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30 Qualities Of A Good Nurse – Do You Have Them?


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Are you a nurse or nursing student who wants to become the best nurse possible? Perhaps you have asked yourself, “What are the qualities of a good nurse?” Maybe you have wondered what you can do to develop attributes necessary for effective nursing practice. If this sounds like you, you will likely find the 30 essential qualities of a good nurse featured in this article helpful. As you continue reading, learn about these qualities, why they are important, and how to strengthen them in your professional role.


What Is A Good Nurse?


While opinions may vary about the qualities of a good nurse, the definition of a good nurse remains consistent. A good nurse is a nurse who brings their best qualities to the healthcare team and uses them to promote positive patient outcomes and strengthen the nursing profession. Good nurses are diligent about the care they provide and work to find solutions to problems affecting patients, their healthcare teams, and their organization.


Why Is It Important To Be A Good Nurse?


Nursing is a demanding job, but it can also be gratifying. Like other jobs, nursing requires a specific skill set and willingness on the nurse's part to grow and develop daily. Individuals who choose nursing as a career should understand the importance of being a good nurse. Nurses are essential members of the healthcare team. They advocate for patients, families, and the profession. The way nurses present themselves and perform their jobs impacts patient outcomes, nurse-patient relationships, and interprofessional relationships. When nurses develop the qualities of a successful nurse featured in this article, they become vital members of the healthcare team and promote the welfare of patients.



WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL QUALITIES OF A GOOD NURSE?


There are several characteristics of a good nurse. The following are 30 most important qualities nurses can develop and implement in nursing practice.

1. Excellent Communication


What is it:

One of the most essential qualities of a nurse is the ability to be an effective communicator. Communication in nursing includes any measure by which messages are sent and received between patients, their loved ones, nurses, and other members of the interdisciplinary team.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Nurses act as a liaison between patients, families, doctors, and other members of the interdisciplinary team. Excellent communication in nursing is essential in providing quality patient care and improving patient outcomes. When nurses develop and demonstrate good communication skills, they become better equipped to educate patients and their families about illnesses, medications, and treatments. Good communication among members of the healthcare team promotes continuity of care and decreases the risk of errors or omissions in patient care. Conversely, when nurses have poor communication skills, it can lead to devastating consequences. Medication errors, inaccuracies in patient data, and poor patient outcomes can be attributed to poor communication.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

There are several ways to improve communication skills and become a more effective communicator. First, practice active listening. Active listening means giving your undivided attention to others. It involves hearing what they say and comprehending what they may not say (nonverbal communication). To foster an environment conducive to effective communication, nurses must practice cultural awareness, understand body language, and be open-minded and non-judgmental.


2. An Attitude of Advocacy


What is it:

Advocacy is the act of showing support for someone to promote their well-being in a manner that is understood and desired by that person. Advocacy in nursing is so important that the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics mentions precepts directly related to patient advocacy. A few of those provisions include respecting human dignity, protecting patient rights, commitment to the patient, and treating all patients equally.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Advocacy in nursing is vital to quality patient care best nursing practices. When nurses become active in advocacy for their clients, they boost the nursing profession and elevate patient care.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses who wish to strengthen the quality of advocacy in their practices can do so by implementing a few actions. Nurses typically have more direct interaction with patients than any other team member. An excellent way to strengthen advocacy is to keep the healthcare team informed. Nurses can relay patient wishes or requests to other team members to promote effective communication for patient care. There are times when family members or friends may act in ways that do not represent the patient’s wishes or best interests. Nurses who practice advocacy encourage meaningful communication among the patient and family members and help protect their patients from uncomfortable or preventable stressful situations.


