To mark National Nurses Week, we asked new RNs about what every nurse needs to succeed.
Five nurses from the New Jersey region, all with two 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?
Bridget E. Jones, RN, staff nurse, Saint Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, N.J.
Nursing is a career about others and helping others in ways you cannot fully comprehend. Each nurse experiences this realization in the beginning. To grow into an exceptional nurse, each has to allow experiences to imprint on us. To be a nurse is to put principle into practice, to develop nursing skills while recognizing that nursing is a privilege and that no opportunity to provide exceptional care to a patient should be overlooked. Compassion, competence and superior service to patients are required to bring out the best in each of us, and isnt that what every patient and family member deserves?
Rachel Rich, RN, neuroscience nurse, Somerset Medical Center, Somerville, N.J.
First and foremost, I have found that its important to have genuine empathy and compassion for patients. This means listening to your patients, empathizing with them and being their true advocate. In my experience, listening is a great show of respect. When I genuinely listen to patients, I am more effective in addressing their questions and concerns. Be willing to ask questions. As a professor once told me, Know what you know and know what you dont know. Remain calm in stressful situations so that you can respond quickly and think clearly.
Megan Ogden, RN, BSN, staff nurse, Englewood (N.J.) Hospital and
If you look at us as a whole, it is obvious that we are compassionate caregivers with a talent for critical thinking. We are selfless in the sense that we put the patient first. We are excellent communicators, whether with family members, physicians or patients. We are strong individuals who can advocate for the patient when they are unable to do so themselves. We are patient, kind and driven.
As a new nurse, I am proud to be a part of this profession and I admire the nurses who possess these characteristics.
Kate Ilina, RN, BSN, staff nurse, Jersey City (N.J.) Medical Center
Compassion. For me, this word is the embodiment of nursing. When a patient sees and feels that a nurse cares about them, not only does the patient start building a trusting relationship with the nurse, but is more comfortable in the often daunting hospital environment and can focus on recovery. As a mother/baby nurse, you have to exemplify this quality as nurses deal with a sensitive and special time for patients and their families. Another quality that I value is respect. You have to have respect for different cultures, traditions and norms, as well as for the patients wishes, which at times can be difficult and challenging.
Thérèse C. Greey, RN, BSN, med/surg inpatient nurse, Overlook Medical Center, Summit, N.J.
One of the most important qualities a new nurse should cultivate is a caring nature. During a shift, it is easy to just go through your to-do list without taking the time to really see your patients and care for them. As a nurse, you see people at their best and worst, experiencing life and death. Whatever stage theyre in, they need a hand to hold and an ear for listening. It is hard being in a hospital, often away from your support system. Nurses help fill that gap. Taking the time to really care can be the best medicine for a patient, and you dont need an order to give it.