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Before Sitting for Your Surgical Tech Certification Exam: What You Need to Know

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Six Qualities of a Great Nurse

Posted Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018 by Altierus

Registered nurses (RNs) are the front line of the healthcare system. More than 2.9 million RNs were at work in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), making nursing the largest health occupation by far. Nurses provide direct care to patients and play a critical role on treatment teams in hospitals, clinics, residential care homes, and even cruise ships.

If you’re thinking of becoming a nurse, you probably know that job growth is projected to be strong, with as many as 438,100 new jobs over the 2016-2026 period. You may also be wondering, “Do I have what it takes to be a nurse?” There are many personal qualities a nurse needs to possess in order to provide the best possible patient care and stay engaged in a very demanding role.

If you have these six important qualities, a career in nursing could be right for you.


First and foremost, great nurses are compassionate: they are able to recognize the suffering of their patients and patients’ families and feel concern for them. They then transform that concern into action to ease pain and suffering. This action can be as simple as bringing a cold patient an extra blanket or as demanding as advocating for a different medication with a patient’s physician.

Attention to Detail

Tiny details can make or break a patient’s treatment, sometimes quite literally meaning the difference between life and death. Great nurses are able to keep track not only of issues like medication types, dosages, and vital signs, but also a patient’s personal history, family members, and other information that can inform their care—even under strain and pressure.


Great nurses are able to communicate their patients’ needs up the chain of command, and able to translate the directions of physicians and other medical specialists to patients in a way that makes instructions easy to understand.

What’s more, great nurses are able to remain respectful, even when they are delivering bad news to patients or trying to make physicians understand the urgency of a situation.

Physical Stamina

Nurses are on their feet all day—it’s why they need comfortable shoes. They may also help move and lift patients or work long overnight shifts. While great nurses don’t have to be champion marathon runners, they should have enough physical fitness to keep up with the demands of the job. That means taking care of their physical health through appropriate exercise and diet.

Emotional Stability

Nurses bear witness to some of the most distressing and tragic scenes in their patients’ lives. Seeing a child in pain, losing a patient, needing to act quickly when a patient is bleeding dangerously—these would be upsetting experiences for most people. Nurses need to be able to keep working and showing compassion even in the most disturbing circumstances.

Nurses also need to be able to remain objective—that is, not become too emotionally attached to their patients. Balancing compassionate care with professional distance can help nurses avoid burnout.

Commitment to Excellence

Healthcare is a constantly evolving field. Great nurses keep up with the changes, pursuing professional development and advanced education to be able to provide their patients with the best possible evidence-based care. They are also reflective practitioners who think critically about their performance, acknowledging their strengths and looking for ways to shore up their weaknesses.

Start Exploring Nursing Degrees Now!

We hope you’ve learned something from this look at what makes a great nurse. If you’re interested in training for a nursing career path in Florida, Altierus Career College can help. Contact us today to learn more about our Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree program at Altierus in Tampa!

[1] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-6

Train for a career in Nursing

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