Do I Have What It Takes to Be a Nurse?

Posted October 4, 2017 | By Tricia Hussung

Female nurse in dark pink scrubs holding notebook and pen with title text overlay

Nursing is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling careers out there for those who are interested in pursuing work in the health care field. Nurses have the training and unique skill sets to be able to deliver high-quality care to a wide variety of patients, while making a direct difference in their clinical outcomes. However, a nursing career can be demanding as well. Nurses, particularly ones who are just beginning their careers, often work long hours and have grueling schedules. In addition, they have to be adaptable and ready for whatever comes their way. For these reasons, it takes a special type of person to be a successful nurse.

If you are interested in a nursing career, it’s important to understand the job requirements as well as the traits that will help you along the way. The most effective nursing professionals share the following characteristics:

  • Excellent communication skills: For nurses, being able to communicate well is one of the most important skill sets to have. They frequently work directly with both patients and other medical professionals, which makes speaking and listening critical – both in terms of understanding patient needs and physicians’ care plans.
  • Empathy: Nurses should be empathetic toward their patients, providing comfort and explaining complicated medical terms when necessary. The hospital experience is often difficult for patients, and nurses serve the role of ally as well as care provider.
  • Detail-oriented: Nurses should pay close attention to the nuances of patient care. The smallest details can have far-reaching consequences when it comes to your patients’ health, so being able to take in a large amount of information and act on it is one of the characteristics of a great nurse.
  • Creative thinking and problem solving: Nurses frequently find themselves in surprising situations, especially in emergency or trauma care. They have a short time to make care decisions that can be life-or-death, so being able to thinking creatively and make the right decision quickly is important. Successful nurses are always prepared for the unexpected.

Now that you know what it takes to be a nurse, take our quiz to find out which nursing career path may be right for you.

Do I Have What It Takes to be a Nurse? [QUIZ]

Your ideal Saturday involves:

To study for an important exam, you:

Your favorite kind of dinner plans are:

When you are stressed out, you:

Your ideal vacation would be:

In your group of friends, you are:

What population are you most comfortable interacting with?

Which word best describes you?

Nursing Career Paths

Depending on your results from the quiz, you may be well-suited for a specific nursing specialty, from education to research and more. The following are just some of the many career options available in the nursing field, according to Discover Nursing.

  • Patient care and advocacy: Nurse advocates are responsible for serving as a liaison between physicians and patients. They help patients understand their illness and treatment so that they can make informed decisions about their health. If the patient disagrees with a doctor’s treatment choices, the nurse advocate’s role is to be the patient’s voice in the clinical setting.
  • Administration and leadership: Clinical nurse leaders are tasked with overseeing “the integration of care for a specific set of patients as well as the medical team they work with,” according to Discover Nursing. They work with care teams to determine treatment plans and evaluate outcomes. This role is what is known as “advanced generalist,” meaning nurse leaders have a deep understanding of general medicine rather than one specific area of specialty.
  • Research: Nurse researchers work in a scientific setting, conducting research to drive innovation in the nursing field. They might “design studies, analyze data, and report their results” along with writing grants to fund research, Discover Nursing explains. This career path is critical for making new discoveries that shape the future of nursing.
  • Nurse education: Nurse educators play the important role of preparing the next generation of nurses to provide excellent patient care. They teach students who are studying for their nursing degree, often in continuing education settings. This career path involves designing academic curriculum and evaluating student performance.

Concordia University, St. Paul offers an online RN to BSN designed for registered nurses who are interested in deepening their knowledge of nursing practice and advancing their careers. It combines theoretical inquiry and practical application to give students insight into ethics, evidence-based practice, collaboration, care coordination, community health and more. Coursework prepares students to be leaders and lifelong learners in the nursing field.