10 Soft Skills in Nursing

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These soft skills in nursing are key for helping you provide the best care to your patients once you graduate from nursing school. Nursing soft skills include compassion, leadership, collaboration, problem-solving, attention to detail, lifelong learning, determination, time management, respect and enthusiasm.

Averett ABSN student standing outside

As a prospective nurse, you may wonder what skills you’ll need. What soft skills in nursing can help you raise your game and become the best possible nurse for your patients? Here we’ll discuss several nursing soft skills, so you know exactly where to focus your energy as you set out to excel in nursing.

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Averett University is committed to developing nursing leaders with the skills and knowledge to provide exemplary patient care.

These 10 soft skills in nursing will help you raise your game and become a skilled and caring nurse.

1. Compassion

Any list of soft skills for nurses would not be complete without compassion. The central role of nursing is caring for others, and having a heart aligned with that purpose is essential. Nurses often enter the field because they find joy when supporting people in need.

As you work with patients during nursing school clinical rotations, practice compassion by listening. Sit down and take time to understand their struggles. As you hear patients share their stories, your heart will open, and you’ll be more able to provide empathy and compassion in their time of need.

2. Collaboration

Health care is a team-focused profession. There’s not a single health care scenario where patients don’t rely on their whole care team. As a nurse, you perform a vital function for patients and work with care providers who have equally important roles, including doctors, therapists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and others.

As a nurse, you’ll collaborate with other nurses and care providers daily. Practice working with your peers to accomplish goals during your nursing labs and clinical rotations. Delegate tasks and use each other’s strengths to provide the best care to your patients. Get in the habit of helping your peers, for helping each other is part of the nursing culture.

nurses by patient bed helping patient

Learn more about the value of teamwork in nursing.

3. Attention to Detail

Nurses complete many precise, meticulous tasks each day. Whether measuring and administering medications, managing ventilator settings or inputting data into electronic medical records, you need a high level of accuracy.

You also need to be attentive to small changes in your patients. Small differences in vitals or patient behavior can often be precursors to larger issues, so notice these changes and act accordingly. Patients rely on nurses to pay close attention to the details. During nursing school clinicals, practice being attentive and accurate when completing tasks and caring for patients.

4. Respect

As a nurse, you’ll have the opportunity to treat people of all different backgrounds. Sensitivity and understanding of people’s cultural, religious and economic differences and preferences are paramount when building trust with your patients. You should strive to respect your patients, peers and coworkers. The best nurses show respect by recognizing the value of every person, having curiosity about differences and listening to everyone’s unique story.

5. Problem-Solving

Averett nursing student working with sim manikin

In nursing, it’s essential to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Health care gives rise to challenging problems, and it’s your job to contribute to solutions. Whether determining how to help a patient gain strength after surgery or deciding on the best strategies to prevent pressure ulcers in a bedridden patient, you’ll need to thoughtfully apply your knowledge.

6. Time Management

One thing you can count on is that you will seldom be bored as a nurse. Nurses are busy people. With all the responsibilities you’ll have as a nurse, time management skills are key to ensuring your patients receive care and you minimize stress on yourself.

Nurses are acutely aware of timing because one patient may need treatment every four hours, another needs medications every three hours, and another needs to be adjusted in bed every two hours. Keeping track of your schedule can be challenging at first, but you will learn. As you go through clinical rotations, observe the other nurses and add their time-management strategies to your arsenal of skills.

Averett nursing student working with sim manikin

Wondering how to succeed in nursing school clinical rotations? Here are 8 nursing clinical tips for you.

7. Leadership

Leading is not just for managers. Every nurse that walks the halls of a hospital or clinic needs leadership skills. You’ll regularly lead others as a nurse, such as when guiding a patient through a challenging procedure, training a newly hired nurse or showing another team member how to perform a skill.

To develop leadership skills, observe the leaders around you and take note of their strategies and attitudes. Remember that effective leaders support and encourage their team while staying focused on the mission at hand.

8. Lifelong Learning

Nursing and health care are constantly in flux. As innovations emerge and science progresses, the techniques you use will change. The best nurses refuse to stay stagnant but grow and evolve throughout their careers.

Averett ABSN student using laptop

Commit to a practice of lifelong learning. Read articles, listen to podcasts and complete continuing education to ensure you stay at the top of your game. Your patients rely on you to be an expert, and that takes intentional work.

9. Determination

The best nurses are determined to do the great work of healing and supporting patients. Becoming a nurse is challenging, and it takes countless hours of studying. Especially during an accelerated program like Averett’s ABSN program, you’ll be responsible for learning a lot of material quickly.

Nurse wearing blue scrubs standing outside

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You’ll balance online coursework with in-person experiences, including skills and simulation labs and clinical rotations. Once you graduate, you’ll need the determination to study for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and pass it to obtain your nursing license. The best nurses know what they want in their careers and lives and are willing to work to achieve their goals.

10. Enthusiasm

Amid stressful, busy days, the best nurses remain positive and enthusiastic about their work. They know why they chose nursing and are passionate about making a difference in people’s lives every day through their care.

You can practice enthusiasm by considering what you’re grateful for and remembering your purpose. When you focus on the blessings you’ve received and how you’re contributing to the world, positivity flows naturally.

How Are Soft and Hard Skills Different? Why Do Soft Skills Matter?

Before we conclude this list of soft skills for nurses, it’s important to recognize how they differ from hard skills. Hard skills for nurses are those with a technical component, such as placing an IV line or administering medications.

While technical skills are important for nurses, the best nurses also understand the art of nursing. Not only do you need to know how to treat patients, but you also need to gracefully manage your responsibilities while showing your patients that you care. That’s the value of mastering these soft skills in nursing.

Averett nursing student sitting and smiling

Begin Your Nursing Path at Averett!

As you can see, nursing soft skills can transform your career potential. Averett will help you develop these skills during the Accelerated BSN program, a 16-month curriculum for students with at least 60 non-nursing college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. During clinical rotations within Norfolk, Virginia, you’ll begin practicing these essential soft skills as well as the necessary technical skills in the patient care setting.

If you want to become a nurse quickly, Averett’s ABSN will get you there. With three start dates per year, you can begin when it works for you. Contact our admissions counselors today by completing our online form. You have what it takes to make a difference as a nurse!