Characteristics of a Great Nurse

Characteristics of a Great Nurse / Be the Example of a Great Nurse / Nursing ADPIE / #RN #nursingeducation #nursingleadership #nurses #nursingstudent #nursingadpie #adpie #nurse #murse
This post may contain affiliate links and advertising. We make a small commission if you make any purchases through any of these links, at no extra cost to you. This helps us to run and improve Nursing ADPIE.
Disclaimer: Although we are nurses by profession, we are not YOUR nurses. This article is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and does not establish any kind of nurse-patient relationship with us. We are not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.
Happy Wednesday to our favorite people!

Welcome back to discuss another topic here at ADPIE. This is Sara with you and I have to say this topic is near and dear to my heart - Leading by example. So today we are going to discuss some of the characteristics of a great nurse. Automatically I think of a handful of nurses that immediately come to mind. Some have been in this profession since the beginning of time. Respect to them for paving the way for us! Others are the fresh eyes that are not burned out - hopefully they follow our blog and learn how to prevent it.

Nonetheless, these are the people that you want to work with. I’ll be the first one to admit it, when I come to work and check the board for my assignment, I am STOKED when I see certain people working with me. This doesn’t mean that I dislike my other colleagues, I feel motivated and want to be on top of my game, which we always should be, but we’re still human and some days we’re shooting for …dare I say…minimal effort.

As the saying goes, "Keep ‘em alive till 0705.”

These are the nurses that when you’re working, no matter what your patient acuity looks like, it’s going to be a great day. This is because you’ve got the dream team! Overall, I will tell anyone to be the example, but there is more to it than that!

Here are the characteristics I think we should all possess to be that awesome nurse:

  • Knowledgeable
    • Who doesn’t love a nurse that knows their stuff?! Having the kind of resources readily available is such a privilege and we should strive to keep our knowledge up to date to maintain a safe practice! I love bouncing ideas off other nurses’ heads seeing if I’m on the right track. I may have been a Med-Surg Nurse for 5 years, but I certainly do not know it all.
  • Caring
    • I believe this is something that cannot be taught, but something that is innate. Possessing this quality doesn’t just mean you are caring for the patient in the sense of getting crackers and apple juice at their demand, this is listening to the patient that feels they aren't heard. It's making sure the room temperature is comfortable for the patient because the hospital is pretty much a refrigerator…just saying. A caring nurse is one that anticipates their patients' needs. We can’t predict the future but we can think ahead and grab that extra blanket, make time to sit and get to know our patients, and even pre-medicate our patient before that dressing change…because we would want it done for us, right?
  • Positive
    • Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a bad day at work? I mean, come on! We all have! At the end of the day, it’s all about our attitudes, there’s no room for negative Nancy at the Nurses’ Station, okay! If you have a bad assignment, seek help but remain positive. I read somewhere that if you force yourself to smile even just a little bit, your mind will interpret that as things are getting better. 
  • Organized
    • Look, some people thrive in chaos, and that’s fine on their personal time, but when it comes to taking care of someone else’s loved one, maintaining an organized work space and work all together is imperative! No “winging it” allowed! We were taught to look clean in order to look professional and to write neatly to prevent any errors. You know what? There’s a method to the madness. Check boxes to stay on top of tasks work for some people, having a certain workflow that has proven successful for passing medication on time and assessing multiple patients would be another good example. Find what works for you and stick with it!
  • Critical Thinking
    • This one is probably my absolute favorite! Critical thinking is taught in school, but I am a firm believe that there are certain times where we go into information overload and we may have covered it but we also covered like five thousand other things so how can we keep up. My best advice for learning how to critically think is to practice this skill. I like reading case studies from time to time, if you have a mentor then perhaps ask them to simulate a scenario and discuss.  
  • Respectful
    • Often, we forget to respect one another. I think it’s because the stress gets to us and the person in front of us is the one that’s going to get it. This also includes phone etiquette, non-verbal communication, etc. The main thing I want to say about this is: No matter how bad things get, or how stressful, or how far you’ve advanced in your career…we all must maintain professional behavior and respect for one another! No one is better than another, we are a team! If you have half the alphabet behind your name and someone is speaking to you, it does NOT mean you’re allowed to speak in any fashion less than respectful. If you are a charge nurse and you’re in staff because it’s another charge nurse’s turn, you STILL MUST RESPECT THEM! This is a pebble in my shoe, when two individuals hold the same title and one does not give the other the respect they deserve…this is not okay. You guys, we are professionals, let’s act like it!
  • Proactive
    • One of my favorite things that a night shift nurse has done for me is to hang a brand-new bag of fluids! I know it sounds so silly, but the beginning of the shift I am getting my ducks in a row, assessing my patients, researching about them, prepping them for procedures... The list can be endless at times. So I for one am extremely appreciative of these little gestures. Proactive nurses are those that know the plan of care and don’t need the physician to put in an order for it. Never practice outside of your scope though! An example I can give is, if a patient comes in with a GI bleed, go ahead and start a second large bore IV in anticipation of administrating blood products. Another example is if a patient requires IV ABX longer than seven days, arrange for the patient to receive a midline and set them up for success! As nurses, we have so much power to make a difference without overstepping any boundaries! 
  • Attentive to detail
    • This kind of goes hand in hand with staying organized, but those who are attentive to detail also think critically. This helps in scenarios such as when a patient isn’t doing well and you’ve recognized it early enough to intervene. This is always the goal. Attention to detail save lives, that’s the bottom line! 
  • Lifelong learner
    • Okay everyone, here is the deal, our patients are expected to live longer which means that the care we provide will become more complex. I say this to emphasize the importance of keeping up with changing information! That being said, if you have your ADN, plan to pursue your BSN! As nurses, we are in fact lifelong learners! Medicine is always changing and there will always be new information for us to learn and apply in our practice. You owe it to yourself and your patients to push yourself for the next best thing, because you can do it!
  • Team player
    • Last, but certainly not least, team players. I absolutely positively love nurses that are team players! You know who they are, the ones that are behind on their charting too but are still wanting to help you and make sure that your patients are taken of! Team players are those that pick up on a day we’re short, or one that’s willing to jump in and answer the call light, or willingly float to another unit. To be transparent, when I think of team players I think of David, in fact he does posses all of these qualities and it is pretty amazing that I get to work with my best friend. It really is true “teamwork makes the dream work!”