3. Empathy


What is it:

Empathy is one of several essential qualities of a nurse. Empathy is the ability to see, understand, and share others' viewpoints without judgment or attempting to change their thoughts and feelings. Nurses demonstrate empathy by connecting with patients and their loved ones and acting on their understanding to enhance patient care and improve patient outcomes.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Empathy is a cornerstone of a patient-centered approach to nursing care and is among the top qualities of a great nurse. Empathy in nursing practice is essential for building a strong connection with patients and families, allowing nurses to focus on the patient's thoughts, feelings, and points of view. Empathetic nurses are instrumental in promoting dialogue with patients about their worries, discomforts, and healthcare preferences.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses who wish to improve their ability to be empathetic can do so by implementing a few behaviors: Listen to patients and show interest in their lives, be kind and respectful, develop cultural awareness and competence, and lead by example. Genuine empathy comes from a willingness to feel and understand others' feelings. The more open you become to listening to your patients and respecting their thoughts and emotions, the easier it will become to demonstrate empathy in the care you provide.


4. Compassion


What is it:

While empathy deals with the ability to take on the perspective of others’ feelings and emotions, compassion encompasses empathy coupled with a strong desire to help others.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Compassion is one of the essential qualities of a great nurse because it inspires action. Compassion is a cognitive understanding of how others feel and is driven by a desire to help ease the pain and suffering of others.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses can strengthen compassion by practicing good manners, showing personal interest in things that are important to patients and their families, and taking the time to think about what patients and their families are experiencing physically and emotionally. Communicating with patients about their lives helps to establish trust. Take note of things that have meaning to your patients. For example, you may notice your patient is wearing a necklace or ring with colored stones. This could represent a mother's ring. Ask about her family. If a teenage patient is wearing a class ring, acknowledge their effort to work hard in school and earn the privilege of wearing the ring. Talk to your patients and their families about their feelings regarding their illness or injury. Allow them to express their feelings without judgment.


5. Attention to Detail


What is it:

Being detail-oriented means paying attention to all aspects or particulars of a project or task. Nurses who are detail-oriented like to have things in order. Precision, organization, accuracy, and neatness are of high priority, and if they feel like these are unbalanced, they often feel uncomfortable.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

The best nurses have a knack for being detail-oriented. They understand the importance of minor details. Nurses who pay close attention to detail are more likely to recognize changes in their patient’s statuses, work efficiently and accurately, and have higher job satisfaction rates.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses can improve the skill of being detail-oriented by implementing a few measures, including the following: Make sure you understand instructions clearly before beginning tasks, break large projects/assignments into smaller jobs, proofread all nurses' notes and physician's orders carefully, and take a break when you need one. When you communicate well with patients and colleagues, it becomes easier to determine what tasks are necessary or should take precedent over others, allowing you to prioritize your work. Breaking large jobs down into smaller, easily achievable tasks helps reduce the risk of leaving out important details.


6. Clinical Reasoning


What is it:

Clinical reasoning is the term used to describe assessment and management of patient issues at the point of care, such as care at the bedside or during a visit to the physician’s office. It is the process through which nurses observe patients, process information they receive, plan and implement interventions, and evaluate outcomes. Clinical reasoning is one of the qualities of a good nurse that demonstrates continuous learning.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Clinical reasoning is instrumental in making timely decisions for patient care. Clinical reasoning in nursing is often the fine line between poor and favorable patient outcomes. Nurses who fail to implement clinical reasoning in their practice are more likely to have lapses in judgment, harming patients.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

There are several ways to strengthen clinical reasoning in nursing. One thing I recommend is using the Clinical Reasoning Cycle. Nurses who use the clinical reasoning cycle typically follow eight steps: Consider the patient situation, collect information/cues, process information, identify issues/problems, establish a goal(s), act, evaluate outcomes, reflect on the process and new learning opportunities. The following are descriptions of how to apply the clinical reasoning cycle.

