I pray, I do my part, to lift each downcast spirit, and to soothe each heavy heart. May my touch being reassurance, may my voice be soothing too. May my gentle care remind them of the love they have in you. - A Nurse's Prayer, Author Unknown.
To be a part of a noble profession such as nursing, is a matter of pride and achievement in itself. Though people may use the term "nurse" nonchalantly, only those who have seen a nurse's life would understand the honor and respect that goes into this profession. Nursing isn't merely a profession, or a job that you need to perform during your shift timings. It is a responsibility, a behavioral conditioning, an approach towards people, and a dedication towards healing others. To summarize the essence of this profession, it is not about the qualities that you can acquire to become a nurse, it is about the inherent qualities that you are born with, that will make you a great nurse.
Qualities That Define a Good Nurse
Handle Both Physical and Mental Pressure
Before you choose to be a nurse, it is very important for you to understand who you are as an individual. This is because the profession is extremely demanding, both physically and mentally. Physical pressures include dealing with emergency cases, on-call duties, extended working hours, and so on. Mentally, this job would need you to deal with the emotional situations of the patients and their families.
Provide Moral Support
Giving a constant moral support, aiding their needs to be heard and comforted, being an advocate of the patient in front of the doctor, and so on, involves the integral duties of a good nurse. All this would require the aspirant to be compassionate, mentally composed, physically strong, and professionally dedicated. Among the other qualities that an ideal nurse should have, the aforementioned qualities can only be found in a person naturally, and cannot be acquired forcefully.
Kind and Compassionate
We all tend to be kind and compassionate towards others in our daily lives. The majority of people that we meet are those at work, social gatherings, etc. But a nurse comes across people who are dealing with trauma - both physically and mentally! These people are distressed and are looking for comfort and healing. It is easy to deal with healthy people, but if you are surrounded with patients who need your assistance, then it is important for you to be kind and compassionate towards them.
Most of us might get frustrated after a point, a nurse is the one who understands their miseries and comforts them even in the darkest hour. All this cannot be done without compassion being a major essence of your character.
Being a nurse is not a 9 to 5 desk job. One needs to be on their toes, aiding the need of the doctors and patients. In case of emergencies immediate assistance is required. While the doctor examines the patient, it is the nurse's duty to follow up according to the doctor's instructions. A normal phenomena in this career is on-call duties, and extended shifts, in case there is less staff. Therefore, it is important to be physically active and strong.
A nurse is a caregiver who acts as a source of connection between the doctor, patient, and the patient's family. There are various queries that the patient and his/her family members would have. Not only this, in case of serious illnesses, there will be issues like anger, frustration, pain, and agony, mainly from the patient's end.
On the other hand, there will also be the mental pressure to deal with the patient calmly through all the chaos, thereby, making sure that the doctor's instructions are being followed. Therefore, mental stability is a necessity in this profession.
Excellent Communication Skills
For a nurse, it is not possible to provide complete care for a person if there is lack of proper communication. When it comes to communication, especially in health care, it is more than talking to a patient. One needs to cater to both the physical and emotional needs. The talking needs to be soft and polite, making the patient feel at ease. Firmness too, is essential in the tone when it comes to instructing the patient about advised medications and exercise.
Another important aspect in communication is to be a good listener, and it goes beyond listening to the needs of the patient! It involves forming a bond of mutual trust and reliance. When a person goes through an illness or a trauma, it is usually accompanied by loneliness, frustration, and the need to be heard. During this phase, it is a nurse who can act as a caregiver and confidant, which is impossible without the ability to communicate well.
Constant Urge to Learn
A lot has changed from the time when Florence Nightingale founded modern nursing, as compared to the modernized changes that we see in the nursing field today. With continuous discovery of new illnesses, medicines, and development in health care technology, professionals need to update and adapt themselves continuously with the changing trends. This cannot be done successfully if there is no impulse to learn.
Alert and Observant
It is mandatory for the aspirant to be alert and observant, considering the demands involved in the profession. Observing the unspoken needs of the patient, providing with emergency care and assistance, taking charge of the situation when the doctor is not present, etc., are a part and parcel of the job.
Without being alert and observant, a nurse would not be able to justify the given responsibilities and would lose the trust that the patient and the doctor has on the nurse. This is because any kind of delay in taking the required action due to indecisiveness could prove to be fatal for the patient.
Adaptable to Change
When I say change, I mean the dynamic nature of the working environment in the health care sector. Each day is different from the other, with new cases, new patients, each varying from the previous ones. Every patient has different needs, and there are different ways to handle them. Which is why, a nurse needs to be flexible when it comes to adapting to changes, be it in the
work schedule, or simply in the way one deals with the patients.
work schedule, or simply in the way one deals with the patients.
Willingness to Provide a Healing Touch
This quality defines the difference between a nurse and a great nurse. Doing something just because it's your job, and doing something because it is your humane duty both are different things. It is only if you have this quality that you will enjoy serving others, whether it is during your duty hours or if you have been called on duty in the middle of the night. This career is satisfying only if the need to comfort others is more than the need to remain in your comfort zone.