To mark National Nurses Week, we asked new RNs about what every nurse needs to succeed. Five nurses from the South region, all with five years or less of experience, share their thoughts on the following question: What qualities or characteristics are most important to possess as a nurse, and why?
Peter DAmore, RN, cardiology unit, St. Josephs Hospital, Tampa, Fla., said:
It has to be compassion and the ability to put someone elses needs first, to empathize and put yourself in their shoes to unconditionally care for the person and meet all of his or her needs. Its important because being in the hospital is not where most patients want to be. When they come to my unit at St. Joes, I want them to feel at home, while they receive high-level care and customer service. Thats satisfying to patients and nurses. We want them to feel better, be healthier than when they came in and to resume their lives. It makes me feel good, reinforces all of the respect I have for nurses and am proud of what my colleagues and I do.
Amy McCarthy, RN, BSN, newborn nursery unit, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas, said:
I think that maintaining an open mind and a willingness to be taught are key characteristics nurses should maintain throughout their career. Every day I am introduced to new challenges and ideas that push me and motivate me to be an even better nurse. My goal is to provide the best care possible for my patients and to give [parents]the tools they need to have a successful parenting experience once they leave the hospital. Many times, I allow my patients to teach me what has worked for them … and together, we create a care plan that leaves them feeling comfortable and confident about caring for their child.
Sarah Wood, RN, BSN, ICU, Boca Raton (Fla.) Regional
I believe … the most important attribute for a nurse to possess is a willingness to learn, change and adapt. Healthcare today is continually evolving … Nurses are expected to constantly master new skills. We must maintain an authentic presence and an open and honest dialogue with our patients and their loved ones while we assist them in achieving their fullest health potential. Only by embracing change, immersing themselves in the change process, and being a champion for change with their colleagues and patients can nurses truly succeed professionally while improving the healthcare experiences and lives of patients, families and
Krystal Echard, RN, home care team, VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, Dallas, said:
Compassion, a feeling of deep sympathy and concern for others, is a … characteristic that all nurses should possess. Nurses are responsible for providing care for people during some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives. Patients can tell when their nurses are coming from the heart as opposed to … completing their required job duties. As a hospice nurse … I focus on ensuring that my patients and their families receive the highest quality care and attention at the end of life. I demonstrate my compassion for them by doing things like holding their hands, actively listening, smiling and
Claudia Gonzalez, RN, BSN, tele IMCU, Memorial Regional Hospital , Hollywood, Fla., said:
I would say good communication is the most important quality a nurse should possess. Having good communication with every member of the healthcare team and keeping the patient and family fully involved results in safe quality patient care. When there is miscommunication or information is not fully disclosed, problems may occur that could result in harm to the patient. Good communication goes beyond [words]… Its about keeping the patient and family up to date, handling responsibilities and being a patient advocate. It also involves a caring touch, a warm embrace or something as simple as a smile.