The healthcare sector is transforming. Technological developments and digitization have changed the work processes and ways to protect individual health. An increase in chronic illnesses has made it vital to think about preventative health measures. There are different types of professional nurses working in the field. Some work in high-paced situations, while others work in rehabilitation centers. No matter where the nurse works, they have one thing in common, i.e., to help others and make their lives better.
According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, there will be a 52% increase in nursing employment within the next ten years. With the increasing growth in the profession, the requirements and standards to be a competitive nurse have also changed. The nursing sector is diverse, and there are many ways to improve your portfolio. You can become a nurse practitioner and help thousands of patients by providing them a healthcare plan and diagnose their ailments. You can even work as a clinical nurse specialist, which is a leadership role aiming to implement improved healthcare services.
However, becoming a nurse is not as easy as it might seem to many. A successful nurse needs a mix of hard and soft skills, along with appropriate education. If you are a practicing nurse, these skills can help you stand out from the competition. The fundamental difference between both skillsets lies in the way we acquire them. Hard skills are technical skills that one usually learns through education and professional training. Comparatively, soft skills are personality traits that one develops through experience and practice. In a modern workplace, both soft and hard skills are necessary to make a difference. Following the healthcare industry’s current dynamics, many advanced degree programs already include soft skills in their curriculum. For example, institutions that offer CCNE accredited online MSN programs focus on equipping students with leadership and patient management skills. Hence, this article lists some of the essential skills necessary for every nurse to remain competent in healthcare.
- Urgent emergency care: Nurses must know how to react to medical issues. It is the fundamental skill necessary for a career as a nurse. Wound dressing and providing initial care to traumatic patients are some roles that nurses have to fulfill. Besides, monitoring and conducting the vital signs such as the heart rate, blood pressure, temperature of a patient, etc., are part of providing initial patient care. This information determines the treatment protocols and tracks the progress of the patient. Hence, fundamentals of urgent care and medical emergency skills are vital for every nurse.
- Patient education: Patients need to get a detailed briefing before leaving the hospital. Nurses must instruct patients about any precautions they have to take. They are further responsible for communicating about the side effects or risk factors associated with the provided treatment. Many nurses fail to educate patients regarding the required dos and don’ts during their treatment, resulting in deteriorating health conditions.
- Patient safety: More than half of the treatment and diagnostic errors result from poor patient safety. Perhaps, some expected consequences of medication errors include rashes, skin disfigurement, itching, etc. However, in extreme cases, any unknown medication error might result in a patient’s death. Notably, nurses can reduce the risk of falls and errors by making more rounds. They can also maximize recoveries by staying vigilant and active.
- Technical skills: Since hospitals are also using the latest technology, nurses must know how to operate it. Besides, in the case of an emergency, online EHR systems and complex devices are used for patient treatment. A nurse with strong technical skills can manage patients’ care processes more effectively. Highly skilled nurses can also opt for hybrid positions which combine tech with medicine.
- Communication skills: An excellent nurse is someone who makes a patient feel heard and understood. Many patients feel helpless when they visit the hospital since they cannot understand the medical jargon and remain unsure about their treatment plan. Hence, communication skills are necessary for a nurse to help the patient to remain aware of their condition and stay cautious about dos and don’ts during the treatment processes.
- Critical thinking: The modern healthcare sector is complex and fast-paced. A nurse has to work on several situations simultaneously. A well-equipped nurse needs to make prompt decisions in typical scenarios after carefully weighing down the patient’s deteriorating health conditions. Therefore, they must have top-notch critical thinking skills to suggest a treatment plan to patients as per their skills.
- Stress Management: The profession demands nurses to remain well versed under most stressful situations. In the most extreme case of a health crisis, nurses might have to take care of several patients simultaneously. They even have to bear patients that are most frustrated with their conditions. A highly professional nurse knows how to manage her stress and remain resilient to keep things on track.
- Professional Ethics: Nurses’ decisions can mean the difference between life and death to the patient. However, in most critical situations, they might have to work with different team members in various settings. Hence, nurses must follow their morality to do what is correct in every condition. They must uphold doctor-patient confidentiality to comply with the professional ethics involved in the field of nursing.
The healthcare industry is booming, and people are more concerned about the quality of patient care. To stand out from a list of applicants, nursing students should hone the required hard and soft skills. They should also work to stay up to date with the latest developments in medical technology. Besides, they must be flexible, resilient, and open to new ideas to improve patient care quality.
The recent pandemic has highlighted the importance of nursing skills. When nurses and physicians face unprecedented pressure, they have to withstand it to make the world a better place. Since nursing is the most delicate profession, a professional nurse must be empathetic and be emotionally stable when dealing with patients in critical condition. Excellent nurses pay attention to detail to minimize errors and improve quality of patient care.