Nursing Skills Checklist to Land Higher Roles

nurses in clinic

The field of nursing is multi-dimensional. There are several types of nurses, from certified nursing assistants and advanced practice registered nurses to nursing leaders and managers. Each of these nursing occupations has a prominent role in delivering quality care.

Although the daily job responsibilities may vary, there are typical duties every nurse shares. These professionals are responsible for treating injuries and ailments, administering medication and understanding their side effects, preventing the spread of diseases, and educating patients about healthy lifestyle practices. These caregivers are also responsible for consoling patients and their families and bucking up patients in the ward to make them feel optimistic about their health.

Given this, nurses should have plenty of vital skills in their back pockets every time – some of these are crucial to thriving in the career. Learning and honing these skills help nurses progress in their professional lives and stay relevant in the constantly-evolving field. 

Let’s flesh out some of these skills:

Knowledge expansion

The field of nursing is continually in a state of flux – cutting-edge tech comes forth, and new medical procedures unfurl every other day. In this ever-evolving and developing field, staying abreast of the latest developments and constantly tweaking knowledge and skills is a vital personality trait for nurses.

Given this, nurses should pursue advanced degrees to expand the knowledge spectrum, brush up on skills, and stay updated with rapid transformations. Today, all the more so, with the aging baby boomer population and the growing susceptibility of the younger generation to new diseases, the demand for holistic care becomes even more crucial. For this reason, nurses such as FNPs, whose prime objective is to foster healthy lifestyles for individuals of all ages, should consider MSN FNP online programs to learn about preventive healthcare.

This way, nurses can manage restorative care and disease prevention and provide high-quality, equitable healthcare to families. Besides this, they can also get an accurate picture of the contemporary healthcare marketplace and gain high-level leadership skills to thrive in clinical settings.


There’s no denying that being in emotionally stressful environments such as hospitals can be nerve-wracking and upsetting for patients and their families. For instance, patients might suffer from acute anxiety over an impending surgery, experience exasperation because of the slow healing process, or irritation over unfulfilled needs.

Nursing homes

Nonetheless, nurses are in a prime position to help such patients and make them feel comfortable. By putting themselves in patients’ shoes, nurses can take notes of their emotional and mental suffering and comprehend the worries of the families. And since these professionals know what the patients go through and understand the medical procedures patients will undergo. They can use this vital information to clarify the next medical steps and reassure the patients.

Additionally, there are times when nurses have to experience patients and families overcome with heartaches and sorrow. Although such interactions can be challenging, every patient deserves empathy and compassion. Here, it’s the responsibility of nurses to practice patience during such circumstances and convey information graciously.

Critical thinking

In the life of nurses, no two days are the same. The fact is, these professionals continually come across several patients with different symptoms and varying health conditions. In addition, patients’ medical needs change all the time. Some patients might experience unusual symptoms or have an adverse reaction to medications or treatments.

And while studying medical knowledge and clinical information is one thing, using this critical information in practical situations is another. So, nurses should be critical thinkers and be able to think on their feet to deal with all that comes their way. For example, there are instances when a patient’s condition changes all of a sudden. These circumstances necessitate nurses to put their clinical instructions on the ground, figure out complex factors, and continue providing quality care.

Besides developing self-sufficiency to determine the best course of action, these professionals should also know when to refer the medical issue to the appropriate medical team member. And this often requires accurate interpretation of data and findings and multifaceted problem-solving.


Effectively communicating is undoubtedly the single most essential skill for every workplace. All the more so when it comes to the healthcare field. Regardless of which nursing role an individual winds up in, either working in a labor room, general ward, or with the frantic trauma team, communication can be a matter of life and death.

Too often, nurses need to elucidate the treatment plans for the patients and answer their queries. Not only this, but they also need to condense the medical jargon into plain words and convey the information to the patients. Likewise, there might be times when nurses have to communicate unfortunate news to patients and their families, and this requires the ability to deliver the information accurately and compassionately. Thus, as a nurse, an individual should know how to articulate words and possess a strong command of body language.


Additionally, the responsibilities of a nurse include interacting with healthcare professionals, from doctors and administrators to technicians. Building a healthy rapport with each is critical for career success.

Attention to detail

Patients and their loved ones entrust healthcare professionals and believe in their competency. And perhaps that’s the reason why they never expect that healthcare professionals would overlook any aspect of the care. But unfortunately, there are times when even the slightest mistake or negligence from the end of healthcare professionals devastates the patient’s health and leaves negative repercussions. 

For this reason, it’s pivotal for nurses to develop strong attention to detail skills – they must ensure to perform tasks right from the first time. Additionally, these caregivers should pay close attention to every step – from documenting to providing treatment plans. Doing so will leave no room for errors, increasing patient satisfaction. 

Besides, nurses should ensure proper administration of medicines – correct dosages at the right time. Their duties include verifying the batch numbers, serial numbers, and expiration dates and pinpointing if something seems off.

Final Words

Although nurses step into this incredibly gratifying field with clinical knowledge to deliver optimum care, they tend to develop certain qualities essential for the nursing profession with time. Continued education, years of experience, and self-reflection, in tandem with the ability to accept constructive remarks, enable nurses to refine their capabilities.

By developing and honing the key traits, nurses deliver quality patient care and become confident in their decisions. And while honing the essential skill set is critical, so are other demanding aspects of this profession. For instance, nurses who let their guards down and connect with patients compassionately help create a comfortable environment for patients, boosting the healing process. Likewise, nurses who forge strong connections with co-workers help build a healthy, collaborative work environment.

Altogether, nurses with a unique blend of technical skills and social and emotional abilities are better poised to deliver exemplary care and make a breakthrough in their careers.