• Consider the patient situation:
Describe facts, objects, context, and people related to the patient’s current situation.
• Collect information/cues:
Review current information.
Gather new information by performing a new assessment. Recall knowledge associated with the current situation.
• Process Information:
Interpret data and compare normal vs. abnormal. Distinguish relevant vs. irrelevant information; take note of inconsistencies. Discover the relationship between patterns of changes in the patient's status. Make deductions that align with the interpretation of objective and subjective data. Match past clinical experiences with the current situation. Predict an outcome based on the information processed.
• Identify issues/problems:
Analyze and synthesize inferences and facts to make a definitive nursing diagnosis.
• Establish goals:
Describe the desired outcome and establish a time frame by which you expect to see the goal accomplished.
• Act:
Choose between alternatives for nursing intervention and put them in motion.
• Evaluate:
Verify the effectiveness of actions and outcomes.
• Reflect:
Think about what you learned during the process and what, if anything, you could have done differently to improve the patient’s outcome.


7. Prioritization


What is it:

Prioritization is the act of determining the order of patient care or other nursing duties by determining the urgency and/or importance. It is the process of establishing a preferred order by which nurses carry out nursing interventions.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Prioritization is an essential skill for nurses. A nurse's decision about the order of care should be based on what benefits all patients and the healthcare team. When nurses demonstrate the ability to prioritize effectively, it becomes easier to plan and implement nursing actions and supports continuity of care between team members.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses can strengthen their ability to prioritize by asking questions and demonstrating open communication with patients and their teams. Although multitasking is an essential skill all nurses must develop, prioritization requires nurses to look at multiple tasks and organize them by individual importance. When appropriate, nurses may delegate responsibilities to appropriate team members. Remove distractions to promote a focus on each task and complete one task before moving to the next.


8. Critical Thinking


What is it:

Critical thinking is one of the most essential attributes of a nurse. Critical thinking in nursing is the process of solving problems related to patient care and decision-making. It is the ability to collect information, evaluate facts, and develop objective, rational conclusions. Critical thinking is a self-directed way of prioritizing and troubleshooting difficult decisions related to patient care. It requires nurses to think about all aspects of a situation and apply creativity to enhance the desired effect of their choices.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Critical thinking is vital for efficient, safe, and skillful nursing interventions. Although nurses function as part of a larger healthcare delivery team, they also practice autonomously, which requires ownership of their professional decisions.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses can strengthen critical thinking skills by using five components: problem recognition, prioritization, clinical decision making, clinical implementation, and reflection.


9. Flexibility


What is it:

Flexibility is the capacity to accommodate, adapt, modify, or change ideas, thoughts, or behaviors.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Flexibility is an essential quality of nurses. Healthcare is ever-changing, evolving, and expanding. There are changes in technology used to provide patient care, societal changes, and diversity among nurses and those for whom we provide care. Flexibility allows nurses to work through changes or challenges related to their roles, such as patient load and challenging priorities. Flexible nurses offer quality patient-centered care while remaining efficient and professional.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses can demonstrate flexibility in work by proactively implementing a few steps. Focus on personal core values. Be open-minded and optimistic. Develop your skillset and show a willingness to learn new things. Stay calm under pressure and develop a strong support network among team members.


10. Perseverance


What is it:

Perseverance is defined as one's ability to pursue a passion or goal over time and is characterized by a determination to overcome obstacles or setbacks while in pursuit of those goals.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Perseverance makes you want to keep working and giving your all long after others have given up. Perseverance is one of the greatest qualities of a good nurse as it demonstrates one’s ability to fight self-doubt or defeat and work through challenges to provide excellent patient care.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

If you genuinely want to strengthen your perseverance skills as a nurse, the first thing you must do is get rid of the fear of failure. When you fail but decide to get up and try again, you demonstrate an attitude of perseverance. Set short-term attainable goals and think of ways each day to work toward those goals. Remember, several small steps can take you as far as a few large ones, so don't overwhelm yourself by trying to be first at everything. Instead, be consistent. Perseverance means never giving up.


11. Confidence


What is it:

Another of the essential qualities a good nurse should have is confidence. Confidence in nursing is self-assurance in one’s ability to perform in the capacity of a nurse and to provide effective, high-quality patient care.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Confident nurses work with an attitude of professionalism, curiosity, and excitement. Nurses who are confident in their abilities are known for stronger clinical practice, thoughtful leadership, and nursing innovation.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Confidence in nursing practice is an essential characteristic of a good nurse. To improve your confidence as a nurse, the most important thing you can do is build your knowledge. Well-educated nurses feel confident in their ability to practice quality patient care. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Instead of comparing yourself to other nurses, celebrate your differences and help other nurses celebrate theirs.


