Essential skills you must have while pursuing a nursing career

You need more than a top-notch degree program or practical experience for a successful job in healthcare. Healthcare employers look at more than just your clinical skills on your CV. You should work on enhancing your soft skills, which are often called personality skills. These are the character traits you use to affect and improve how you connect to and communicate with patients, coworkers and peers.

Soft skills can impact your career chances, work performance and other aspects of your life. Employers frequently seek soft talents in addition to credentials. Your soft skills will likely be more helpful to your professional advancement over time than your technical talents in many fields, including in the medical field.

skills needed for career in nursing

What do nursing soft skills entail?

Soft skills are character traits required for success in any workplace, including nursing. Nursing hard skills are clinical aptitudes necessary to carry out activities such as IV insertion, wound care and drug administration. That said, there is much more to nursing than clinical proficiency. To be successful, soft skills might be just as crucial as good clinical abilities.

Because of the sicker patients, shorter periods of stay, and frequent unit transfers that characterize the modern healthcare environment, all healthcare personnel must effectively communicate with one another.

Soft skill deficiencies can result in medical mistakes, unhealthy or unproductive workplaces, job discontent, and bad patient survey results, which can hurt hospital reimbursement.

If you want to further your soft skills as well as the clinical skills that are crucial in the nursing field, then online MSN programs might be a good fit as you can stay in your job full-time while studying. Your teachers and mentors may assist you in determining the areas to focus on for a successful healthcare career. Students get help in finding opportunities and joining groups that can teach them more about their desired careers and help them hone their soft skills. 

Essential skills you must have while pursuing a nursing career

Below are some essential soft skills you need while pursuing a nursing career.


Therapeutic communication is one of the most important topics included in nursing education. This is because communication is the most crucial soft skill for nurses to have when caring for patients. You must correctly inform your patients and their family about the existing circumstances.

They will need your guidance while undergoing treatment programs, which may occasionally be rather complicated medically.

It’s helpful for you to explain technical knowledge so that everyone can grasp it effectively. More significantly, you will frequently be asked to attend to the emotional needs of your patients. You can give them a sense of (realistic) reassurance and support by talking with them while they share their concern or loss.

Attitude and confidence

What if, while being aware that your patient was displaying the typical symptoms of heart failure, you lacked the courage to inform the nurse practitioner of the concerning change in your patient’s clinical status because you were worried that you had made a mistake in your clinical assessment?


Building a solid rapport with your patients requires understanding what they are going through and their discomfort. You won’t be able to persuade your patients to open up to you or earn their confidence if you lack empathy for them and instead are cold and insensitive toward them. You can make your patients feel at ease and less alone by talking to them about their experiences and sharing your own experiences.


The capacity to listen goes hand in hand with practical communication abilities. You should give physicians and patients your full attention when speaking with them. Instead of just nodding and waiting for your moment to speak, pay close attention to what they are saying. You can correctly determine someone’s intentions by observing their body language.

It’s a good idea to offer pertinent remarks and follow-up questions on the subjects that your patients and coworkers brought up when you answer them. One of the nursing skills that reassures patients that you have been paying attention to them is listening. It also allows you to understand what others have told you.

 Critical thinking skills

You can appraise problems rapidly and produce reasoned conclusions through critical thinking. As a nurse, you must be able to assess patient conditions and respond swiftly and wisely based on the available information.


Evaluating your current skill set before determining whether you possess the necessary soft skills for the healthcare industry is crucial. For example, your time management skills might need improvement, but you are a great communicator. You could be a positive and cheerful person, but you might need to work on showing more empathy toward other people. These soft skills can always be improved, and as a nurse, there is always room for improvement in this area.


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