Qualities of a Great Nurse  


Nursing isn’t a career field that you want to choose based on income or job opportunities alone. It’s often a high-stress job with big physical demands, and you must work directly with people during some of the most intense moments of their lives. Some jobs offer a calm work environment in a clinical setting while others are fast-paced in hospitals and surgical centers. There are also some administrative roles that you might consider.  

There are some great reasons to consider nursing, especially now. Multiple factors have joined forces to create a substantial nursing shortage. There are healthcare jobs available across the country, and the nursing field is expected to grow by about 9% by 2030.  

If you’re considering nursing, it helps to honestly compare the qualities of a nurse to your personal qualities. What does it take to thrive in this profession? We’re about to fill you in.  

Top Qualities of a Great Nurse  

Many nurses choose healthcare because they want to help others. They want to make a difference in their communities while earning a reasonable pay rate. Those are great reasons to choose a job in nursing, but it’s also important to match your personality and other personal factors to the career field. To help you do that, we present this list of qualities shared by all great nurses.  

Effective Communicators  

Whether you’re talking to a doctor, patient, or family member, good listening skills and verbal communication skills are essential for all nurses. It’s important to speak to patients and loved ones with sensitivity while providing valuable information in an understandable manner. It’s just as important to listen carefully to understand orders from other medical professionals or information provided by patients and their loved ones.  

Written communication skills are also important as most nurses are required to keep detailed notes on medical charts. Failure to communicate clearly in writing could lead to confusion or even put a patient’s life in danger as other nurses and doctors use notes to provide care for patients.  

In many cases, nurses are the eyes and ears of doctors, surgeons, and other providers. They must listen carefully and ask the appropriate follow-up questions to determine what information is relayed back to those other providers. Communication and listening skills are also used to pick up on early signs of an emergency in some medical settings.  

Excel in Clinical Reasoning  

All nurses use clinical reasoning skills daily, whether they work in an emergency room, psychiatric facility, nursing home, or doctor’s office. They’re constantly assessing the needs of patients while planning, prioritizing, and implementing various levels of care. In many facilities, reasoning skills are also needed to successfully manage multiple patients simultaneously.  

The ability to collect and process a lot of information at once is critical for everyone in the nursing profession. Many nurses are communicating with patients, doctors, pharmacy representatives, and technicians as well as keeping up with their standard job duties.   

Critical Thinkers  

Critical thinking is the process of collecting information from others and the surrounding environment, processing it effectively and then making decisions. Those decisions lead to actions that may save a patient’s life or just make their visit to a hospital or clinic easier and more enjoyable.  

In healthcare, you don’t always have a lot of information or data to rely upon. You need to make fast decisions based on what is available, and you should remain calm while doing so. That’s why critical thinking is one of the most important qualities of a nurse.  

Calm and Emotionally Stable 

Did you notice that we just said nurses need to think through problems and use their critical thinking skills to make fast decisions while remaining calm? The ability to control your emotions even in intense environments is essential to the nursing profession. You’re often surrounded by people who are falling apart, but you must remain under control and think clearly to care for them properly.  

Many nurses find that they’re able to control their emotions during an emergency because their adrenaline is rushing and they’re focused on doing their job. They still need to manage the emotions that will naturally surface after they clock out and mentally process what happened that day.  

If you handle high-stress environments well and have great control of your emotions, then a career in healthcare may suit you well. On the other hand, you may not consider nursing a good fit if you’re an overly emotional person who doesn’t deal with stress very well. There are some nursing positions in calm doctor’s offices, so keep that in mind when chosen a nursing specialty or career path.  


The best nurses have empathy for their patients along with a genuine desire to help. They’re willing to advocate for the needs of their patients when needed. Even if they haven’t been in the patient’s shoes, they have a deep understanding of the emotions and struggles that come with sensitive medical issues.  

We just talked about the need to stay calm and control emotions while on the job. That doesn’t mean turning off all emotion and approaching patients and their loved ones in a cold manner. Great nurses are warm, friendly, and helpful. They support patients through emotional times while keeping their own emotions under control.  

Know How and When to Pivot  

Pivoting has been a big topic in the business world lately, but it applies to nursing and other jobs in healthcare as well. Situations can change at any moment in any medical facility. The best nurses can quickly adjust to changes in everything from workload and work location to patient care plans and emergency interventions.  

Are you ready to learn more about job opportunities in nursing or other healthcare fields? We can help! Let us help you find the perfect career path for your personality.  

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