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
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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…

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