8 Important Soft Skills in Nursing

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Although there are various technical skills needed to become a nurse, soft skills in nursing are just as important. Mercer University offers an ABSN curriculum that encourages the development of both technical skills and nursing soft skills. See some of the most helpful nursing soft skills.

nurse kneeling holding hands with child both smiling

The process of becoming a nurse involves many procedural elements, such as earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), studying for the NCLEX-RN® exam, and achieving licensure. While these steps are essential for a nursing career, they are not the only factors that drive nurses to provide high-quality and compassionate care to patients.

Soft skills in nursing, or “power skills,” are the skills and characteristics that go beyond nursing clinical knowledge. These are the personal attributes that drive nurses forward to deliver holistic care that goes beyond administering treatments and addressing symptoms.

At Mercer University, our Second Degree Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track will help you apply your previous bachelor’s degree toward developing your nursing theory foundation and clinical skills while preparing for the NCLEX-RN® exam. Cultivating nursing power skills too can also positively influence patient care practices. This article will explore some essential nursing soft skills and how they can help your career.

Skill 1: Compassion

Compassion is among the most important power skills for anyone working in healthcare. Dealing with medical issues can be uncertain and tense for both patients and loved ones. Nurses are often the first point of contact for patients during some of the most challenging times in their lives. Compassion is essential for providing care that is both effective and supportive. It helps nurses connect with patients on a human level, build trust, and create a sense of calm and comfort.

Nurses have the power to set the tone for compassion in the workplace and in a patient’s care. By exemplifying compassionate behavior and creating a culture of empathy, you can inspire others to do the same.

Skill 2: Communication and Teamwork

Students standing smiling at camera

Aside from building a rapport with patients, communication is also key to operating efficiently with your fellow healthcare professionals. Nurses work as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team and are often the most informed of a patient’s overall condition. When nurses notice subtle changes in a patient’s condition that might indicate the need for an intervention, communicating as efficiently as possible can help that patient get the care they need. This skill is among the most important soft skills in nursing.

Mercer ABSN students practice and hone their communications skills during clinical rotations at some of the top healthcare facilities throughout Metro Atlanta. During clinical rotations, students work with top nurses and medical professionals, preparing to become part of a high-functioning healthcare team as a registered nurse.

Skill 3: Attention to Detail

Nurses are required to stay on top of a large amount of information throughout the course of a day when administering care, so identifying the critical details of a patient’s condition and responding can help nurses make the best possible decisions to help their patients. A detail-oriented mindset helps nurses stay organized and on track, while critical analysis of the details helps them make informed decisions about patient care. These two skills work together to ensure that nurses provide the best possible care to their patients.

Nursing student at bedside with patient

Clinicals are useful for developing technical and soft skills. Read about them here.

Skill 4: Resilience

Nursing is an important career, both in medicine and in society in general. Providing much-needed care to all, nurses rank as the most trusted position in America year after year. Despite this, nursing requires dedication and resilience to remain in the field and consistently provide a high standard of care. Maintaining a positive outlook while providing treatment can make a real difference for patients.

Skill 5: Professionalism

Professionalism in nursing is a crucial trait encompassing a wide range of attitudes and behaviors that create an environment of trust with patients and colleagues. Nurses who embody professionalism demonstrate confidence in the care they provide, as well as responsibility and respect for patients. Exhibiting professionalism can establish a good rapport with the patient, helping them feel more secure in their treatment.

Nurses also work in a collaborative environment with professionals across multiple disciplines, making them vital in coordinating communication across all members of a patient care team. Professionalism in communication can help to foster teamwork and collaboration, which can potentially result in improved patient outcomes.

Skill 6: Critical Thinking

student at deck with books studying

Nurses often provide patient care in complex and time-sensitive situations. In these fast-paced situations, it can be easy to have different factors influence decision-making. Critical thinking is a form of analyzing the situation and then acting. This involves assessing the situation and one’s own assumptions before acting. The keys to critical thinking are thinking logically with high precision and taking the time to clarify to reach the optimal next step.

Skill 7: Stress Management

Just as critical thinking is vital to effectively respond to patient care situations, stress management is key to remaining calm in fast-paced scenarios, maintaining passion and drive, and avoiding burnout. Any field that requires critical decisions may come with a certain amount of pressure, and stress management and stress relief can help nurses decompress and clock in ready to help patients with the same dedication every single shift.

Methods such as relaxation techniques, meditation, exercise, or other hobbies can help relieve stress. Nurses can also reduce stress with their own personal support networks. Prioritizing self-care can help nurses ultimately provide better patient care and contribute to career longevity.

woman sitting at desk looking out window

Nursing schools also look for soft skills in applicants. Read more about that here.

Skill 8: Accountability

In the medical field, nurses carry an important level of accountability for patient care outcomes. Accountability is an important part of being on a team. Taking accountability for actions is the best way to acknowledge and overcome any potential missteps, and it improves communication. Clear communication and accountability while providing care can help foster collaboration with colleagues and lead to a higher level of treatment.

Start Preparing For Your Nursing Career at Mercer University

Soft skills in nursing are some of the most important characteristics you can carry into a nursing career. While some are innate to a person’s character, these skills can also be strengthened and developed in various ways. Throughout Mercer University’s ABSN track, your skills will be tested across a variety of assignments, simulations, and diverse patient care situations. Your Mercer nursing education will help you experience and grow both your technical skills and your power skills. Contact us today to begin the process and speak with an enrollment counselor.