8 Characteristics & Qualities of a Good Nurse

From as long ago as childhood, many of us had a firm idea of what we wanted to be when we grew up. If you’re the type of person who is always looking out for others and wants to do what they can to help those in need, you may naturally progress into a nursing role. However, there is more to the role of a nurse than just having a caring personality. Whether your aim is to work with babies, infants, adults, or seniors, here are some of the key traits that all nurses should possess.

Effective Communication

Above anything else, a good nurse will understand the importance of effective communication. Whether you’re treating a patient, engaging with a medical professional, or speaking to the patient’s family, your job heavily relies on collecting and relaying important data. Should there be a breakdown in communication, the consequences can be disastrous and potentially mean the difference between life and death.

Verbal and written communication is essential in any nursing profession. Whether you’re taking notes, administering medicine, or speaking to colleagues, being able to share your findings and concerns with ease is important.


Some nurses are born to follow others, while there are others who are born to lead. If you fall into the latter category, having leadership skills will allow you to guide your team towards success and ensure everyone knows where they stand within the organization. If you aspire to move up the ranks in the nursing world, obtaining a BSN (Bachelor of Science) degree is the best place to start. Baylor University has a variety of accelerated bsn nursing programs you can embark on which will teach you transferable skills and provide more opportunities.


When treating patients, having some kind of understanding of their situation is a must for putting them at ease and getting the job done quickly and efficiently. Many patients who come into hospital are terrified and anxious, so having empathy for their circumstances and doing what you can to keep the patient calm and relaxed can make all the difference.

The best nurses know how to put themselves in their patient’s shoes to ensure they receive the best care available. Once you build a strong connection with a patient, they will put their full trust into what you say, which will make your job a whole lot easier.

Active Listening

While many patients are more than happy to do as you say, there are others who will be more difficult to manage. If a patient has any fears or concerns, it’s your role as a nurse to listen to their point of view and take on board what they are saying. Also, when engaging with other members of staff, paying attention to what they say, showing that you are listening, and responding appropriately is important.

Emotional Stability

No matter the nursing role you find yourself in, there is a strong chance you will be put in many traumatic situations. Unfortunately, there is only so much nurses can do to save a patient, so having the ability to accept and process suffering and death is crucial. There will be some shifts where things get too much. However, it’s how you deal with the situation that matters.

We’re only human, so if you build a strong connection with a patient who sadly passes, you’re naturally going to feel sadness and grieve for their loss, but you must also be able to do your job properly without letting emotions get in the way. A good nurse can manage their emotions and draw strength from any situation they are in.

Problem Solving

During a typical day-to-day shift as a nurse, there are numerous obstacles you will encounter. Even the most experienced nurses will come up against problems that they must work around and fix immediately. Whether it’s helping a sick patient, dealing with an emergency, or speaking to a doctor, determining the course of action quickly is important.

When in a stressful situation, you must also be able to work well under pressure and persevere through anything. Some challenges will be easier to solve than others, so all good nurses will try and try again until they rectify the problem.


Every patient that walks through the door will come from a different background. As a nurse, you may deal with people from all walks of life, so you must be respectful of other people’s religions, views, and beliefs, even if they don’t align with your own way of thinking. Being open-minded and non-judgmental is a mandatory trait that all good nurses must possess.

Respect goes a long way, not only with patients, but with other members of staff too. As a nurse, you will engage with other nurses, doctors, and managers. Showing respect and appreciation for your team is a must when working on projects and tasks.

Physical Stamina

As a nurse, you won’t get much chance to sit down and relax on shift. Being on your feet for 12 hours will naturally take its toll, so you need to be in good shape to perform your duties. Whether you’re lifting a patient, handling a heavy object, or need to run from one end of the hospital to the other, a nursing role is definitely not suitable for those who would prefer to be behind a desk 24/7.

To get the most out of your nursing role, keeping your energy levels in check is essential. You can do this by making exercise a priority outside of work, eating well, and keeping positive. If you don’t look after yourself, you’re at a higher risk of injury which could see you having to take time off work.

There aren’t many careers quite like nursing. If you’re after an occupation that provides a great sense of accomplishment and is highly rewarding, a nursing role may be the perfect fit for you. And if you identify with any or all the traits listed above, you’re sure to flourish in the nursing world.

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