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Nurse Characteristics and Traits

Nurses are often the unsung heroes of the medical profession, providing much of the hands-on care patients receive. If you’re considering nursing as a career, you may be wondering what type of person makes a good nurse. Do you have what it takes?

To be a good nurse, you should be caring, empathetic, and compassionate in order to give your patients the best care. You should also be responsible and detail-oriented—many nursing duties require accurate record keeping, or working with expensive medical equipment or potent drugs. Emotional stability is also quite important since you may often be faced with emergencies, sick people and their distressed families, and other difficult situations. The American Nurses Association also notes that a good nurse is able to act as advocate for patients, and is adaptable and well-educated.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook 2006-07Edition adds, “[Nurses] must be able to direct or supervise others, correctly assess patients’ conditions, and determine when consultation is required.” If you aspire to management-level positions, you should also hone your leadership and negotiation skills.

Sound like a tall order? Don’t worry—good nurses aren’t made overnight. You can develop many of the qualities good nurses have in common. But most importantly, if you’re a caring person interested in helping others, you’re well on your way to becoming a good nurse.


Related Career Resources

Nursing Colleges and Schools

Nurse Career Information

Nursing Outlook & Salary Information

How to Become a Nurse


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