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Top 10 Skills for a Successful Nursing Career

Healthcare depends on collaborative work. When medical professionals come together as a team, it helps streamline the workload and achieve excellent patient outcomes. As a nurse, you are an integral part of this elaborate system. Your knowledge and understanding of the medical industry connect patients to doctors and other healthcare services. From communication to leadership qualities, each trait you own lifts your position as a healthcare provider into a certified expert.

Additionally, your skills also help you build a strong career for yourself. The more talented and dependable you are, the more in demand you remain. Here are the top ten skills you need to prosper as a nurse:

  • Comprehensive Approach To Patient Care

Patients who come in for a checkup deserve the highest standard of care. As a nurse, you are the first healthcare expert they meet after getting admitted. If you are highly qualified, you are in an excellent position to not only record symptoms but identify them, assist in devising a treatment route, and guide the patient towards wellness. So if you are a licensed practical nurse (LPN), you assist doctors and nurses, but to showcase your expertise and work directly with patients, you must be a registered nurse. By opting for the fastest LPN to RN program, you can achieve your new licensing in no time and work more closely with patients. This involves understanding the ethical protocols of patient care, updating their electronic health records, balancing different cases, and having no trouble carrying out a routine assessment.

  • Monitoring Vital Signs and Providing CPR

Vital signs include checking the heart rate by counting the pulse for sixty seconds, checking the patient’s breathing rate by listening to the lungs, and examining the temperature with a thermometer or comparing their skin’s temperature against yours. Suppose a patient is unresponsive; You may need to perform CPR. This includes pumping the chest to restart the heart, providing mouth-to-mouth according to the latest first aid guidelines, and using defibrillators to jumpstart the heart. Then, you need to keep at it until the patient comes around and shows signs of responding to you.

  • Educating The Patient and The Family

Patients and their families must be on the same page as you to facilitate wellness. You cannot keep the family out of the loop regarding the patient’s condition. If the disease is terminal or has a small window of success, inform them. Likewise, expect the family to ask questions, push for alternate routes, or pressure you to keep the treatment going. In such cases, you must erect boundaries and help the family cope with the situation. Both the patient and their family should know the appropriate aftercare techniques. Whether a patient has to start new medication, needs rest after surgery, or requires help cleaning their wounds, cover all bases. This prevents readmission and ensures patients stay healthy and under adequate care as they recover at home.

  • Emphasis On Patient Safety

Patient safety includes protecting them from contracting an illness and a potential injury at the hospital. It also ensures that no malpractice occurs when the patient is under a doctor’s care, resulting in a permanent disability or even death. Unfortunately, more than 80,000 cases of medical malpractice are filed yearly. So you need to play your part in curtailing this number. Make sure you uphold high standards of hygiene, from the cleanliness of the patient’s room to the equipment you use on them. Your hands also need to be sterilized, and never approach a patient with protective gear such as gloves or a face mask—Double-check with the patient and the attending doctor on the diagnosis, medicine to administer, and treatment route. Patients under strong medication should never be left unsupervised or allowed to go anywhere until the effects of the drug wear off.

  • Close Attention To Details

All it takes is one drop of the wrong medication to trigger an intense reaction in the patient. So always ensure the details on the chart are accurate, and the right medicine from the suitable vial gets administered on time. Every pill and liquid medication gets stored according to the prescribed temperature. The patient’s allergies should be at your fingertips. If you see the vital signs fluctuating, a body part changing color, or the patient subtly showing signs of adversely, immediately spring into action.

  • Conflict Resolution

When it comes to patients, you can listen to their complaints but inform them thoroughly that you are qualified enough to pass judgments while helping them comprehend the magnitude of their illness. If your colleagues disagree with how you handle a case, communicate your intentions, highlight why you chose this route, and if you can pinpoint where your coworker may be on the wrong path, correct them gently. Similarly, don’t let doctors pull a hierarchical status on you. Remind them you are both under oath, and the patient’s well-being comes over being right and winning an argument.

  • A Strong Work Ethic

You must show up to your shift on time, wear freshly washed scrubs, and do all your daily relevant tasks. If you make a mistake, show accountability and ownership for your mishaps. Pull back and let your colleagues handle it when you cannot focus on the case. Before you sign off from work, inform the nurse taking over for you, what they need to do, and what tasks you have already completed. Your documentation should always be accurate and complete according to the case’s developments.

  • Uphold Patient Confidentiality

A patient’s details are not gossip material, nor is it information you can discuss openly. The cases that come under you must get handled with great care. Don’t let anyone access your database; only share details with the doctor in charge of the patient. It is also illegal to discuss the patient with a family member or friend who has nothing to do with the healthcare sector. When you upload a patient’s file, ensure it is password protected and requires your authentication. If you breach this trust, you are violating the HIPAA oath.

  • Effective Communication

When talking to a patient, always make sure you are using age-appropriate language and tone. Children may need you to use simpler words, make jokes and be friendly with them before they can talk to you. While adults may require you to have a conversation with them, lay down the facts, and guide them step by step while undergoing treatment. Communication also includes showing empathy in your words, having appropriate body language, and not showing signs of irritation if the patient is unable to keep up. It is a bonus if you speak more than one language and can communicate using sign language or gestures.

  • Technical Skills

Technology has become a significant part of the healthcare sector. So, learn about artificial intelligence and big data and utilize automated tools when checking a patient. You should also explore telehealth and extracting data from wearable devices to help the patient. When tools like smart beds, portable X-ray machines, and insulin patches are on the horizon, you need to adjust to this skill set.

Final Thoughts

The healthcare sector thrives under the careful supervision of talented and well-equipped nurses. To be an asset to the industry, you need to pick up the relevant skills which make you shine. These include having advanced qualifications, checking for vital signs, educating them and their families, and strong attention to detail. Don’t forget to communicate effectively, have a strong understanding of technology, and ensure patients are always safe under your care. This is all that you need to emerge as a successful nurse.

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