About the Job

The Most Essential Nursing Skills

The Most Essential Nursing Skills

Committing life and limb to the treatment and well-being of others is no small feat; it requires dedication, patience, and lots of love for fellow neighbors, whether they’re family members or complete strangers. While doctors and specialists may frequently perform life-saving, emergency procedures, nurses are the brave men and women who will stay by the patient’s side, assisting them when the role of the doctor has long since passed and accompanying them on the long road to recovery.

For these reasons, nurses must possess a specific set of skills which revolve around medical knowledge, the ability to perform routine procedures on patients, and the social skills to complement their bedside manner, so that the patient is as comfortable as possible while he or she recuperates from his or her conditions. This set of skills, however, is seldom taught in medical school; beyond medical and technical knowledge, a nurse must have strong personal and social presence in order to properly assist others and support them while they recover.

Patients are frequently scared during their stay, especially if they have a medical procedure scheduled and are waiting for the fateful day. Some of them might even be frightened to the point of emotional instability; nurses play a pivotal role for these patients, as they are the most qualified professionals to lend guidance and respite by combining their medical knowledge and expertise, with their unfaltering social techniques to create a calming, soothing environment where the patients feel legitimately cared for.

Among the skills that any given nurse must have in his or her repertoire, we might find the following:

Organizational Skills

Besides caring for the patients they are charged with, nurses must also be able to organize their schedules and execute tasks in a timely manner. Some nurses are charged with whole floors or pavilions of patients, some of which might have hundreds of them; keeping track of so many individuals can definitely strain any given nurse, so it is imperative that each nurse be mentally and physically prepared to shoulder the challenge they will be tasked with. Additionally, it is extremely important that all nurses keep the patient’s chart and medical allocation registries up to date. In this manner, the burden for the nurses in case of emergencies will be lessened, which will lead to better response and, overall, and improved quality of service.

Stress Management

It’s already clear that the nursing profession is not for the faint of heart. These brave men and women are constantly exposed to physical and mental trauma on a daily basis; the workflow is very heavy, and emergencies are commonplace, especially when working in the Emergency Room. Furthermore, nurses often function as the face of the hospital towards the patients, so they are the ones bearing the brunt of their emotions such as rage, sadness, frustration, pain, and anguish, to name a few. In these cases, it is imperative that the nurses are able to steel their emotions, keep calmed and relaxed, and be able to react in an objective manner in order to provide the best care and successfully carry out their assignments.


“There’s no ‘I’ in team”. This phrase has never been truer than when referring to nurses. Hospitals usually consist of many pavilions, each of which can have hundreds — or even thousands — of patients. Simply put, a nurse must be able to work as part of a team in order to share responsibilities and see to each of the patients’ needs. In this sense, hospitals are required to employ hundreds of staff members to work in constant, rotating shifts. For this reason, each nurse must be able to work with a great variety of personality types. Through their tolerance and ability to work in tandem with their colleagues, nurses will always be able to surpass each obstacle set before them.


It goes without saying that any nurse should perform their responsibilities with the utmost professionalism. Through this habit, the patient’s life is not only safeguarded, but they will also feel that they are receiving the best treatment which, in turn, will help ease their uneasiness during their stay. Furthermore, through their professional services, nurses also help keep high the reputation of their trade, enhancing the integrity and respect that patients have for not only them but for nursing as a whole.

Analytical and Critical Thinking

It is true that, in most cases, the doctors are the ones charged with examining, diagnosing, and assigning treatments to the patient. However, as nurses mature and grow within their hospitals, so will their ability to assist doctors in making the best decisions for said patients. With enough time working in a given hospital, nurses will learn to recognize disease patterns and detect the problems of the patient in an improved manner. These skills are essential for providing the best care to each individual patient, and for allowing them to effectively adapt to each of their requirements.


Learning to communicate and transmit information in an effective manner is another skill crucial to the nursing trade. Nurses that are able to express their hypothesis and ideas to their colleagues are able to foster better relationships with their peers which will, in turn, improve the treatment they provide to the patients. In the same manner, learning to communicate through empathy and understanding is very important when speaking with patients. Effective communication is an essential part of any healthcare professional’s bedside manner.


This one might seem somewhat complicated, as nurses — like any other professional — must be able to enjoy free time in order to unwind from the daily stress. Nevertheless, a good nurse must have the flexibility to adapt to different shifts which, more often than not, will go far past the boundaries of any other regular work schedule. Nurses must be able to cover different shifts, and also remain available for overtime at a moment’s notice. Similarly, a good nurse must also be willing to learn skills outside of their usual fields of expertise in order to give their patients the best care possible.

Medical and nursing will likely teach future nurses all the technical skills they’ll ever need in order to properly care for their patients. Furthermore, whatever skills they don’t receive in school, they will likely learn by working in the hospital. However, personal, social, communication, and leadership skills must be nurtured from within, as they will play a pivotal role in the nurse’s daily life. Practicing and mastering said skills will, more often than not, distinguish the bad and mediocre, from the very best professionals in this noble trade.