12. Contextual Perspective


What is it:

Contextual perspective in nursing involves considering all variables that affect a clinical situation. For example, interpersonal dynamics, ethnic influences, and economic considerations can each affect clinical situations and patient outcomes.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Contextual perspective allows nurses to improve evidence-based practices in nursing care without threatening the integrity of the patient’s autonomy, nonmaleficence, and informed consent.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses can strengthen the implementation of contextual perspectives by developing and maintaining nursing competencies. When nurses improve communication, they can promote stronger interpersonal relationships between themselves, patients, and their teams. Recognizing and appreciating cultural differences, socioeconomic considerations, and patient preferences will also help develop perspectives related to individual patient needs.


13. Integrity


What is it:

Integrity is one of the most essential qualities of a nurse. Integrity is defined as the quality of being fair, honest, and having high moral principles.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Nurses often face complex challenges and situations related to patient care and the nursing job. Integrity ensures nurses execute their job responsibilities and uphold their duties to patients, team members, and employers.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses can strengthen integrity by focusing on honest communication, treating patients and peers with respect, and holding themselves and others accountable. Follow through on commitments, even if they are only implied. Show appreciation for the efforts others demonstrate to show integrity, as well.


14. Clinical Intuition


What is it:

Clinical intuition is a process based on nursing knowledge and care experiences. Nurses use clinical intuition to process information about patients, form nursing diagnoses, and develop care plans.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Intuition plays a vital role in the steps of the nursing process as a basis for clinical decision-making that supports safe and effective patient care. Intuition is a validated component of clinical nursing care and expertise and one of the essential attributes of a nurse.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

It is possible to strengthen clinical intuition by implementing a few steps. First, listen to your "gut feeling." Pay attention to what is happening around you. For example, use your observation skills to see, hear, and feel. When your mind is racing in a dozen directions, it becomes difficult to allow your intuition to flourish. Take time to be silent while processing your thoughts and feelings.


15. Emotional Stability


What is it:

Emotional stability is another of the qualities of a good nurse. Emotional stability refers to a person’s ability to remain balanced and stable, even in stressful situations.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

A nurse’s job is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. Each day can bring feelings of surprise, joy, sadness, or frustration. To effectively manage the needs of patients, families, and colleagues, nurses must demonstrate the ability to remain calm and emotionally stable.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Like other qualities of a good nurse, emotional stability can be learned, but it can take time. Reframing expectations, practicing mindfulness, and balancing perspectives are a few ways to help strengthen emotional stability. Practicing patience with oneself is an important aspect of developing emotional stability, as well.


16. A Willingness to Learn


What is it:

Of all the characteristics of a good nurse, the desire and willingness to learn is one of the most crucial. Nurses can show a willingness to learn by actively pursuing new skills or developing clinical practice experiences.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Healthcare is an ever-evolving industry. While nursing programs teach entry-level knowledge and skills, successful nurses understand the importance of keeping up with changes in healthcare.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

The old saying, "knowledge is power," is true. Typically, the more you learn, the more you want to learn. While you may not be able to commit to going back to school for a higher degree, you can learn something new each day. Take advantage of in-services about new equipment, treatments, or medications. Stay engaged with changes in healthcare by joining nursing associations that often offer members continuing education opportunities. Additionally, your employer may offer incentives for nurses to earn certifications or even go back to college.


