The Essential Characteristics of a Nurse

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In the healthcare environment, a patient’s mental outlook can be a strong indicator of how quickly he or she can physically recover. The personality of the nursing staff and the quality of care that a patient receives can heavily influence their mental state. It is essential for a nurse to exemplify compassion and sensitivity to all patients. For this reason, nurses are the cornerstone of healthcare systems, and their role is characterized by regular contact with patients. They represent a valuable resource and they are usually the first point of contact in healthcare facilities.

The Elements of Caring

Compassion plays a huge role in nursing practice. The value statements of the healthcare profession highlight respect, compassion, and care. The lack of compassion has a negative impact on patients, particularly the elderly and those suffering from terminal illnesses. Studies have shown that factors, such as staffing levels, skill mix, and patient dependency often affect the level of compassion shown by nurses.

Working environments that are less than ideal can also affect the quality of care provided to patients by nursing staff. Compassionate care is expressed more effectively with actions than words.

In recent years, policymakers in the health sector have started paying a lot of attention to compassion. Ultimately, this is aimed at delivering care with decency and humanity. For this reason, nurses should aim to give patients the same level of care as they would wish for their loved ones. For highly motivated healthcare staff, such a desire is the hallmark of excellence in nursing.

The absence or presence of compassion usually makes a lasting impression on both patients and their relatives. It helps shape perceptions around quality of care in a given hospital or other healthcare facilities. Improving the experience of care provides the desired value for families and patients.

Some studies have shown that compassion impacts the effectiveness of treatment. Patients attended by a compassionate nurse tend to share more information about symptoms and concerns. In turn, this allows the practitioner to make an accurate diagnosis.

The Elements Of Compassion

Compassion requires staff to give something in the form of kind acts or words. However, personal factors, fatigue, or organizational circumstances can hamper the quality of care. These factors create an unwanted gap between the practitioner’s intentions and capabilities. The absence of compassion often attracts outrage from the media, the public, or civic organizations.

Compassion begins with basic care, such as ensuring that patients are well-fed, comfortable, helped to the toilet and that pain is managed. In addition, it also encompasses respect, empathy, and recognizes the uniqueness of an individual. It entails real dialogue on a human-to-human basis than practitioner to the patient.

Compassionate nurses are honest and do not practice stereotyping but understand and appreciate differences.

Qualities Of A Successful Nurse

Good nurses are excellent communicators with both patients and colleagues. Effective communication contributes to positive patient outcomes. As the first point of contact, nurses help uplift spirits and calm nerves. They can also ensure that patients understand doctors’ instructions and expectations.

The ability to explain complex information in an easy to understand manner is a key skill. Patients typically seek clarity and speaking eloquently makes it easier for patients to grasp the information. Clarity allows patients to follow instructions properly, thus improving the chances of positive medical outcomes.

Patients must understand all risks, dosages, and complications to make well-informed decisions. The most important part is that the nursing staff should strive to make patients feel comfortable. Effective nurses are reliable and responsible. They complete all their tasks accurately, diligently, and demonstrate attention to detail. The process of assessing and treating patients has little room for error. A mistake has the potential to put patients’ lives at risk.

The profession requires practitioners to develop leadership skills. This enables staff to cope with the nature of responsibilities placed upon them. It is common for nurses to work long hours, including during weekends and holidays.

Patience is a key quality in this field. It allows professionals to stay calm even under pressure. Nurses are trained to avoid confrontation even when dealing with irate patients or colleagues. Staying calm provides a sure-fire way to handle distressing situations professionally.

The profession can be highly rewarding for individuals who genuinely care about people, including the elderly and children. Providing emotional support and encouragement allows patients to feel uplifted and stay positive.

Maximizing The Impact Of Quality Care

Studies have revealed that gaps in healthcare infrastructure and inefficient work processes can lead to stress for nursing staff. In turn, this drastically reduces the time spent in direct patient care. These factors are also known to cause nurse burnout, which may contribute to poor recruitment and retention of qualified staff.

On another level, lower nurse-patient ratios can translate to an increase in mortality. This demonstrates that nurse staffing and clinical efficiency play a pivotal role when it comes to patient safety. Meanwhile, innovative healthcare facility design and optimized work processes help improve recruitment and staff retention.

Additionally, the optimization contributes significantly to patient safety, boost the efficiency of service delivery as well as prevent reimbursement penalties.

Coping With Stress

The nursing field can be emotionally draining at times, which causes stress. A combination of staffing challenges, irate patients, conflicts with colleagues, and long hours can lead to burnout. In more severe cases, it can translate to job dissatisfaction.

Stress management tools are an absolute necessity in clinical settings. At times forces combine to create an unbearable situation for nursing staff. Communication provides a practical solution for practitioners to cope with different types of workplace challenges. Experts agree that stress is unavoidable in healthcare facilities but it is manageable.

When working in an environment where communication is clear, nurses handle their roles more confidently. They can understand the plan of care and may not experience any stress. Additionally, staying organized has been proven to reduce stress in the workplace. Making an effort to set priorities in a day allows practitioners to formulate effective plans based on achievable targets.

Enlisting the help of an experienced mentor is a viable way to not only enhance self-development but also deal with stressful situations. A mentor can give a practitioner a chance to vent or express concerns. Keeping frustrations to oneself can deepen the crisis. Managing stress helps avoid burnout. Nursing staff capable of managing stressful situations and stay in control at all times have significantly better chances of advancing into leadership positions.

About Duquesne University’s Online MSN Program

Duquesne University’s MSN degree program prepares RNs for careers in leadership and to set new standards of care. The university’s online MSN and Post-Master’s Certificate degree programs allow nurses to continue their careers and personal lives while earning an advanced education. The school offers programs in Family (Individual Across a Life Span) Nurse Practitioner, Forensic Nursing and Nursing Education and Faculty Role.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Duquesne University’s Online Master of Science in Nursing degree program.

Characteristics of Nursing Infographic

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