Qualities of a Good Nurse

To a hospitalized patient, the ward nurse often becomes an advocate, caregiver, friend and confidante. If you have experienced this you will understand that the qualities of a good nurse are more than just how much theory they know in order to pass an exam. A good nurse can be the key to a patient’s recovery.

During the Crimean War, the soldiers watched each night as the “Lady with the Lamp” bought them hope and strength. One hundred years later this hasn’t changed. Good nursing practice provides patients with optimism and hope despite their health problems and diagnosis. Here are a few practices and characteristics that make a good nurse.

  • Nurses must demonstrate the ability to be dedicated, committed, caring, well organized and focused. They must understand that patient recovery is as much about their ability to nurse the whole patient (physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and intellectually) as it is about creating and implementing a care plan to help the patient recover from their ill health or surgery.
  • Effective and competent nurses are those nurses who are patient focused and team players. Patient focused care revolves around the needs of the patient. The nurse may often act as an advocate for the patient, particularly in situations where the rest of the medical team has to have a more appointment based approach to care.
  • Nurses need to be dedicated and committed as the work is at times thankless and difficult. Many procedures that must be carried out are difficult, sometimes technical and sometimes unpleasant. A nurse’s commitment to their work will help set the mood during a difficult procedure. A pleasant smile and tone of voice can make a world of difference in the way a patient deals with the procedure.
  • Nurses are often called on to support grieving patients or relatives after a bad prognosis has been given. A nurse should be able to deal with any number of different personalities and situations in any one day. Nurses should be able to “take all this in stride,” and case manage each patient as an individual with their own set of issues.
  • It’s imperative that nurses know how to look after themselves. Everyone in a humanitarian or caring focused profession need to be able to separate their work from their home life. This means being able to leave their work at work and use their time off to be with their families and friends. This “down time” will contribute toward a nurse being good at their job.
  • A good nurse is a team player, who is not only focused on attending to her own workload, but realizing that she is a part of team and doing whatever is necessary to ensure that the required tasks get carried out.

These words penned by a nurse summarizes the qualities of a good nurse:

“Nursing care comes in many forms. Sometimes it is the ability to make someone feel physically comfortable by various means. Other times it is the ability to improve the body’s ability to achieve or maintain health. But often it is an uncanny yet well honed knack to see beyond the obvious and address, in some way, the deeper needs of the human soul.” Donna Wilk Cardillo, A Daybook for Beginning Nurses


Learn More: Facts About the Nursing Profession