17. Versatility


What is it:

Versatility is the ability and willingness to adapt to different functions, activities, or responsibilities. Versatile nurses often explore diverse activities and disciplines, which help them develop an open-minded approach in caring for patients from various backgrounds.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

With intentional coordination of care and a give-and-take approach to nursing, versatile nurses are instrumental in helping patients regain their independence. Versatility is one of the qualities of a nurse that can benefit you in any professional setting. Ideally, nurses could plan every moment of their day and carry out duties according to that plan. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for unexpected things to happen each day in nursing. Whether a patient's status begins to deteriorate, an unstable patient comes through your unit, or staff is short-handed when you exercise the quality of versatility, you feel equipped to successfully handle whatever happens during your shift.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

It is normal to find a department or specialty area where you feel most comfortable working. Nurses who wish to strengthen versatility can do so by taking on assignments in different departments, learning new skills, and taking on additional responsibilities.


18. Commitment to Patients and the Profession


What is it:

By definition, commitment means “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause or activity.” Commitment in nursing relates to one's dedication to providing high-quality patient care and promoting the nursing profession. Nurses demonstrate commitment by being thorough and dedicated to improving patient outcomes and furthering the profession.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Commitment is one of the essential qualities of a nurse. Nurses who demonstrate commitment help ensure patients have confidence they will receive the support and care needed to recover or face challenging medical issues.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses can strengthen the quality of commitment by making patients feel each encounter is personal, giving superior patient care, and showing compassion and empathy. It is also possible to strengthen the commitment to the profession by being a loyal employee, promoting the welfare of your organization, and learning new ways to grow and develop skills relevant to your role.


19. Respectfulness


What is it:

While being respectful may not be at the top of the list when it comes to qualities of a good nurse you expect, it is essential for nurses to learn its importance. Successful nurses should strive to show respectfulness to patients and colleagues alike.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Respectfulness promotes a healthy work and care environment in which coworkers feel appreciated, engaged, and committed to service, and patients feel cared for as individuals.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses can create an environment for giving and receiving respect by implementing a few simple behaviors. For example, listen attentively to patients, their families, and your peers. Be encouraging, express gratitude, keep your word, and practice empathy. An atmosphere of respect also recognizes that each member of the healthcare team has a meaningful role in the care of patients and shows appreciation for those roles.


20. Assertiveness


What is it:

Assertiveness is a person's ability to express feelings and thoughts and expect those thoughts and feelings to be acknowledged and respected. It is essential for nurses to realize there is a difference between aggressiveness and assertiveness. Aggressiveness is a type of behavior that is often manipulative and wants to be right or win, even at the expense of others. Assertiveness, on the other hand, is based on mutual respect. It seeks solutions that are fair and just. In nursing, assertiveness values what is best for the patient and healthcare team and is demonstrated by a willingness to stand up for what is right.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Being assertive may feel uncomfortable at times, but it has several benefits. Assertive nurses quickly earn the respect of patients and family members for whom they advocate. Team members who feel well represented by nurses who are willing to be assertive often feel less stress and become eager to work together more cooperatively. Lastly, when nurses practice assertiveness, it improves professional and nurse-patient relationships, which leads to improved patient outcomes.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses can strengthen the quality of assertiveness by practicing effective communication skills. When nurses learn to express themselves with confidence and passion for their cause, they demonstrate assertiveness instead of aggression.


21. Dependability


What is it:

Dependability is one of the most important qualities of a good nurse. It means consistently doing your job and doing it well. Although dependability may seem like a simple concept, for nurses, it takes skill. Dependability in nursing requires balancing the needs of patients, coworkers, employers, and members of the interdisciplinary team.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Patients depend on nurses to show up for work and do their jobs. Team members count on one another to do their part in providing care and following through. In a busy hospital or healthcare facility, when a nurse fails to do her job, it can have a negative impact on patient care as well as the cohesiveness of the healthcare team.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

The best way to strengthen dependability is to be proactive about your job responsibilities. For example, show up to work on time and prepared to work. Avoid calling off work unless it is unavoidable, such as a family emergency or personal illness. Make yourself available to managers, supervisors, team members, your patients, and their families. Follow through on work that is assigned to you and keep an open line of communication with patients and team members.


