10 Qualities That All Great Nurses Share

10 Qualities That All Great Nurses Share
Photo by Clay Banks / Unsplash

Being a good nurse requires a particular personality type and specific qualities.

Of course, people can become great nurses without being born with these attributes, as well.

It just requires learning certain skills. Either way, great nurses all share these qualities.


Being in the hospital is a trying time for people.

Having someone who shows that they care can help patients better deal with the experience.

Being a naturally caring person can improve a nurse’s success in their career, as caring people are inclined to tend to the needs of their patients.

People who are not naturally caring individuals can still find success in nursing.

For some people, the main reason they choose a career in nursing isn’t to care for people.

Some like the stability and security of nursing as a career option, while others see it as an entry point to another career.

The key to becoming a more caring nurse is to find out what each patient needs to feel comfortable and cared for, then working to meet those expectations with kindness and compassion.

Communication Skills

Being a good communicator is essential to your success as a nurse.

This can require using many different approaches throughout a shift.

You will need to effectively communicate with fellow nurses, doctors, other staff within the hospital, as well as patients and their families.

Each of these groups requires a slightly different approach in your communication style.

The consequences of not being an effective communicator range from simple misunderstandings to critical medical errors—insufficient communication can leave patients feeling ill-informed or neglected.

At the same time, poor communication amongst staff could have dire consequences.

By improving your communication skills, you will avoid many of the pitfalls of poor communication.


Empathy is simply understanding the feelings of others and sharing those feelings.

There are three main types of empathy: cognitive, emotional, and compassionate.

As a nurse, you’ll find yourself using each type of empathy to better connect with and care for your patients.

An empathetic nurse is a good nurse, one who makes an effort to put themself in their patient’s position to understand what they’re going through.

Practicing empathy can also help you see patients as the people they are rather than a subject to treat.

Seeing hundreds of patients can grind away your sense of empathy as you become desensitized to suffering.

Working to maintain your empathy will help to improve your patient interactions and your experience as a nurse.

Attention to Detail

There are many details a nurse must be aware of at any given time.

Medication amounts, care procedures, and patient’s individual needs are just some aspects of a typical day on the job.

Paying attention to all these details is essential, as making a mistake could have life-threatening consequences.

This attention to detail needs to remain constant and is often required while under pressure to complete several tasks.

Problem Solving Skills

Much of nursing is about problem-solving, on both a small and a large scale.

Some people have natural problem-solving abilities, which will help them in their career as nurses.

Regardless of existing capabilities, this is a skill that improves with on-the-job experience.


Nursing is a physically demanding job.

Each shift, a nurse will walk several miles.

They will also lift hundreds or thousands of pounds throughout as they move and adjust patients and equipment.

All of this activity requires a high level of physical stamina.

Mental and emotional stamina is also required to withstand the rigors of the job each shift.

Staying active when not working, eating healthily, and getting enough sleep can help build and maintain stamina levels.

Sense of Humor

Having a lighthearted attitude can help to deal with the stresses of nursing.

It’s an emotionally and physically demanding job, and finding time to laugh can help deal with those challenges.

A sense of humor and positive attitude will also impact surrounding staff, improving everyone’s mood.

For patients, an effort to bring a bit of cheer to their life while in hospital is often appreciated.

Willingness to Learn

Medicine is a continually advancing field.

Breakthroughs in our understanding of how the body works, as well as technological improvements, mean that the limits of what we know are constantly changing.

Even without these advancements, there’s a lot to know about the nursing profession and patient care.

A great nurse shows a constant willingness to learn and an ability to put that knowledge into practice.

Even nurses who have been in the profession for decades can still learn more.

An openness to lifelong learning can help nurses at any stage of their career.

Time Management

Nurses face many demands; the ability to prioritize these demands is essential to being a good nurse.

Good time management skills, both inside and outside of your role as a nurse, will lead to a successful career.

An often overlooked aspect of time management is the need for self-care.

Dedicating time to take care of yourself enables success long-term.

This could mean a quick break during the shift or finding time outside of work to decompress.

Keeping up to Date on Qualifications

Staying current with certifications and qualifications is necessary for nurses to continue to do their job.

This means staying up to date with association memberships and ensuring qualifications are renewed according to the recommended schedule.

For qualifications such as basic life support, CPR, and other certifications, you can acquire these on your own time through online courses available from ProMed Certifications.

Here’s our full course offering.