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5 soft skills that should be on your nursing resume

As a nurse, having the practical proficiency and clinical knowledge to perform your duties is critical. However, an increasing number of employers are beginning to recognize the importance of soft skills – the personal qualities and interpersonal abilities that allow you to thrive in relationships with other people. These aptitudes, which include competencies such as leadership and communication skills, are the intrinsic qualities that help employees thrive in the workplace. Consequently, your interpersonal areas of expertise can play a major role in advancing your nursing career.

Applying for a promotion or new position? Having these five soft skills on your resume will help show employers that you have the abilities you need to succeed on the job.

1. Communication
Whether you’re speaking with patients, doctors or fellow nurses, communication skills are essential in the workplace. Nurses who are unable to express themselves effectively will have trouble collaborating with coworkers and supervising new hires. They may even give patients incorrect or insufficient directions, which can result in decreased outcomes and low patient satisfaction. Nurses also have a greater responsibility than professionals in most fields to convey reassurance and empathy in their communications, which makes this ability even more important. And this idea applies to both spoken and written communication. In the digital age, the ability to simply draft an efficient email can be critical for success while on the job.

2. Teamwork
While the ability to be a team player is important in most any field, it is especially critical in nursing. As the health care field makes a push toward value-based care, it’s becoming increasingly essential for hospitals and other medical facilities to work together to provide patients with the best possible care. No matter how good you are at your job, employers will be hesitant to hire you if they don’t believe you’ll be able to work well with other employees. On your resume or in your interview, give examples of times that you worked with others to accomplish team objectives.

3. Problem-solving
One of the major goals of nursing certification is to ensure that you have the ability to respond to situations that you’ll encounter on the job. However, even the best training can’t prepare you for everything. Consequently, employers want to hire nurses who have good problem-solving skills. Being able to think on your feet and come up with innovative solutions to challenges will set you apart from other job applicants.

4. Professionalism
According to a 2012 report by Assessment Technologies Institute, Inc., more than 80 percent of nurse managers look to hire graduates who have professional and interpersonal skills. But what exactly is professionalism? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, professionalism means “conducting oneself with responsibility, integrity, accountability and excellence.” It’s being effective and productive in whatever you do. When employers look to hire new nurses or promote from within, they want to know that they can trust you to represent the organization well with a high level of professionalism.

5. Leadership
Whether you’re applying for an entry-level position or looking to advance your career through a supervisory role, leadership skills are valued at every level. Successful nurses are able to take initiative and organize coworkers when necessary to accomplish objectives. Be prepared to share examples of instances when you took the initiative to lead coworkers or patients and achieved positive results.

If you see areas where your soft skills could be improved, consider seeking out opportunities to practice that ability in the workplace, or find a mentor who can help with your development. American Nursing Today additionally suggested that health care organizations should consider offering training programs that are focused on the soft skills recommended by the Department of Labor and American Association of Nursing Colleges. Ask if your workplace offers any such opportunities.


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