What are some personality traits needed to be a great nurse?

  1. 2
    I'm not a nurse yet but based on what I've been told I would say one would have to have pretty tough skin. My mom's been a nurse since I was born and she's the toughest person I know.
    Williams75 and Staragate like this.

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  3. 30 Comments...

  4. 7
    That definitely helps. As a corollary, it also helps to have a good sense of personal boundaries. The patient is the one with the disease. (House of God, The Fat Man's Laws)
    canoehead, KayyyT, LobotRN, and 4 others like this.
  5. 9
    I'm a newb but I've been observing my more experienced coworkers.
    I'd say:
    - A great sense of humor. I didn't expect to make friends with my coworkers but I have. It's nonstop comedy hour with them. They're some fun people.
    - An honest desire to care for the pts. One coworker will call in on her days off to check up on 'her children'. LOL It's too funny. Another nurse took one of our pt's to her daughter's wedding on her day off.
    - The ability to 'stand your ground'. One of my coworkers recently got her RN and they were going to let her go because they don't staff RNs in our facility like that. Well, she's still with us and earning RN pay... because she went to the dept heads and fought for it.
    - They're very...composed. They know how to handle chaos like 'a duck on water'. They don't fluster easily and when they do (loud speech, intense eye-balling, 'barking' of orders)...that's when I, personally, know that it's serious!
    KayyyT, tryingtohaveitall, Lev <3, and 6 others like this.
  6. 10
    Always remain curious.
  7. 9
    Tough skin, knowing when to ask questions, honesty, humility, common sense, good sense of humor, a bladder that can hold urine for 12 hours, strong legs and back, ability to go hours without food and drink, and that is all I have for right now.
    AnonRNC, purrrfectionist, lildebbie, and 6 others like this.
  8. 8
    Courage. Sometimes you have to take a deep breath, then go talk to that doctor who has a reputation for chewing nurses up and spitting them out. If he/she has written an order that doesn't fly, for whatever reason, you have to address it. I've seen nurses who spent more time trying to come up with a way to get around talking to a doc in this sort of situation. If they'd have just dealt with it head on, they would have had the problem taken care of, and they might have found out that reputation the doctor has is more fiction than fact.

    Try to be the sort of person who can find something you have in common with everyone. My Dad is the master of this, and I've been lucky enough to have inherited some of that trait.

    Learn your boundaries with patients and their families. There's a fine line between caring about them and becoming enmeshed.
  9. 6
    Be willing to ask questions and ask for help when you need it. You don't know everything, and niether does anybody else.
    KayyyT, Lev <3, LPN2RNn2011, and 3 others like this.
  10. 17
    Self-recognizance. Think about how you come off to people. Your tone. Your look. Your expression. Your non-verbal body language. Good nurses are very self-aware and keep solid control over their affect and presentation without being nervous or stiff. It is easier with age & experience, but keep the concept in mind now.

    Moxie. Chutzpah. Guts. Be fearless. Not cocky; fearless about your skills & knowledge & fearless about asking for help. Be fearless in thinking critically & questioning orders. Fearless when you listen to report.

    A good, dark, open minded sense of humor. It will save you, your co workers and patients' sanity. Poop jokes rock.

    Don't be competitive. No one is RACING anybody. No one has to be queen. We're all stuck in the same ugly boat. Row!!!!!
    Armygirl7, cindjo717, Red35, and 14 others like this.
  11. 5
    Know when and how to say "no"--don't let anybody guilt trip you into doing anything that you know isn't right. Set personal boundaries and leave work at work. Don't be "that" nurse that everybody talks about behind your back, but do be "that" nurse that everyone wants to work with. Doctors are your coworkers, just like your fellow nurses and nursing aides, don't be afraid to talk to doctors as such. If something doesn't "feel" right to you, investigate it further. Help others when you can. Ask questions when you don't know something. Be professional at work, and don't say anything to anybody that can come back to bite you. Be a lifelong learner. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, but remember to ALWAYS learn from them. And lastly, have a good sense of humor...sometimes that's the only way to get through a shift!
    KayyyT, Lev <3, MarciaWithers, and 2 others like this.
  12. 9
    Don't allow your personality to get stuck in a rut. Grow in wisdom and compassion. Don't allow your personality to become warped and jaded by sour experiences. Have a personality that rebounds and overcomes with humility and understanding. Have a personality that rejoices over the small things. Also, as a few other posters have pointed out, be a life long learner (LLL). Learn EBP (evidenced-base practice) and always stay curious enough to engage in it and networking in your chosen profession. Lastly, have a personality that says I care how I do what I do. It will save you alot of grief in the long run.

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