Top 8 Qualities of a Nurse

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Nurse attending to patient with child

As one of the most vital roles that exists within our modern healthcare system, nurses pair their clinical expertise with a high level of patient interaction. Few careers are as rewarding as nursing, but the profession also comes with challenges of its own and requires specific characteristics from the people who are going to thrive within the profession. For students of Marquette University’s Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing program, passionate instructors are eager to bring those characteristics to the fore while teaching the clinical knowledge to earn a MSN degree in 19-21 months.

So what are some of the most important qualities of a nurse, and how can each help nurses thrive within a healthcare setting? Let’s examine the characteristics that individuals will need to succeed.

1. Critical Thinking

Nursing is a nonstop role, filled with minute-to-minute snap judgments on patient care scenarios and plenty of problem-solving. A strong analytical skillset is necessary to be able to take in each piece of information as it comes and make choices on the fly. Critical thinking skills will be one of the most commonly used nursing tools within patient care environments. Especially in triage situations, those who have put in the work to hone this skill while earning their degree will be able to thrive, producing the best possible patient outcomes.

2. Communication

Just like nurses encounter many patients each day and need to be able to clearly communicate with each, they also will need to be able to communicate with the other healthcare professionals around them. As they work with nurses, physicians, technicians and more, coordinating information on patient care and symptoms, clear communication is needed to keep everyone on track and operating with the same information as one another. With strong communication skills, a nurse can become a nursing leader and make the difference in patient care.

3. Curiosity

Clinical knowledge is vital to becoming a nursing leader, and the blended learning model in Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program incorporating online or on-site nursing theory coursework, hands-on skills and simulation labs and clinical rotations gives students a thorough base of clinical knowledge. However, the curiosity to continue learning, pursuing new specializations and keeping up to date on the latest nursing skills and techniques is vital to standing apart within the profession.

Two Marquette students examining a simulation manikin

4. Empathy

Every day, nurses are likely to come across patients and family members from all walks of life dealing with stressful situations. Being positioned at the heart of the patient care experience, nurses need to be empathetic as they interact with patients and shape their approach to meet the needs of each individual. With the empathy to relate to each patient’s situation, a nurse can provide the compassion patients need to ease their fears and work toward healing.

5. Attention to Detail

Across multiple care scenarios and specializations, nurses need to be ready to complete detail-oriented tasks on a regular basis. Whether a nurse is updating medical information, developing a care plan or communicating with other healthcare professionals, attention to detail is a massive factor in keeping a patient’s care safe and consistent.

Nurses who are able to keep track of the small details while keeping the big picture in mind are the ones who ensure continuity of care between healthcare providers. As you complete clinical rotations as a direct entry MSN student, you will learn under experienced professionals and further develop your abilities to deliver complete, holistic care.

6. Flexibility

If there is one constant in the nursing profession, it is that no two days are going to look exactly alike. Different patients, different combinations of nurses and other healthcare professionals on staff, and different scenarios will emerge each day. Being flexible and able to adapt to constantly changing scenarios is one of the key qualities of a good nurse, and it’s also a skill that will serve you well academically and personally.

7. Time Management and Organization

As a nurse you will almost always be under some level of time pressure, jumping between administering care, documenting medical information and coordinating with the healthcare team. Organization and the ability to complete multiple tasks on a tight timeline will go a long way to prevent stress and burnout on a day-to-day basis.

Before becoming a nurse, students in Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program take on a comprehensive curriculum on an accelerated timeline. To successfully progress through the program and earn an MSN degree in 19-21 months, organizational and time management skills are an important asset.

8. Self-Care

Lastly, every nurse who wants to cultivate a lasting career within the field will need to be able to identify and carry out a self-care routine. The day-in, day-out challenges that accompany nursing can start to accumulate, and without an outlet of some kind, burnout is much more likely.

Remember that you are your own biggest advocate, and take the time to practice self-care during your off hours. Whether it is exercise, meditation, or any kind of calming routine, cultivating strong self-care skills can help nurses thrive. As you make a difference in countless lives, you too are worth the effort that self-care requires.

Qualities That Marquette Instills in Nurses

Marquette MSN student in scrubs

Based on a long history of excellence in nursing education, the leading clinicians and professors at Marquette University’s Direct Entry MSN program try to encourage and emphasize these top nursing qualities in every student. Beyond these qualities alone, Marquette’s mission and message develops even more nursing qualities to help stand apart as future healthcare leaders. The difference in Marquette-educated nurses can be defined by:

  • Living out the principle of Cura Personalis, or care for the whole person.
  • Being an engaged critical thinker while practicing.
  • Being a courageous leader, both within your healthcare team and within the healthcare system.
  • Being a social justice champion and pushing the standard of patient care forward.
  • Advocating for the vulnerable, and taking action toward valuable causes.

Ready to Become a Nursing Leader with Marquette?

If you possess some or all of these top qualities of a nurse, you have the skills you need to successfully earn your degree and enter into the nursing profession ready to become a nursing leader. Marquette is dedicated to helping you succeed and giving you the nursing skills necessary to make a difference. Contact an admissions adviser today to take your first step into nursing.