Personality traits of a good nurse

nurse taking appointment

Nurses work at the heart of the health system, which requires them to meet the needs of every patient with exceptional care. In addition to attaining the required nursing degree and certification, there are several qualities that a good nurse possesses, which are invaluable to hospitals and the general health system. 


While this may seem pretty obvious, caring for others does not come naturally for some people. Practitioners face challenging situations regularly, and their jobs require them to care for patients in their most vulnerable state. Between balancing physical demands, emotional moments, and working under high pressure, a caring personality becomes the pillar of providing effective services. 

Furthermore, having a caring attitude makes all the difference to patients and helps them remain optimistic about their quick recovery. Moreover, this is one of the traits that can propel the success of one’s career, and you are more likely to get promoted to managerial levels. 

Effective communication

Strong communication is key in the medical field since the patients’ lives are at stake. A good nurse should be able to communicate with patients, their families, and other nurses. Ineffective communication can lead to medical errors or negligence of patients. To avoid such cases, it is important to practice communication skills such as active listening, written communication, and as well as nonverbal communication. 


An empathetic nurse will try and understand things from the patient’s point of view. Empathy can also be shown by listening to the patient’s concern without interrupting or interjecting with medical facts. Asking for patients’ opinions on what they think might be causing their illness is also another form of empathy. Generally, empathy involves imagining what you would expect if the roles were reversed. 

Attention to details

When working under immense pressure, it can be hard to capture some minor details, which often turn out to be critical. Professional nurses are trained to use essential judgment to provide the highest quality care. Paying close attention to details is crucial when keeping medical records and developing a care plan to avoid making errors. In the nursing field, a single mistake can have severe consequences. Therefore being detail-oriented is a key personal trait that determines the success of a nurse. 

Willingness to learn

Learning in the nursing field is a continuous process. Going through the education system and obtaining the necessary documentation is an obvious requirement. However, you get to learn more in the working environment, seeing that nurses have to handle new cases every day. The openness to learn from your peers or advanced nurses is key to growing your knowledge and expertise.

nightshift nurse

Besides, as a new graduate looking to advance your career in nursing, this trait will help propel you to take the next step. Fortunately, with the accessibility of online learning, you can take up a Master’s class or any nursing course online, such as those offered by Baylor University, while still working. 

Time management

Time is one of the limiting constraints when you are dealing with multiple patients and trying to handle emergencies with varying vitality. As a nurse, effective time management is a vital personality trait that will help you allocate time depending on priorities. Setting time to catch a breath is also important as it gives you time to keep your emotions in check. Taking a few minutes some time to decompress helps you make informed decisions. 


Although most nurses start their careers caring for patients, there is always an option to advance to managerial/ leadership roles. However, this transition requires adequate training and experience, which can take years. Nonetheless, it is easy for nurses who possess leadership skills to advance faster since they are likely to get support from their peers and those already in managerial positions. If you are interested in this career path, you can seek mentorship and take time to learn how to exercise leadership. 

Patient advocacy

In addition to developing treatment and medication plans, a good nurse advocates for his/her patients. Most patients in hospitals tend to be disoriented and are often unable to speak up for themselves. Having a nurse who can ensure that such patients get the best medical care helps create a comfortable environment for the patients. 


Nurses work in shifts, and often it is possible to be called in on your days off. In this case, you must stay flexible to work nights, weekends, and holidays. Also it is also essential to be flexible in taking up different roles. A nurse’s day is very unpredictable, and you can never be sure of the illness and injuries you will be required to handle. However, being flexible will help you handle whatever the day throws your way.


To become an excellent nurse, understanding yourself is vital. Understandably, the nursing work environment is not a ‘one fits all’ option. Some nurses find satisfaction in the long-term one-on-one attention they give their patients in home care settings, such as caring for the elderly

On the other hand, some nurses work great under pressure handling patients in emergency wards. When you are self-aware about which work setting best suits you, you are better positioned to handle your job excellently. Moreover, it is easy to be best at your work when handling tasks that suit your personality, interests, and priorities. 


When upheld by all related parties, respect is a core value that creates a healthy work environment. A good nurse respects all coworkers, patients, and families while at the same time maintaining healthy boundaries. A respectful nurse demonstrates mindfulness for rules, confidentially, and high regard for the information shared by the patients. When working in a home care setting, it is crucial to understand the patient and the family members to work in line with their desires respectfully. Respecting the patient’s lifestyle, environment, and beliefs is also essential. 


Despite the critical condition of the patient, showing a positive attitude goes a long way to helping patients. Emotional support is key in enhancing a patient’s overall well-being. A patient is more likely to be open and relaxed when dealing with a kind and optimistic nurse.