Healthcare System

Nursing isn’t an easy profession. Many regard it as one of the most rewarding careers but ask any nurse, and they will tell you that it can be challenging. Not only does it require special education to qualify, but good nurses must have top-notch soft skills if they want to make a difference to their patients.

On a typical day, a nurse will see people at their worst, suffering from pain and other complications that interfere with their quality of life. They see distraught families worried about their loved ones and want to know whether or not they will recover.

On some days, nurses, no matter how experienced they are, cannot help patients, and they die. They must be able to cope with death and continue to provide services without missing a beat.

How can you be an exceptional nurse in such challenging circumstances? How can you make sure that you provide desired outcomes day after day, grow your career, and be highly employable?

The answer is simple; you must develop both hard and soft skills. They are acquired differently and play different but essential roles in the workplace.

Hard skills in nursing

There are certain hard skills to be a nurse that you cannot do without. Also called technical skills, they are learned when you enroll in college and have everything to do with nursing practice.

Whatever type of nursing course you choose, you will need to know, for example, how to insert an IV, give a patient a sponge bath, take a blood sample, and measure vital signs.

You learn hard skills through classroom or field instruction. A teacher gives lectures and provides notes about nursing practice, and you have to understand the curriculum well enough not to pass exams but to execute flawlessly in the field.

Employers are very keen on hard skills. Before hiring you, they must ensure you are competent to handle patients without causing injury. There are six vital hard skills that you must learn before you secure employment as a nurse.

Patient assessment

You must be able to make highly accurate assessments and evaluations of a patient’s condition. It includes vitals like heart rate and blood pressure, family history, and assessing the severity of a patient’s illness.

You will learn all of these things in class and get a chance to practice when you go during your clinical assignment.


CPR is a basic nursing procedure performed to help patients immediately before a doctor sees them.

One of the main reasons employers insist on nurses learning this skill is because it helps them assess whether they can keep a cool head during an emergency. You are also required to learn BLS or basic life support.

You will learn CPR in a classroom and then get a chance to practice on dummies during the clinical period.

Medication management

One of your key responsibilities as a nurse is to manage medications. You need to know about dosages for common medications and how to take them. You should also know about their effects and side effects.

Placement of IV lines and infusions

It is a basic life-saving skill that every nurse must learn. An IV is used to administer vital liquids directly to the bloodstream. Your employer will want to know whether you are competent in IV placement in calm and stressful situations.

Patient safety

One of the most common reasons for healthcare lawsuits is a lack of primary patient care. As a nurse, you must learn basic care skills, from simple to complex.

You should be able to move patients without injuring them, for example, or help them with their meals without choking them.

Infection prevention

We saw during the COVID-19 pandemic how fast an infection can spread in a hospital. In many cases, patients in hospital wards would test positive despite having no contact with the outside world.

A good nurse needs to know how to prevent infections from spreading between patients and members of staff. They should be familiar with procedures to acquire the necessary equipment to prevent pathogens from spreading.

How to document charts

When you take the doctor on his rounds, it is your job to update patient charts. It may seem like a simple task, but it takes some skill. You will learn to update charts in a nursing school but should get real-life experience during clinical placement.

In many healthcare facilities, these records are kept electronically. There may be a truncated version on the patient’s bed, but detailed records are kept in a computer database.

Employers will want to know whether you can keep both written and electronic records.

Emergency care

How well do you perform in the face of an emergency? How do you do your job when five patients are wheeled into the ER, all with life-threatening injuries that require immediate care?

Nurses need to learn the basic procedures for dealing with emergencies. These may change depending upon where you work, but some vital steps stay the same, like assessing injuries, tying splints, and helping doctors administer emergency care.

Technology skills

Technology permeates every aspect of our lives, and healthcare is no different. Today’s practitioners should understand how to use various programs and apps that enhance care practices.

It may be as simple as entering patient details into the system or ordering specific supplies online.

Soft skills in nursing

Soft skills are just as vital as hard skills in nursing. Unfortunately, many cannot be taught in a classroom. You have to develop and cultivate them over time until you become good at them.

Although there is not any quantitative way to measure soft skills, employers are keen to know whether prospective nurses have them and how they use them in the workplace.