22. Resourcefulness


What is it:

Resourcefulness is the ability of someone to find clever ways to overcome challenges or difficulties. In nursing, resourcefulness involves using critical thinking skills to address patient problems and provide quality, effective patient care.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Time is often of the essence in patient care. Resourceful nurses make the most of the time they have for providing care to patients and find ways that are most beneficial to patient outcomes.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses who wish to strengthen the quality of resourcefulness can do so by proactively seeking information and measures devoted to improving the efficiency of patient care, patient satisfaction, and outcomes. Practice self-evaluation and seek ways to improve. Additionally, resourceful nurses value the input of more experienced nurses and learn from those experiences to help them grow and develop.


23. Leadership


What is it:

Leadership is simply defined as the “state or position of being a leader." However, leadership in nursing is not reserved for those in management or administrative positions only. All nurses can, and should, demonstrate leadership qualities. Leadership is truly one of the vital characteristics of a good nurse.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Nurses who take the initiative for getting things done, motivate others, and act as liaisons between patients and staff are excellent examples of leadership in nursing. When nurses demonstrate leadership qualities, they take pride in the quality of their work and the care they provide. They create an atmosphere where respect for coworkers becomes common, and patient outcomes are significantly improved.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses can strengthen their leadership qualities by becoming the nurse they would want as a team member. When nurses demonstrate hard work, integrity, and compassion, other nurses see that behavior and tend to follow that example.


24. Time Management


What is it:

Time management is the process of planning and controlling the amount of time we spend on specific activities. Effective time management is a skill all nurses should strive to develop.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Nurses often have several patients with different levels of illness or injury. The nature of a nurse's job is busy, often stressful, and involves many people and responsibilities competing for priority. When nurses exercise time management skills, they can effectively provide patient care and complete duties on time, positively impacting patient outcomes.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Time management is a learned behavior. A few steps can help increase your time management skills significantly in a short amount of time. For example, prioritize patient care and plan your day according to those priorities. Start tasks early, when possible. Communicate with other team members. Communication helps everyone stay in the loop about what has been done for patients and what remains to be done. Organize your workspace. Focus on one task at a time. Lastly, reinforce good habits daily.


25. Emotional Intelligence


What is it:

Emotional intelligence is described as the ability to recognize and handle one's own emotions and the emotions of others. It involves self-monitoring, acknowledging feelings, and realizing how emotions impact relations.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Emotional intelligence could very well be a nurse’s most valuable trait. It includes having the ability to identify emotions in others and one’s self, managing emotions, and using emotions to assist with reasoning. Studies indicate a connection between emotional intelligence and favorable patient outcomes. These outcomes include patient satisfaction, developing therapeutic relationships, and improved clinical outcomes.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Developing and strengthening emotional intelligence is like learning a new skill. A nurse can enhance emotional intelligence by practicing self-reflection and looking for feedback from others about our behavior. A few tips to help strengthen emotional intelligence include learning to respond to conflict instead of reacting to it. For instance, it is often easy to have an emotional outburst or feelings of frustration or anger when conflicts arise. Emotionally intelligent nurses do not make impulsive decisions that can escalate conflict or problems. Instead, they stay calm and think of ways to calm stressful situations. Keep a positive attitude, set goals, and maintain an attitude of resilience when challenges arise. Learn to accept critique from others and show empathy.


26. Mentorship


What is it:

The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses defines mentorship as "a reciprocal and collaborative learning relationship between individuals with mutual goals and accountability for the outcomes and success of relationships." Mentorship in nursing is the act of experienced nurses sharing knowledge and skills development with less experienced nurses.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Mentorship is an important quality in nurses. Mentors provide guidance, offer emotional support, help build confidence in others, and teach skills necessary to become successful nurses. Nurse mentors help new nurses develop professional networks, which is instrumental in career advancement.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurse mentors must demonstrate strong motivation and excellent work ethic. If you want to become a mentor and strengthen the quality of mentorship you provide, one of the most important things you can do is become a proactive listener. Ask questions of the person you are mentoring and listen to what they say. Keep a positive attitude about work, your employer, and the patients in your care. Keep in mind the nurses you mentor will naturally follow your example. Mentorship requires you to be the kind of nurse you want others to become.