So after reading all of this, we kind of get the idea of it all. When you think of that Rockstar nurse, strive to be like them. Lead by example. You never know who is watching you and is striving to be just like you!

What other qualities do you think a good nurse possess?

When you think of things qualities, who comes to mind?

Share with us your thoughts, we’re always thrilled to hear from you. Stay tuned for next week’s topic, until then please continue to monitor…

Second Victim in Nursing: I could have done more!

This post may contain affiliate links and advertising. We make a small commission if you make any purchases through any of these links, at no extra cost to you. This helps us to run and improve Nursing ADPIE.
Disclaimer: Although we are nurses by profession, we are not YOUR nurses. This article is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and does not establish any kind of nurse-patient or educator-student relationship with us. We are not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.

Good morning everyone and happy new year! Thank you for joining us again! This is Sara and I wanted to discuss with you all a common topic that’s viewed as a taboo: Being a "second victim".

This is believed to be a professional who is involved in an incident that results in either potentially or actually harming someone. That would mean the individual being harmed is the first victim. Human error is to be expected, but what if your profession is to heal and a less than favorable outcome occurs? Stepping back from the anguish and guilt isn’t always as easy to do as it is to advise to someone. For some individuals, the trauma of harming another being is so severe that they aren’t able to return back to their profession. This trauma is not always experienced by novice nurses, the experienced nurse that has been doing this for years is not exempt, I assure you!

During my research, I was a bit devastated as I placed myself in some of these people’s shoes and felt how real this could be! Think about it, instead of giving 500 units of heparin subQ, you give it IV…it could happen! As someone who checks, and double checks, and sometimes triple checks, I still could very well make an error. I would blame myself but I would also analyze the situation. Was it my lack of knowledge? is it an opportunity to improve my process? Did I deviate from the standard and take a short cut? Sometimes things happen resulting in an adverse event. I provided this example because medication errors are the most common. I stress to everyone the importance of following the 6 rights of medication administration along with researching the medication you are administering to your patient. If medication requires a co-signature, it is there for a reason and do not override it as it is in place as a safety precaution.

I recently read about a nurse that administered the wrong dose to a patient. The nurse was known as a “healer” by all her colleagues and she made an error that would not only cost her the patient’s life, but also her own. No one goes into nursing with the intention of hurting the vulnerable. She mourned her patient along with the loss of her job, career, and identity. She was required to pay a fine and was unable to care for patients alone as part of her contract when she sought new nursing position. She found herself continuously and closely monitored and unable to practice with any autonomy. She knew this is the result of her actions. Her guilt and depression took over and she took her own life. Generally, we punish ourselves harshly as a result of mistakes, adverse events, and failure.

So what can you and I do about it? Let’s provide peer support! Situational awareness is imperative in nursing, so if you’re noticing your colleague is having anxiety or stress caring for their patients, reach out to them. Suggest seeking help as they may be suffering silently. If you yourself have experienced a traumatic event, please talk to someone about it. Most hospitals have employee assistance programs or maybe talk to your manager. Transparency and patient safety go hand in hand, and I for one believe that if we are able to talk about something that has been effecting us negatively, we can overcome it. Nursing is not always easy, nor will you always do every task perfectly.

I’d like to point out that my discussion today was not in anyway to frighten anyone but to bring awareness that mistakes happen and being a second victim is real. Here at ADPIE, David and I hope to provide you with as many tools to allow you to succeed. Sometimes topics like this one aren’t necessarily discussed in school and we would like to provide an educational space to talk about it. Follow this link for some recommendations by the Joint Commission if anyone is interested in reading them. We hope you tune in next week as we discuss another topic. So please continue to monitor...

*disclaimer: ADPIE is not an affiliate with the joint commission.*

What's My Day Like Nursing?

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