Nurses are essential to a well-functioning healthcare system. According to the Journal of Nursing Regulation, there are 4 million registered nurses in the United States alone. Though nurses can have different specialties, levels of education and certification, common duties and responsibilities connect them all, such as:
- Coordinating treatment across healthcare teams
- Communicating with patients and their families
- Monitoring and assessing patients’ conditions
Nursing tools and skills help medical professionals carry out these essential practices to respond to patients’ needs quickly and effectively.
The Importance of Nurses
Nurses are often seen as being on the front line of the healthcare industry. Without well-trained nurses, healthcare would be disjointed and important steps in a patient’s care might be overlooked. Despite recent challenges in nursing, nurses navigate their work successfully using a toolbox of skills that keep patients in good care and medical teams functioning as one.
Some of the most essential skills and knowledge in that toolbox are:
- Communication skills
- Collaboration skills
- Conflict resolution
- Active listening
- Scientific knowledge
Which Nursing Tools Can Help Every Nurse Be Successful?
There are tangible tools that nurses know are important, such as comfortable scrubs and shoes and a quality stethoscope. Most other physical tools, though, are provided by the medical institution; what nurses uniquely bring to patient care and medical teams are elevated knowledge and skills gained through education and experience for expertise in the medical profession.
Below are some of the ins and outs of these essential nursing tools and why they matter when delivering the best patient care possible.
Nurses act as a communication hub between patients and medical teams, so whether they’re communicating verbally, in writing or through diligent note-taking and data-entry, a nurse’s ability to be clear, concise and compassionate greatly affects a patient’s experience.
Nurses use critical communication skills in their everyday tasks, such as when they:
- Assess patients
- Hand off patient care at the end of a shift
- Discuss a patient’s condition or care plan with the patient or their family
- Motivate and prepare staff to carry out tasks carefully and accurately
In each of these instances and many more, a nurse’s ability to communicate with clarity and compassion is key.
Nurses work on teams in what can be high-intensity circumstances. For well-educated, trained and energetic medical professionals, a high-intensity setting can bring out the best in people, sharpening their attention to detail and collaborative efforts.
For nurses, these efforts include:
- Developing positive relationships with colleagues
- Demonstrating self-awareness
- Practicing collaborative problem-solving, working with others to find research-backed solutions and innovative care options
- Taking a leadership role or supporting role as needed
Collaborative skills such as these are essential nursing tools – and can help resolve conflict, too.
It’s no secret that hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices can sometimes be stressful places for patients and their families, depending on what’s going on. Conflict resolution skills are essential for medical professionals communicating through these stressful moments, whether to share positive or challenging news or to offer a dissenting opinion to a teammate.
What is conflict resolution?
- Understanding others’ perspectives
- Knowing how to read and manage others, whether patients or colleagues
- Acting and reacting with diplomacy, patience and a calm demeanor
- Facilitating positive communication to resolve an issue
Active Listening, Empathy, and Scientific Knowledge
Conflict resolution, collaboration and communication are a “big three” when discussing a nurse’s essential toolbox of skills, but each relies on fundamental qualities that nurses possess and practice. These include:
- Active listening: Nurses should listen with great attention to detail, compassion and the organizational aptitude to follow up on what was shared. They engage emotional intelligence and scientific knowledge at the same time to carry out quality medical care.
- Empathy: For many nurses, answering the call to serve others is a main motivator for the work they do, so practicing empathy – or the ability to imagine and experience a circumstance or event from another person’s perspective – is essential to getting the job done.
- Scientific knowledge: Scientific knowledge is a body of knowledge created over time through research and discovery. Healthcare professionals study medicine to internalize that body of knowledge, use it in their daily medical practice and innovate beyond it during their careers.
Answer the Call to Serve Others with SAU’s Online MSN Programs
Whether entering patient care for the first time or advancing to the next level, every nurse needs a toolbox full of essential skills and knowledge. Medical education provides nurses with that toolbox to tackle everything from routine care to some of medicine’s most complex scenarios.
Spring Arbor University’s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs help dedicated healthcare professionals answer the call to serve others.
Explore Spring Arbor University’s MSN programs and advance your nursing career today.
American Nurses Association, What Is Nursing?
American Nurse Journal, “Fostering Soft Skills is a Must for Nurse Leaders”
CASEL, “What Is the CASEL Framework?”
Indeed, “10-Must-Have Skills For Your Nursing Resume”
Indeed Career Guide, “13 Important Nursing Responsibilities”
Journal of Nursing Regulation, “The 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey”
Reproducibility and Replicability in Science, “Scientific Methods and Knowledge”