27. Goal-Oriented


What is it:

The nursing process is a patient-focused, goal-oriented approach to care. Objectives, expected outcomes, and goals are established at the onset of each patient encounter.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Goal-oriented nurses have long-term vision coupled with short-term motivation. Being goal-oriented allows nurses to focus on time and resource management, prioritization, and acquisition of knowledge, which benefits patients, nurses, and the healthcare industry. A goal-directed approach to patient care enhances nurse-patient relationships, which increases the likelihood of patient compliance to therapeutic plans.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Being goal-oriented often requires intentional effort. You can strengthen this quality by following a few steps. First, be specific about the things you want to accomplish. For example, instead of saying you want to earn a master's degree (which is a great goal, by the way), specify small goals that will lead you to accomplish the bigger goal of earning a master's degree. Measure your progress and celebrate each goal you achieve. Goals should be challenging, as this keeps you motivated. However, they must also be attainable. Give yourself time to accomplish goals. Set deadlines and be realistic about each goal you want to achieve. The more you practice being goal-oriented, the easier it will become to continue a path of goal-directed approaches.


28. Veracity


What is it:

The principle of veracity, is also known as truth-telling or honesty, is one of the essential qualities of a nurse who is successful. Veracity in nursing requires nurses to be honest with their interactions with patients, families, and team members.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Veracity helps establish trusting relationships between nurses, patients, and team members. Patients who feel they can trust their nurses are more likely to be open about their concerns. They are also more likely to report symptoms which helps nurses know how patients are responding to treatment and can indicate any adverse responses or deterioration in status. When nurses practice veracity, it creates an atmosphere of trust and confidence among team members.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

The old saying, "Practice makes perfect," is an example of strengthening veracity. Strengthening veracity requires intentional truth-telling. Veracity in nursing means being honest with patients, families, and your team. For example, if you have a patient starting chemotherapy and concerned about how it will make her feel, be honest. Remember to be tactful but be honest.


29. Endurance


What is it:

Endurance is the ability to sustain an activity over a period of time. In nursing, endurance applies to both physical and mental abilities.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

Nursing is a demanding job and requires endurance to be successful. There may be days when you spend hours on your feet caring for patients. As rewarding as nursing can be, the mental strain of caring for several patients with varying degrees of illness can take its toll. When nurses develop a strong sense of endurance, it becomes possible to shoulder responsibilities associated with the job and decrease the chances of physical and emotional burnout.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Nurses can strengthen endurance both physically and mentally. One key to improving mental endurance is to think positively. When you feel overwhelmed, use visualization to imagine yourself in a stress-free environment. Embrace setbacks as opportunities to improve your situation. Physical endurance can be strengthened by taking care of your health. Eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of rest, and exercise frequently.


30. Practice Self-Care


What is it:

While self-care may not be the first thing you think of when you think of qualities of a good nurse, it is an essential trait that affects everyone. According to the World Health Organization, self-care is “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider." Self-care includes every measure a person can implement to become and remain physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. It includes practicing personal hygiene and good nutrition, seeking medical care when needed, and avoiding stress.

Why is this Quality Important for a Good Nurse:

A simple explanation about why self-care is an important quality for a nurse is that it is difficult, and often impossible, to provide effective patient care if you cannot take care of yourself first. Nurses who practice self-care are more likely to handle the stresses associated with work and personal life.

How to Strengthen this Quality:

Perhaps the most significant step in strengthening the quality of self-care is to realize that your health and well-being are essential. Nurses, by nature, are givers. While being a giver is not a bad quality, we must understand and appreciate the value of our well-being. Some tips to help strengthen your self-care ability include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep. Practice good personal hygiene. Additionally, self-care includes doing things you enjoy. For example, visit with friends and family, devote time to a hobby, and find ways to relax, such as learning yoga, meditation, taking a bubble bath, or going for a leisurely walk.



What To Do If You Do Not Have The Qualities That Make A Good Nurse?


