Nurses are among the most respected professionals in the country. Their care and duty are second-to-none, and their hard-work is well recognized. Working as a nurse requires a very specific set of skills. The job is emotionally and physically draining, and the pressure is always high. Of course, the rewards are plentiful. Watching a patient you have cared for walk away healthy is a wonderful feeling. It’s heartwarming to know that you helped make it happen.


If you’ve got your heart set on a career in nursing, we’ve got some essential tips for you today. You’ll need to develop a set of skills specific to the hospital environment to aid your patients. In many cases, these skills are built into your personality. In others, you may need to develop them and learn new ones along your journey. Here are the essential personal skills you’ll need.

nursing career


1. Compassion

One of the nurse’s most important roles is ensuring that patients feel comfortable and relaxed. It’s a terrifying environment for new patients and it’s your job to make them feel safe. A level of empathy is required to help connect with patients and show you understand how they’re feeling. You may have to offer advice and guidance to families with excruciatingly difficult choices. As a nurse, it’s your job to handle these conversations with a delicate tone and understanding nature. If you’ve got a compassionate personality, it will lead to success.

2. Communication

Nurses are responsible for relaying essential information between doctor and patient. They’ll also check vital signs and carry out procedures. To do this, you’ll need to develop an effective way of communicating to patients. Hospital procedures and terminology are complicated and confusing; especially for new patients. As a nurse, you’ll need to effectively communicate the problems and procedures to patients. You’ll also need to inform doctors of the situation and explain problems carefully.

3. Quick thinking under pressure

Hospitals are high-stress, high-pressure environments. Emergencies and life-threatening situations come with the territory. To thrive as a nurse, you’ll be expected to react quickly to emergencies and act with a clear mind. You won’t let fear or nerves cloud your judgement, and you’ll respond immediately. Responding to crises is something you’ll learn when you take your MSN Nursing course, so you’ll be well-trained. Often, all it takes is some experience and real-life practice to perfect this skill.

4. Confidence

In these high-pressure situations, you’ll be expected to make quick decisions. You’ll know how to respond to the immediate problem. You’ll know exactly which doctor to page and you’ll know the correct procedures. It’s crucial that you have the confidence to stick to your convictions. There is no room for second-guessing yourself in a hospital environment. You need the confidence to trust your skills and experience and make the right decision. You’ll also need the confidence to take on certain tests and procedures yourself. Confidence is essential to ensure the patient feels safe in your ability.

5. Physical strength and stamina

Stamina is a skill you might not have considered for your future nursing career! However, spend one day on a ward and you’ll know what we mean. A career in nursing means long days and nights spent on your feet. You’ll often find yourself running between patients and catching up on sleep whenever you can. Shifts are variable, and all-nighters are very common. You’ll need plenty of physical strength and stamina to keep up with the demands of hospital nursing.

6. Emotional strength

Working in a hospital environment is tough for anyone. No-one is immune to the sights and sounds of pain and suffering. It takes a toll, and you’ll be exposed to sadness and difficulty on a daily basis. You’re often responsible for the care of individuals for long periods, and you’ll grow attachments. Emotional strength is required to distance yourself and remain objective. Of course, there are terrific highs of emotions involved too. Watching miracles happen before your eyes and nursing people back to health is very rewarding. Expect a rollercoaster of emotions though!

7. Ethics

At the heart of nursing is the propensity to do the right thing. It’s to act in accordance with your patient’s best interests and recognise your code of ethics. More importantly, it’s understanding the dignity of your patients and helping them through a difficult time. Nursing is a tough career choice. The one thing that will get you through is a deep calling to help people. It should be part of your DNA.


If you think you’ve got what it takes, then congratulations! You’ll make a fantastic nurse. A wonderful and fulfilling career lays ahead. Best of luck!