Characteristics of a Nurse: 10 Qualities to Look for When Hiring
If your healthcare facility is affected by the nurse staffing shortage, nurse hiring is likely an ongoing challenge. It takes a team effort between human resources and hiring managers to attract qualified nurses to your facility. As your team collaborates, they may be wondering what characteristics of a nurse they should be looking for when interviewing candidates.
In this guide, we share the top 10 skills of a nurse to look for in the hiring process. Once you nail down what you’re looking for in a candidate, be sure to check out our guides for selecting the best RN interview questions and LPN interview questions.
What Are the 10 Characteristics of a Good Nurse?
You’ll be able to see a nurse’s clinical experience and education on a nursing resume. This is an effective way to quickly determine if their background aligns with the role. However, it takes further investigation to uncover a nurse’s soft skills, which can be just as important as clinical skills. Prior to selecting potential candidates, define what qualities you need to have in nurses at your facility. Here is our list of top characteristics to help you get started.
Most nurses are naturally empathic, meaning they understand others’ feelings. This is a useful quality when dealing with difficult patients or families. Patients are at their most vulnerable in the healthcare setting, and emotions run high. Having empathy allows the nurse to separate themselves from a situation to understand what the patient is going through and provide non-judgmental care.
During interviews, hiring managers often ask candidates what characteristics of a nurse they think are needed to be successful. These types of questions may open the conversation to a nurse’s values, such as integrity. Nurses should take pride in their work. Integrity means always doing what is right for the patient, even when no one is watching. This quality lends itself to a strong work ethic, which fuels nurses through long and strenuous shifts.
Nurses function as key members of a multidisciplinary team, and the ability to work well with everyone is a must. A team-player mentality is equally important within a team of nurses. A strong nurse is aware of the needs of their unit and is willing to help colleagues in times of need.
To determine what characteristics of a nurse help them to stand out from the crowd, consider your organization’s professionalism standards. Being professional means a nurse:
- shows up on time for work
- follows the uniform policy
- works well with others
- doesn’t take things personally
- has high-quality work standards
Nurses should have strong communication skills, both written and spoken. Strong interpersonal communication is especially important when relaying pertinent patient information to providers. In fact, nurse communication is included in the Joint Commission’s national patient safety goals. According to national safety standards, nurses are required to communicate and document critical labs within an established timeframe. Written communication is put into practice with documentation in the EHR. Nurses should provide clear documentation, sometimes in narrative form, of events that occur during a patient’s stay.
6. Critical Thinking
Nurses should have keen decision-making skills and the ability to think autonomously during patient care. Critical thinking guides decisions when responding to a patient’s change in status. Having an organized thought pattern and following the chain of command is crucial when emergency situations arise.
7. Attention to Detail
Of the characteristics of a nurse that are helpful in any specialty, one in particular stands out — attention to detail. Whether a nurse titrates drips in the ICU or catches a medication error before it happens, every detail matters when it comes to patient care. On a given shift, a nurse is expected to notice subtle changes in areas like:
- patient assessments
- vital signs
- drug doses
- intake and output
- lab results
8. Time Management
Nursing students learn the art of time management in nursing school, but it’s a skill that is developed with experience. It’s necessary to manage a daily nursing workload and all of the tasks included in each patient’s care plan.
So many variables are constantly changing in a nurse’s job — from patient workloads to the technology that drives workflow processes. Nurses must demonstrate adaptability to change. The way a nurse handles change can be an indicator of how they function in a fast-paced healthcare setting.
10. Lifelong Learner
Provision seven of the nursing code of ethics says nurses should have a commitment to advancing the profession through research and scholarly inquiry. This involves participation in professional development, evidence-based research, and professional standards development. A commitment to improving the nursing practice allows your organization to evolve.
Bring Qualified Nurses to Your Facility Today
Now that you’ve established the characteristics of a nurse that would stand out at your facility, let IntelyCare bring nurses to you. Partner with us to see how our many staffing solutions can help you to stabilize your workforce now and into the future.