If you are concerned that you do not have the qualities that make a good nurse, do not give up. Everyone has the power to make changes and become better. You can learn to develop the essential traits of a nurse who is successful.

The first thing to remember is that it is okay to want to become different. Recognize the differences between who you are now and who you want to become.

Make a list of things you want to accomplish personally and professionally. When you identify areas you want to improve or change, take action. Avoid making excuses; instead, commit to making changes.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Nurses are unique, and when you embrace the things that make you unique, you can build upon those qualities and become a better nurse.

Surround yourself with mentors who have the qualities you want to develop in yourself. Learn from them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek advice. When nurses work together to help one another grow and develop, the profession is strengthened.


BONUS! 10 Bad Qualities A Good Nurse Can Never Have


Like there are many good qualities of a nurse, there are also qualities that have a negative impact on nurses, their patients, the healthcare team, and the profession. The following are ten bad qualities nurses should avoid.

1. Not taking ownership of oneself:

Successful nurses understand the importance of taking personal responsibility for their actions. Lack of willingness to accept ownership for one’s behavior, actions, and attitude can be detrimental to a nurse’s reputation and can impact professional relationships negatively.

2. Job hopping:

Employers seek to hire nurses who represent stability. While there are some instances when changing jobs is a good decision, such as being offered a promotion or higher wages somewhere else or the chance to work in a preferred specialty area, it is prudent for nurses to consider changes in jobs carefully. When potential employers look at resumes and check references, they carefully observe where you worked and for how long. They will ask why you left a previous job and determine if your reasons for changing jobs were good or if they demonstrate a lack of stability and dedication.

3. Avoiding work assignments:

When nurses fail to perform their job duties, it puts patients at risk for injury. Nurses who shirk their responsibilities create stress and undue workload to fall on their team members. Successful nurses acknowledge the importance of carrying their weight when it comes to patient care.

4. Lack of empathy:

Nurses who lack empathy have difficulty establishing solid connections with patients. When nurses act without empathy, they disregard the thoughts and feelings of patients, their families, and their coworkers. Lack of empathy in nursing can have a profound negative impact on relationships and patient outcomes.

5. Beware of a Gossiper.

Nurses should be loyal to their team and their patients. Although some situations on the job can be challenging, nurses should practice discretion and implement tactful problem-solving measures. Gossiping about patients, their loved ones, or other nurses demonstrates poor character. It affects nurse-patient and interprofessional relationships and hinders effective, team-based approaches to nursing care.

6. Not being a “team player”:

Effective nursing takes teamwork. Nurses who are unwilling to work with their team cause disruptions in patient care which negatively impacts patient outcomes and professional relationships.

7. Ignoring protocols:

Protocols in nursing provide a systematic, evidence-based approach to nursing care. They ensure patient safety and promote positive outcomes. Nurses who ignore protocols put patients, their team, and their organizations at risk.

8. Dishonesty:

Patients, families, and coworkers rely on nurses to be honest in all aspects of their nursing role. Dishonesty in nursing undermines the profession at its core. It sows discord among coworkers and hinders healthy nurse-patient relationships. Nurses who want to be successful should make honesty a priority in their nursing practice.

9. A sense of entitlement:

It is necessary to understand there is a difference between expecting respect for your role and having a sense of entitlement. Nurses who feel overly entitled want to have things their way, feel their opinions are more important than their patients or team members, and expect others to accommodate their every whim.

10. Disinterest in learning:

The field of medicine is constantly changing. To be effective nurses, it is necessary to have an attitude geared towards learning and growing. Nurses who lack the desire to learn or seem disinterested in improving their skills eventually find their careers become stagnant.


My Final Thoughts


When nurses ask, "What are the qualities of a good nurse?" it shows a desire to do and become better. Everyone is capable of growth and change. Nurses who desire to be effective caregivers can implement measures to improve good qualities. The 30 essential qualities of a good nurse featured in this article can help nurses of all experience levels become stronger, more effective nurses who impact patient outcomes and the nursing profession significantly.


Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).