5 Qualities a Great Nurse Should Have

Becoming a nurse is an excellent choice because it is a very rewarding profession. Nurses get to help people when they are most in need. During the pandemic of 2020, people once again realized that nurses and other healthcare workers are real-life superheroes. 

Qualities A Great Nurse Should Have

But it is not just a fulfilling position that gives one a sense of doing something really important for humanity; it also pays well in the United States. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of a Registered Nurse is much higher than the annual average wage for all occupations. 

When it comes to education, to become a nurse, you will need a bachelor’s degree in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. After getting one of these, you will also need a license to work as a nurse in your state. But, equally important to education are your personal characteristics that you will need to become a nurse and stay on top in this field. Let’s take a look at the five most important qualities. 

Empathy and care 

Although empathy and care are not one and the same, one cannot exist in a person without the other, so we decided to put them together on this list. 

The wish to provide care is one of the vital reasons one becomes a nurse. No amount of skill and training can be put to good use and be productive if a nurse is not caring enough for their patients and does not understand what they and their loved ones are going through. 

Empathy is one’s ability to put oneself in another person’s shoes – to see the world from their perspective. When working with people whose health is in jeopardy, it is very important to constantly have in your mind how scared or worried they might feel. 

This is particularly important when you have many patients, and as a professional, you know certain conditions are more severe than others. You must be able to see that it is perfectly normal for a sick person to worry and be scared and help them chase away the fears. 

This is particularly important when you have many patients and as a professional you know certain conditions are more severe than others. You must be able to see that it is perfectly normal for a sick person to worry and be scared, and help them chase away the fears. 

Communication skills 

Firstly, nurses need to have great communication skills because words can work as therapy. Nurses can use words as well as body language to bond with patients, ease their concerns and help them relax. When a nurse knows which information to communicate and when, they can be proactive and share it with the patient, giving them an opening to vent their worries. 

Secondly, a nurse is very often the connection between patients, their family members, and doctors. This gives them an opportunity to collect important information that, if lost, can be life-threatening. This is why it is important for a nurse to be able to read, write and present information to others verbally and clearly. 

In some cases, patients can be unable to speak for themselves. This is when a nurse’s empathy meets the ability to understand the subtle non-verbal cues of a patient and translate them to other healthcare staff as well as family members. In these cases, a nurse becomes a type of advocate for the patient. 

Desire to learn 

We live in a world that is constantly changing and evolving for the better. The field of medicine is no exception to this. This is why a good nurse needs to be constantly open to new knowledge and skills. If you want to be a successful nurse, you need to be able to assess if you have the knowledge necessary for the task in front of you and to be able to change as fast as healthcare.

Hence, motivation to spend your life learning new things and improving the knowledge you already have might be crucial for a good nurse. Hospitals and other healthcare institutions usually offer training and education that help their staff stay on top and extend their grasp of certain skills, as there are medical certifications that must be renewed once in a while. A good example of this is PALS certification, something that nurses working in emergency care of children require. 

Problem-solving skills 

Every job gets easier as you gain more experience in it, but in healthcare, it is not always like that. There might be similarities, but more often than not, every patient is a case for itself and that is why a good nurse must be able to improvise and adapt in order to find the best possible solution for every problem. 

The bright side of this characteristic is that you can actually learn it pretty easily if you are not born with it. Especially compared to how hard it might be to gain the skills we mentioned before in this list if they are not already a part of your character. 


Being respectful is important in any line of work, and so it is in healthcare. A nurse must be able to respect all the boundaries and diversity of people. Perhaps this is particularly noticeable in the work of home care nurses whose job actually happens in their patients’ home. And being respectful also makes one respected. 

In healthcare, it is equally important to have massive respect for rules. They are there to make sure patients are safe and will have the best possible outcome. But, sometimes, these regulations can appear to only slow things down and increase the amount of work. This is why it is paramount for a nurse to respect them no matter the burden they may seem to be. 

In a nutshell 

After you gain the education level necessary to become a nurse, there are many fields you can be successful at, if you consider your abilities well. For example, if you know you do not function well under pressure, emergency care is definitely not the field for you. But that does not mean you will not thrive as a home care nurse, for instance.

There are, however, certain characteristics necessary for every type of nurse, and we tried here to mention the top five of them. If you are not sure you have them all, think really carefully about what you can gain, because without them, it is highly unlikely to be successful at this occupation. 

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