Being a Nurse - 4 Key Traits You Need For a Nursing Career

In being a nurse, you monitor a patient's symptoms, give them information about their condition, you console the patient and their family through difficult times. This career is full of complexity, dedication, and never ending challenges. Thus, there are a number of skills and traits that a nurse must have and learn. Here are just five of those traits:

Physical Activity:

I bet you didn't see that coming! Yes, as a nurse you need to be prepared to be able to walk for miles everyday. Often during your twelve-hour shifts you may not even get a chance to take a seat. You will be scurrying from patient to patient and back again, you will be at the nurse's station, and running to get labs or doctors or medication. On top walking and standing for so long, you must be able to help move patients into different positions as you bathe them, help them get comfortable, or for treatment reasons. In some cases where the patients are reacting poorly to the situation, you may even be required to restrain them. Of course for some of these situations you may have help nearby, but remember everyone will be running around doing their own tasks.

Critical Thinking:

You will be doing calculations to measure out drug dosages, dealing with scientific processes, and operating with both standard and metric units of measurements. But beyond this, you must be able to think on your feet. It is important to be able to understand what has been happening with the patient in the past, what are the current conditions, what needs to be done to benefit the patient and weather or not the patient needs urgent attention. You must know when to call the doctors their input but you must also know when you don't need to call them. (They get very angry at you if you call them at 3 am for something that you could have checked on your own!) Things happen fast so be on your toes, alert and always thinking.


Speaking about being alert, one important skill is to learn how to be observant. Subtle changes in the state or condition of someone who is ill can be indications of life threatening situations. Being acutely aware of such changes will help you head off dangerous situations. Also, in many cases, people don't really feel comfortable telling a stranger about embarrassing conditions and thus a keen eye will help ferret out when people are not giving you all the information!


Because much of the time the people whom need treatment will be in on of the most frightening times of their lives, and perhaps one of the most embarrassing, being a nurse means you must be compassionate. It can be stressful on you when you have a frustrating patient, you may not like the person, you may just be having a really bad day- but in the end you must remember that these people are sick and you are there to help them. Be compassionate in your care.

Obviously you need more than these traits to enter into this career. To become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN,) or achieve an advanced nursing level like a nurse practitioner (NP), you will need to first obtain a degree and then pass the NCLEX exam. Your education will vary depending on the career level you wish to pursue and in what specialty.

Do you know what nursing career path you wish to take?

Do you want to find out more about being a nurse? There are more nursing traits and a ton of other info at

Published At: Being a Nurse - 4 Key Traits You Need For a Nursing Career