They often pose interview questions that are designed to find out whether or not the interviewee has the necessary soft skills.

Many nurses worry about developing soft skills early in their careers. If they are not taught in class, how else will they gain the soft skills to be a nurse? The fact that you want to enter the profession might mean that you already have the most crucial soft skill: empathy. It means that you have a genuine interest in helping others and are willing to do what it takes to restore people to good health.

Although you may not learn soft skills in nursing school, there are short courses that you can take to get started. If, for example, you are not a good communicator, there are many courses available online to teach you the basics of good communication.

As you plan for a career in nursing, think about how you can acquire the following skills. Remember, you can hone them with practice, so take every chance to become the best.


Communication is a key part of nursing practice. You should be able to communicate well with patients and colleagues to deliver good outcomes. Good communication involves both talking and listening, and can be hard to master, especially in a high-pressure environment.

To be a good communicator requires patience. You have to give the other person time to say what they need to say without putting them under pressure. You cannot be judgmental; you may hear shocking things from patients, but you shouldn’t make them feel uncomfortable or judged for opening up to you.

Communicating with colleagues is vital in this age of patient-centered healthcare. You must learn working within a team and communicating flawlessly to ensure everyone is in the loop.

Good communication is also necessary when communicating with those above and below you in the organizational chart. Whether talking to a janitor or a senior manager, you must be concise yet polite, ensuring you are understood.

Critical thinking

It means that you can unravel complex situations and arrive at a solution. It can be a difficult skill for young people to master because they don’t have much life experience, but it is a requirement for good nursing.

Problem solving

You may have encountered people who cannot solve even simple problems. It can be frustrating in the workplace. If you want to be a nurse who provides the right type of care promptly, you must develop your problem-solving abilities.


Nurses often work long shifts and sometimes present for multiple ones without flagging. They may lift and transport heavy equipment and even lift patients from on and off beds.

Having stamina means that you can keep going for long periods without tiring. You should be able to have both physical strength and mental clarity.

Nurses who care about their health have more stamina than those who don’t. A balanced diet helps you stay alert and awake better than if you snack on processed foods.

During your time off, get enough sleep and make sure to do some exercise. If you work a long shift, take a break every few hours.

Time management

How well do you manage your time? Are you able to complete multiple tasks simultaneously without making mistakes?

If you are the type of nurse who keeps patients and colleagues waiting, it reflects negatively and may affect your ability to move up the career ladder.


As healthcare evolves towards patient-centered treatment, nurses are increasingly required to work in teams with other medical professionals. They must be able to collaborate and share information flawlessly to offer tailored solutions for their patients.

To be a team player, you should be patient and have good communication skills. You should also be prepared to help others in your team so that you can deliver the best outcomes for patients.


Diligence is a skill that will serve you well, not just in nursing but in other aspects of your life. Diligence means completing tasks without leaving anything to chance. There are no loose ends for others to tidy up, and your work stands up to the highest scrutiny.

Attention to detail

It is especially crucial in the handling of medications. If you get a dosage wrong, it can lead to complications and may even be fatal.

Attention to detail goes hand in hand with diligence. It means thinking carefully about what you do and examining your work to ensure it is up to scratch.

Action-oriented behavior

There are certain people you call when you are in trouble because you know that they are inclined to act. You should aim to be that kind of nurse.

When you see a patient in pain, for example, act right away to find out how you can alleviate their discomfort. If a colleague is struggling, step in and find out how you can help to deliver treatments faster.

A sense of humor

Treatment centers, be they hospitals, clinics, or hospices, can be dire places. If you are the type of person who takes everything seriously, you will eventually suffer burnout and may suffer anxiety and depression. You must develop a sense of humor and fun.

You will find that you enjoy your work and will not feel mentally and emotionally strung out.

It doesn’t mean that you should crack jokes and laugh at every chance. Instead, learn to be light-hearted and aim to make others smile.

In conclusion

You need a combination of soft and hard skills to be a nurse. Hard skills are easy for most; they can be gained in nursing school. Soft skills often present a challenge because they are self-taught. You can develop them over time and with lots of practice.