What makes a bad nurse?


Hi there. Kind of a brutal question... I'm looking into nursing, but not sure if it's for me. I've read about the good qualities to have, what about the not-so-good ones?

chevyv, BSN, RN

1,679 Posts

Specializes in Acute Mental Health. Has 15 years experience.

Hmmm, not so good qualities might be lack of empathy, poor communicator, people hater, someone who may not be good under pressure........ This will be an interesting thread.


73 Posts

Somebody who doesn't care about other people, someone with little or no patience, lack of analytical abilities, somebody that doesn't like problem solving or working independently. Somebody with poor time management skills, someone who can't work with all types of people (meaning race, religion, social, educational and economic status, health status, etc.)

Also, and I know I will probably be treading on thin ice with this comment, but, if you're ONLY in it for the money... yes, we all want a paycheck and we all want it to be a nice amount, but if you are only there because it pays fairly well but you HATE the work, then you're probably not going to be a very good nurse. You have to care at least a little bit about what you're doing, but that's just my opinion.


1,465 Posts

I'm with the lack of empathy crowd. In addition lack of commone sense is another one. You don't have to be a rocket scientist, but you did need to have good commone sense.

RN BSN 2009

1,289 Posts

Someone who takes shortcuts and thinks they know everything!!

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

4 Articles; 7,907 Posts

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

You WILL have to deal with poop and vomit and sputum and all sorts of disgusting things, and you're not always going to be able to fob the "dirty" work off on a CNA or someone else.

If you aren't willing to deal with that...well, you might not end up being a bad nurse, but you probably won't be a very good nurse.

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab. Has 6 years experience.

Know it all attitude is my least favorite i see.


67 Posts

i think the top thing that makes a bad nurse is not being able to handle stressful situations or working under pressure.

when my step sister mentioned that she was thinking about nursing i laughed bc she freaks out over the smallest things

flightnurse2b, LPN

2 Articles; 1,496 Posts

Specializes in EMS, ER, GI, PCU/Telemetry.

my biggest issue would probably be people who are unwilling to work as a team.

be it the "it's not my job" nurses, "i didn't go to nursing school to clean poop" nurses, the sit at the desk and watch others work nurses, the nurses who purposely leave things for other shifts bc they don't think they do as much on days/nights, the nurses who look at other nurses/aides/techs/etc with less education as them as below them.......

willing to work on a team. total necessity of being a good nurse is being a team player.


3 Articles; 961 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Education. Has 15 years experience.

Arrogance- annoying in any profession, dangerous/deadly in this one. If you don't know, ask. It's not possible to know everything in this field, you are always learning.

Laziness/lack of motivation- if you don't want to learn, and prefer to expend as little energy as possible, this is not for you. Not the kind of job you can do well if your idea of vigorous activity is rolling your chair a few feet in either direction, lol.

I have to agree, know-it-all attitude, laziness, the slacker mentality (I have a few of those in my clinical group), "it's not my job" person, lack of caring, inability to put your morals aside for the good of the patient. (I know I have certain strong views on things, but I don't even think about that while I'm in clinical.) I was fearful, I'd puke all over my patients when it came to poop, blood, infected wounds and that I'd be totally embarassed with all the nakedness, but I can pull a foley, assist with a birth (nasty looking thing placenta-the first time I thought I was really going to-but it turns out it was the antiseptic fumes in the biohazard closet! LOL) change peri-pads, and look at a fully naked person without embarassment or throwing up.


20 Posts

i think the top thing that makes a bad nurse is unwilling to work as a team,working under pressure,attitude,lack of motivation & lack of commone sense.who can improve top thing they can be a good nurse.

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