Excel in healthcare: 6 traits of successful nurses

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Nurses make the largest workforce in healthcare. Currently, over 2.5 million nurses are working in the US. And interestingly enough, even with the current number, the need for their skills, knowledge, and leadership abilities does not seem to die down. In fact, there is a perpetual need for more nurses, especially in the post-pandemic times. But what makes nurses so sought after and an absolute necessity for healthcare? Is there an undisclosed ingredient that makes them who they are?

The secret ingredient is their personal traits that make one nurse better at work than the other. So here you are, learning about the traits that make nurses excel in their careers.

1. A predisposition towards advanced learning

One of the finest traits of a successful nurse is their thirst for knowledge and continuous learning. Competent nurses are always inclined to know more about their profession and improve their clinical and non-clinical skills. They are active and aware of cutting-edge technologies and new research. Technological improvements and medical breakthroughs also demand them to consistently revisit what they have learned and, if necessary, enroll in advanced degree programs.

Luckily, the tendency to excel academically is not a trait that you cannot learn. Enrollment in nursing degree programs such as BSN and MSN, multidisciplinary training, and participation in seminars and nurse conferences can develop this trait.

Moreover, when preparing for admission interviews, you realize the competition other aspiring nurses may pose to be. For people inclined toward an MSN degree, MSN interview questions can help prepare for admission to a nursing program. You can also use online resources while preparing for admission tests to amplify your chances.

An advanced degree can put you in a better place than your colleague when applying for similar job opportunities.

2. Care for your patients

You must think that it goes without saying for nurses to show care toward their patients. But having a caring nature is so important for nurses that the fact must be accentuated frequently. Besides, people also think whoever enters this career is because of their caring nature. But it might not be the case.

Many nurses enter this career because of the handsome pay they can get or the accompanying job security of this career. Some also consider this career as starting step for climbing their long career ladder. But the point worth emphasizing is that regardless of the reasons bringing you to this career, it is next to impossible to excel in the absence of a caring attitude. If you don’t feel and care for your patients, you cannot perform the tasks that are an integral part of your career. On the contrary, a caring attitude can significantly impact your success as a nurse.

3. Communication skills

Concentrating on what is being said to you when pulled and shouted at from all directions is tiring. But what other option do nurses have than to respond to each of these calls. Hence, they need good communication skills.

Nurses cannot survive in their careers without effective communication skills.  During their routine job, they have to communicate with doctors, administrators, pharmacists, other staff members, and patients’ families. They have to share patient reports, discuss their conditions, and frequently suggest changes to their treatment plans. A lack of communication skills and failure to share patient information on time can be detrimental. It can sometimes lead to aggravation in the patient’s conditions. On the contrary, strong communication skills in written and oral forms can foster better relationships with coworkers and patients.

An inability to anticipate and interpret changes in patients’ conditions leads to more medical errors. Patients also feel neglected when the staff is clueless about their predicament. Nurses make the workplace safer for patients and their families with effective communication skills.

4. Successful nurses reflect on their shift

Have you ever thought about what went wrong during your shift today? Or what did you do better than yesterday? This is called reflection—you might often hear people using this word. Thinking about how your day was spent and analyzing everything that happened is one of the traits of successful nurses. They look for the loopholes in their service and try not to repeat the same mistakes, though it does not mean they cannot make new mistakes and learn from them. An undetached part of reflecting on your day is appreciating yourself for everything that was an improvement from yesterday. This way, you can appraise yourself, be realistic about your performance, and always find room for improvement, eventually leading to success in your career.

5. Display a positive attitude

It is very easy to have a puckered brow and be irritated at everything and everyone, especially when you work in a high-stress workplace such as a hospital. So many stressors attack you from all sides at various points during your shift. While you might want to shout at people or be scornful, this attitude will not help you. It will make your job more tiring and stressful when patients complain about your rude and negative behavior. On the contrary, studies have proved that putting a smile on your face will make you happier and make your patients less stressed, comfortable, and hopeful. So, displaying a positive attitude despite stressors in the work environment is a win-win situation for you and the patients.

Moreover, you will deal with patients from different backgrounds and understanding levels. Try not to talk ill about them behind their back or mock them. Don’t be overly expressive and opinionated about a situation —as much as possible — keep your comments to yourself.

6. Successful nurses help their coworkers

Burnout is a real thing in nursing. It can make you disinterested, impersonal, and disenfranchised. Many of your colleagues might be dealing with burnout. Someone might be struggling to maintain a work-life balance with kids and family. Others might just be struggling to get accustomed to their work.  Successful nurses often take the pains to know about these happenings with their colleagues and offer a helping hand. Doing so needs more involvement and being present in your work. Be part of unit councils, nurse groups, and discussion forums and try to know the people’s struggles and help them in any way you can.


The primary job of a nurse is to take care of patients and bring them solace. So going with this theory, someone making their patient more comfortable will always be more preferred. But, just a positive attitude is not enough to be a nurse; there are many other things in the ingredient list of this recipe called “the successful nurse.” The article above mentions some traits that help nurses excel in their careers. Not all nurses possess these traits, but they can surely learn them.




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