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Clinical Systems Leadership

6 Personality Traits of Successful Nurses

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 2.7 million registered nurses in the United States. Most of these registered nurses excel at their jobs; they enjoy working in health care and they’re good at what they do. A small minority, however, struggle to fit into the profession because they don’t have all the personality traits of successful nurses. Students looking forward to careers in nursing should ask themselves whether they have these six important characteristics:

Tenacious
Nurses need to understand topics like chemistry, anatomy, psychology, and nutrition to do their jobs well. It takes a strong will to memorize all of the information and apply it in hectic environments. Anyone who doesn’t have tenacity probably won’t even make it through a bachelor’s program, let alone earn a master’s degree in nursing.

Gregarious
Emergency rooms see nearly 130 million patients per day. Most of those patients and their loved ones will rely on nurses to get them through difficult times. Patients won’t get much support from bitter nurses who don’t like meeting new people. Gregarious people who enjoy comforting and helping, however, can thrive in chaotic environments like ERs, but it’s helpful when working in any medical environment since nurses are patient-facing.

Methodical
Nurses play a lot of different roles throughout a shift. Many of them fill out paperwork, take notes for medical records, and provide patient care. Only a methodical person could fill out insurance forms while talking with a patient. It’s a rewarding job, but it’s tough. If you don’t have a methodical nature, you may need to develop some multi-tasking and organizational habits.

Optimistic
Some studies suggest that optimistic patients recover from certain health conditions better than people with pessimistic attitudes. Nurses who have optimistic dispositions can set the proper mood for healing. It’s hard for patients to keep their spirits up. It’s even harder when their nurse has a negative perspective.

Patient
The average patient will actively participate in behaviors that worsen his or her condition. It’s estimated that 60 percent of American patients don’t follow their doctor’s orders when taking prescription medications. It takes a lot of patience to deal with people who either will not or cannot follow the basic instructions that could save their lives. Nurses who get frustrated easily will end their shifts with plenty of tension headaches. Of course, nurses also need extreme patience when filling out endless streams of insurance documents and medical records.

Empathetic
Nurses see people in some of their worst states. People aren’t usually in health care centers unless they have some sort of health problem. Over time, nurses can get desensitized to the disturbing things they’ve seen. Eventually, patients just turn into lists of symptoms and medications. A nurse who feels empathy for other people, though, becomes more in-tune with their patients and can provide better care. Empathy helps nurses communicate with patients and better understand what they’re going through. It is, perhaps, the most essential personality trait of a successful nurse.

Do you think these six personality traits are essential for successful nurses? Would you add other traits to the list?

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