6 Traits and Aptitudes All Aspiring Nurses Should Have

Becoming a nurse is a very noble goal and it could be your calling. However, having good intentions is not enough to make it in this field. This is one of the most difficult jobs there is, and you will be faced with many challenges. It takes a special type of person to be a nurse, and if you are this type of person, the field will welcome you with open arms. But, if you don’t have what it takes, you might become disillusioned with the field or not make it through your studies. Let’s take a look at some of the traits and aptitudes aspiring nurses should have.


Empathy is an important trait to have as a nurse, but do not mistake empathy with oversensitivity. As a nurse, you will be faced with constant tragedy, and you have to have the mental strength needed to power through. You may also have to become the bearer of bad news and provide emotional support to patients and people in their families.


You still have to be able to step into your patient’s shoes and see situations from their perspective, however. You need to understand when a patient is having a bad day because of treatment or the impact a diagnosis could have on them. This is what allows nurses to stay levelheaded and always think about their patient’s needs first.

Empathetic nurses are also empathic with the people they are working with. They are willing to pick up the slack when one of the nurses on their team is going through a rough patch. These are the types of nurses that become stars on the floor and earn respect from other nurses and administrators.

Organization Skills

If you’re struggling with organization and can’t multi-task, do not become a nurse, it’s as simple as that. You might have to work on hundreds of cases each day and be able to remember what everyone needs. Lacking organization skills will make you less efficient and may lead to errors. So, you will have to take a long hard look at how you organize your life and how you react when you have multiple tasks to perform in one day.


Willingness to Learn

Becoming a nurse means that you’ll have to constantly up your skills and stay up to date. This is why nurses have to go through recertification throughout their careers. Nursing school is also notoriously tough, so be prepared for that. You can start working after one year of formation and become an LPN, but you might be frustrated by how limited your role will be. It’s usually a better idea to start with an associate degree or go for a bachelor’s.

If the thought of going for a four-year program seems intimidating to you, know that you could always go for an accelerated degree. Schools like Baylor University offer BSN accelerated programs that you can take online. The best part is that you’ll be able to use your credits even if they’re from a non-nursing discipline.

From then on you can decide to continue and get a master’s if you want to become a nurse practitioner and possibly operate your own practice. Or you could go for a specialty of your choice. Nurses who are willing to learn open themselves up to all sorts of opportunities and enjoy long fruitful careers, so start looking right now at the different paths that could open up to you and what it would take to get there.


Critical Thinking and Attention to Detail

Nurses have to deal with people, and people can lie sometimes. They might lie about their condition because they fear treatment, or they might not want to bother their family. Other patients might be scared of how much it will cost to get treatment. Nurses who are great critical thinkers can read through situations and know exactly what a patient needs or when things are fishy. This is especially important as it could be the difference between life and death in some cases.

Emotional Stability

It’s no secret that nursing is one of the most stressful jobs there is, and you have to be able to stay calm under pressure. You may also have to go through all sorts of emotions in a single shift. You could go from joy, to surprise, to deep sorrow, all in the same day. This is why you need to be able to distance yourself up to a certain level so that these emotions don’t start affecting your morale.

One of the greatest challenges for nurses is not letting what’s happening at work affect other parts of their life. This is not something everyone can do. We’re not saying that you have to become completely cold, but you have to be able to dissociate yourself from your job from time to time.

If you have trouble getting over grief or letting go of things that happened in the past, you might have trouble succeeding as a nurse. Know, however, that emotional stability is not something you are necessarily born with. Many nurses have difficulty dealing with tragedy at the beginning, and this is normal. However, you need to have the resilience needed to push through and make it to another day.

Communication Skills

You can’t be a good nurse without being a skilled communicator. You’ll have to give your patients clear instructions and explain their situation in detail to them. You also have to be able to communicate with other people on the floor. Nursing is not a job for introverted people. You will have to not only be able to express yourself clearly with people around you but be very assertive from time to time. So, if this is something you are struggling with, you might want to think twice about embarking on this career path.

These are some of the skills and traits nurses need to succeed. We suggest that you get as much information on what the job of a nurse is truly like before you start and consider doing some shadowing work to see if you’re cut out for the profession.