communication skills also are important and go hand-in-hand with compassion.
A compassionate nurse that communicates well with patients, families, doctors, and co-workers listens and picks up on non-verbal cues.
Iíve also learned to trust my instincts. If I feel something is not right, I tell someone. Our instincts go a long way.
As a pediatric nurse, itís easy to grow accustomed to everyday routines: taking vitals, administering medications.
However, compassion keeps me grounded, because most times I enter a patientís room, Iím witnessing a family in its darkest hour.
Compassion helps me understand. With this understanding, I try to make each encounter meaningful and approach each situation individually.
Compassion fuels my actions and is the characteristic that allows me to love what I do and excel at it, as well.
It begins with caring and empathy. It takes a special person to be a nurse, especially a pediatric nurse. As a pediatric nurse, you have to be compassionate to hold the hand of a patient or parent in what could be the most difficult time of his or her life. Being a nurse is physically and emotionally demanding, so it is also important to support and care about your team of co-workers. A great nurse shows dedication to learning, healing and caring for others.
The ability to care for others is just as important as being knowledgeable and willing to learn. As a nurse you have the opportunity to learn something new every day. I have been a nurse for four years, and it doesnít seem like a long time, especially working in an intermediate care unit with a variety of patients. Healthcare is continuously changing, and being knowledgeable of evidence-based practices gives you the ability to provide the best care for your patient.
I believe the most important quality for an RN to possess is compassion. Patients are at their most vulnerable state in the hospital. Sometimes a patient needs a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. A compassionate nurse is willing to be that person. It is the kindhearted nature of the nurse that makes an impact on a patientís stay in the hospital. Whether it is with a patient who is dealing with a new diagnosis or a patient who is facing a terminal illness, an empathetic nurse can make all the difference.
Compassionate moments always seem to be the most memorable for the patient. Not only is compassion important to the patient, but also to the family and the nurse. As a nurse, I have shared many caring moments with patients and their families. Whether it is with a patient who is dealing with a new diagnosis or a patient who is facing a terminal illness, an empathetic nurse can make all the difference.
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