12 of the Top Soft Skills in Nursing

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Soft skills in nursing are vital to developing as an excellent nurse. Nurse soft skills deal with the interpersonal qualities that are gained through experience as opposed to hard skills gained through learning. Here are 12 nursing soft skills that can improve your outcomes as a nurse.

Felician nursing student using a stethoscope

Soft skills in nursing are an often overlooked but highly valuable part of what it takes to be a nurse. They differ from hard skills in a few ways. While hard skills are quantifiable and are developed through education, soft skills are qualitative and interpersonal and are largely developed through personality and life experience. Learning in a hands-on, supportive environment like Felician University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program can help you reflect on and hone your nursing soft skills while providing a comprehensive nursing education in 16 to 18 months.

Nursing soft skills apply to many aspects of your role as a nurse, so it is essential that you learn and develop them. Read on to discover 12 soft skills for nursing and how they will help you in your profession.

1. Empathy

Nurses can form connections with patients in a unique way from other medical professionals. Whether this means a little extra kindness during nighttime meds or being the one to care for a patient in their final days, nurses form unique relationships with the ones they treat. Empathy is central to your role as a nurse and is key to providing patients with the best care possible.

2. Communication

Nurses work with patients and their families on a daily basis. As such, nurses must be effective communicators as they share treatment plans and details about the health of their patients. They must also be excellent listeners, attentive to patients’ needs and concerns. Part of a nurse’s role is communicating with other professionals in the workplace, whether about moment-to-moment patient care or otherwise. Nurses can be effective communicators by speaking with respect and kindness and by being visibly attentive when listening.

3. Adaptability

Working as a nurse can often feel chaotic and overwhelming. Things are constantly changing, patients come in and out of the hospital or office every day, and their health can change in an instant. Because of this, nurses must be highly adaptable. While this can be difficult, it is necessary to succeed in your nursing career. This might mean being flexible in your schedule throughout the workday or maintaining composure as you face unexpected trials.

Felician nursing student working with simulation manikin

4. Teamwork

It should come as no surprise that medical environments operate with high levels of teamwork. Nurses, doctors, and other clinicians depend on one another for systems to run smoothly and ensure positive patient outcomes. This makes teamwork a high-value soft skill in nursing. To showcase teamwork in a clinical nursing environment, always be willing to ask for help, invite the opinions of others, and be willing to lend a hand to other healthcare professionals when needed.

5. Accountability

A skill that goes hand-in-hand with teamwork is accountability. Nurses work in high-stakes environments where lives can be on the line. The importance of the nursing role makes accountability vital to being a successful nurse. You should always be willing to learn as a professional, accepting input from those around you. An accountable nurse has integrity and knows when they have room for improvement.

6. Networking

Learning to network is a must if you have aspirations in or beyond the world of nursing. Networking helps you build connections in the field that will help you grow your skills and eventually pursue greater levels of education and employment.

smiling nurse looking at child patient

To learn more about how to move up in your nursing career, here are 7 nursing leadership qualities.

7. Professionalism

Nurses are often the face that patients see first and most often when entering a hospital or other medical facility. The impression nurses give reflects the credibility of the establishment but, more importantly, determines the patient’s overall experience. Nurses who carry themselves with professionalism, with patients and coworkers alike, uphold the integrity of the workplace and the medical field in general. Nurses who exemplify professionalism are respectful and precise in their manner of speaking, are knowledgeable, and carry themselves with confidence.

8. Positive Attitude

As a nurse, finding a balance between professionalism and a positive attitude can be challenging, but the two are not mutually exclusive. Nurses should be aware of the situation and what it calls for in terms of their attitude, and they should carry positivity into their interactions with patients. Many patients in a clinical setting are experiencing a difficult or painful time in their lives, and being a ray of light can cut through the darkness.

9. Personal Initiative

The ability to take personal initiative is vital for any skilled nurse. This means taking the initiative in the workplace and being a powerful advocate. Nurses can advocate for patients in the most personal way possible since they spend so much time with patients. Remember to advocate for yourself as well, and speak up when your voice needs to be heard.

Felician ABSN student using laptop at desk

10. Critical thinking

Critical thinking and problem-solving are necessary skills to tackle the daily challenges that nurses experience. Medical issues are often quite nuanced, complicated, and emotional. Nurses must step in and solve those issues with a critical mindset to the best of their knowledge and abilities. Thinking critically in response to new symptoms or patient care scenarios directly affects patient outcomes for the better.

11. Stress Management

The working environment for nurses is highly stressful. It is a high-stakes job where you may encounter emergencies anytime during the day. This constant high-stress level can damage the body and mind over time. Stress management is a vital soft skill for anyone who hopes to have a sustainable long-term career. Stress management can look different for everyone, but it is crucial to have an outlet for tension throughout your week and create healthy habits to care for your body and mind.

Nursing student working on laptop and taking notes

You will need to employ stress management skills in nursing school as well. If you are curious about the difficulty level of nursing school, here are 9 things you should know.

12. Resilience

It is no secret that nursing is hard work. Nurses work long hours that can be physically draining. However, life as a nurse can be emotionally draining too. On any given day, you may find yourself dealing with serious situations and comforting patients and families. As such, it is an important nurse soft skill to be resilient. Reflect on where to set up boundaries in your life and try to develop healthy coping mechanisms. This will help prevent burnout and preserve your mental state as a nurse.

How Felician University Can Help

Soft skills in nursing are essential as you develop into a fully equipped nursing professional. For prospective nurses, this means finding a school that helps develop not only hard skills but soft skills as well. If this is a priority for you, Felician might be a perfect fit. Our rigorous ABSN program has both hybrid and on-ground options that will prepare you for your future career and help you develop those soft skills in nursing before you secure your first job.

Contact us today to learn how Felician University’s ABSN program can prepare you to be an excellent nurse.