When you think of a nurse, you probably picture someone who is dedicated, compassionate, and a master at managing their stress and their workload.
While all of these skills are important, there are many overlooked skills in nursing that are just as important, but fly under the radar.
Learn the 8 most overlooked skills in nursing, and discover why you should be developing them, both for your patients and your career.
8 Most Overlooked Skills in Nursing
1. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking isn’t just a skill for nursing, it’s a skill for life – It is one of the overlooked skills in nursing.
Critical thinking is the ability to evaluate your own reasoning, bias and preconceptions. By understanding what thought processes drive your behaviour, you can amend it accordingly.
Nurses who use critical thinking will be able to provide better care, improve patient outcomes, and have greater career prospects. This is because they make decisions based on evidence, rather than emotion. Critical thinking makes them desirable colleagues, and effective managers.
For most people, critical thinking is a skill like any other that can be practised and nurtured – or neglected and lost. The good news is that it is never too late to start practising!
Leadership isn’t a position, it’s a quality. Leadership is an essential and overlooked skills in nursing.
Leadership is relevant across all levels of a workplace. While management positions are obvious examples, leadership can be as simple as an experienced nurse who younger nurses look up to, or someone who isn’t afraid to challenge tradition if they feel there is a better treatment path for a patient.
When most people envision a leader, they picture someone who is loud, persuasive and the centre of attention. Compassion and honesty are less flashy, but no less integral to leadership, and nurses who have the courage to demonstrate a high level of care no matter the circumstances are the true leaders of their field.
You’ve probably heard the saying that ‘laughter is the best medicine’ – but in many ways it really is true. Having a good sense of humour is an excellent addition to the overlooked skills in nursing.
Studies have demonstrated that humour helps:
- Build rapport with difficult patients
- Increase morale and cooperation between nurses
- Reduce patient anxiety, self-consciousness and even their experience and awareness of pain
People dealing with injuries and illnesses are naturally going to be unhappy and even scared of their situation, and a funny nurse can be just what they need to lift their spirits.
4. Active Listening
You might be wondering why listening appears in an overlooked skills in nursing list. Surely it’s obvious that nurses need to be able to listen to their patients, right?
Yes, but there is a difference between listening to respond and active listening.
Listening to respond will quickly make your patient feel unheard; especially if you are interrupting them whenever you think of something to say.
Active listening is listening to understand. You can often gain insights into how a patient is feeling, including what they are happy or afraid about, which can help you care for them better.
Feeling heard is an important step towards being able to trust someone. If your patients trust you, caring for them will be easier, and their outcomes will be more positive.
5. Conflict Resolution
Unfortunately, when people are unwell, physically and mentally, they can become afraid and behave irrationally. Sometimes, this irrational behaviour can become confrontational and pose a risk to healthcare workers.
The ability to de-escalate a dangerous situation is an essential skill for a nurse. Being aware of how your verbal and non-verbal communication comes across allows you to change it to calm a situation. For example, standing with your arms crossed comes across as defensive and stubborn, or a raised voice can be perceived as aggressive.
Controlling your emotions and how you present them will help you resolve conflict and will make you a sought after asset in your team.
Being a patient is a vulnerable experience. While being cared for, it’s common to feel like you’ve lost independence, privacy and modesty. It’s important that nurses are aware of these feelings and do their best to mitigate them.
Confidentiality is a crucial overlooked skill in nursing. While communication about important medical information is important, nurses should never gossip about patients or share personal details that have been discussed in private.
Nurses who gossip will quickly lose the trust of colleagues and patients alike, so confidentiality is potentially one of the most important skills on this list.
This might seem obvious, and to a certain extent it is mandatory. Nurses are expected to maintain good hygiene and there is an entire mandate on cleaning standards in healthcare that must be followed.
So why is it on this list?
It’s because there are other areas of a nurses workplace where cleanliness comes into play. Nurses are often time poor, and visits to communal areas like bathrooms and lunchrooms are often rushed. However, just remember that you share these spaces with your colleagues.
Working in an untidy workplace lowers morale, so next time you’re about to rush off without fully clearing your table, consider how the next person to sit and eat will feel.
8. Fine Motor Skills
Nurses need to learn a wealth of theoretical knowledge to care for patients, but then they also need to be able to put those skills into practice. This is where fine motor skills can be a valuable advantage. A nurse who can administer treatment quickly and confidently will feel less stressed than a nurse who is slower at the same tasks.
Unfortunately, people are born with varying levels of fine motor skill proficiency. But, they can improve with practice.
Nurses Now are a nursing agency that are fully aware of the importance of these overlooked skills. Our team are passionate about providing exceptional care and defining what it means to be a brilliant nurse.
If you have the skills from this list, we’d love to hear from you!
For more information, please visit our website.
To enquire about joining Nurse Now, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.