Be they skills, or more practical items, there are some things that we nurses just can’t do without. Find out exactly what they are in my detailed post below.
Shoes that are comfortable
First of all, as most nurses spend a disproportionate amount of time on their feet, and shifts can be long, a comfortable pair of shoes is a must. The best type of shoes for nurses will be ones that support the foot, and that are comfortable to wear. Fashion does tend to go a bit by the wayside when making these choices, and where possible it’s a good idea to seek out footwear made specifically for nurses.
The skill of confidence
Another thing that is essential to being a nurse is the skill of confidence. After all, your patients will want to be able to trust in your knowledge and expertise and be able to rely on you at a time when they are quite vulnerable and if you don’t project confidence they are likely to find this tough.
That’s not to say that you can’t ever feel unconfident, or any other emotion as nurses are human too (even though sometimes it feels like we have to be superhuman). Indeed, all your emotions and feelings are valid, but it’s usually best to process these away from patients.
There are things you can do to boost your confidence as well, such as making sure you do things like this CPR test to keep your first aid qualifications up to date. You can do it quickly and easily online too without having to attend a test center, so you can fit it in no matter how busy you are.
A nursing watch
Every nurse needs a proper watch, and by proper I mean one with a second hand. This is because you will need the secondhand so you can properly take your patients’ pulse readings and do other tests.
While most watches with a secondhand will do in a pinch, usually the best option for nurses is to invest in a nurses watch fob. These are watches with a face, but instead of a wrist strap, they come with a vertical fob that allows you to flip the face up and check it once it’s pinned to your uniform. You can even get nurses’ fob settings for smartwatches like the Apple Watch and Fitbit these days, so you can also track your steps while on shift, so there are plenty of choices on the market.
Critical thinking skills
There’s never a dull day in nursing and it’s our job to be able to assess a situation quickly and accurately and act accordingly. This of course takes high-level critical thinking skills and the ability to stay calm under pressure.
One of the best ways to develop these kinds of skills is to volunteer for active simulations at the hospital or medical center. These consistently real people pretend to have varying degrees of injuries and medical conditions that need to be triaged and then treated. Such sessions can help you become more confident in your skills, as well as help you learn the emergency procedures necessary for your medical institution.
Also brushing up on your critical thinking and assessment skills by doing courses like this one can help you develop the theoretical and practical foundation you need to know precisely what to do when next faced with a crisis.
Hand cream and sanitizer
It’s vital that as nurses we keep our hands clean, but with some of the tasks we get to do in a day, that can seem like a real challenge! The good news is that hand sanitizer can really come to the rescue here, killing bacteria and germs effectively, and reducing the number of times we have to wash our hands with soap and water during the day. Which in turn can help reduce the likelihood that we will suffer from contact dermatitis or eczema, while still keeping our hands clean.
If you work in a medical facility there is likely to be plenty of hand sanitizer around, usually in dispensers fixed to the walls. However, it never hurts to carry your own supply, and you can get small bottles that fit perfectly in a pocket or on a calliper to hang from your belt.
Where possible invest in a sanitizer that also has moisturizing qualities or a separate unscented moisturizer that you can use to keep your hands supple too.
A great bedside manner
Bedside manners are such an important thing for all medical professionals, and as a nurse, you probably have worked with those who lacked it and seen the negative consequences it can have on patient care. After all, if a patient does not trust you, and feels as if they are being related to you as a person it can create all sorts of issues from raising their stress levels to refusing care.
To that end developing a good bedside manner is crucial for any nurse that wants to be successful. A good thing to remember here is that you don’t have to transform your personality or be ‘pollyannaish’ instead decide what actions and treatment best represent good bedside manner for you such as listening to concerns, confidence, clear explanation of the situation, kindness, and empathy and make sure you enact these with each patient when necessary.
A strong work ethic
Last of all, one of the essentials that nurses need is self-motivation. In essence, every nurse needs an incredibly strong work ethic because there is nearly always something else that needs doing and frequently there are five other tasks that need doing with three of them being an emergency. To that end, you need to be able to motivate yourself to carry on working, often when you are tired and just want to go home at the end of a long shift.
Indeed, in many cases, people’s lives and quality of life are on the line if we as nurses do not complete the tasks that are set before us. Not to mention the negative impact it can have on our colleagues and the ones taking over for us at the end of our shift if those tasks are left undone. To that end, if you are someone who finds it hard to self-motivate or prefers to have someone else motivate and direct you most of the time, you may not thrive in a nursing career.