Top 10 Qualities of a Nurse with Explanations

Qualities of a nurse

Most people appreciate the nurses do not have an easy job. To become the best in the nursing field, you need to be exceptional.

They need a lot of experience, a focus on continually developing their skills, and a thirst for knowledge.

What separates a good nurse from a great nurse is more than just their practical experience; the personality is equally important because nurses are asked to fill a wide variety of roles.

To progress up the nursing ladder, and you’ll have to exhibit a specific skill set.

This article will present you with the top 10 qualities of a nurse. Let’s get started.

But wait, if you rather prefer information provided in video format, here’s a quick video for you about the top 8 qualities of a nurse.

Video made by Life As Wendy RN

This article will cover the topic more in-depth, so I recommend you to keep on reading, whether you did watch that video or not.

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Top 10 qualities of a good nurse

Qualities of a good nurse

Here are the qualities you will need to be considered as a good nurse, nurse leader, nurse practitioner, and nurse manager


To be a good nurse, you have to have understanding. You will need to be able to feel and show compassion to comfort patients who are suffering.

See also: Why Compassion Is Important in Nursing?

Many nurses will tell you that they go through phases of compassion fatigue, even the best of them.

Learning to recognize and deal with these symptoms effectively is just part of the job.

Be flexible

If you’re not flexible, nursing may not be the career for you.

See also: Is Nursing for Me – With a Quiz

Without being prepared for this, the ability to change your plans on the spot is essential to successful nursing.

Understanding that the responsibilities of a nurse and working hours are subject to change at a minute’s notice. People in the medical profession will be expected to work late, on the weekends, and do lots of overtime.

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Exhibit excellent communication skills

The ability to communicate effectively is an essential skill needed to be successful in any career; nursing is no different.

To become a good nurse, you will need to be able to listen and speak effectively.

Seamlessly transfer information such as patient feedback and communicate with both families and patients to solve problems effectively.

Maintain emotionally stability

There are times when nursing can be extremely stressful, especially when dealing with traumatic situations.

To become a good nurse, you need to have the ability to accept death and suffering without taking it personally.

This is not the saying that all nursing is all dark days.

There are so many heartwarming moments to go with a heart-wrenching.

Watching a patient recover under your care, and seeing them reunite with her family is one of the significant benefits of doing this job.

See also: How Can Nurses Improve Patient Outcomes?

Remain focused

As you can understand, if you work in the medical profession, there is no margin for error.

A great nurse works on her attention to detail and is always careful never to skip any essential steps.

From remembering the ins and outs of a specific case, to carefully correcting or reading a patient’s chart, nothing can be left to chance.

See also: Why Do You Want to Be a Nurse Interview Question

Be a people person

Nurses often act as the conduit between patients under doctors. This isn’t always the most straightforward job in the world.

See also: How Many Nurse Practitioners Can a Physician Supervise?

To be a good nurse, you will have to have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work with a wide variety of people.

Remain physically fit

Qualities of a nurse: physically fit

To be a great nurse, you need to be physically and mentally fit. You’re going to have to perform physical tasks and remain standing for long periods frequently.

Keeping your body healthy and strong, and eating healthy foods when you’re not at work will help.

Ability to problem solve

Great nurses can see issues even before they arise, think, and act quickly to address these issues.

When you’re dealing with emergencies, traumas, and sick patients, you’re going to encounter many tricky situations.

Respond quickly

The best nurses can think on their feet and respond quickly in case of an emergency.

Sometimes this could be the difference between life and death; nurses should always be prepared to face the unexpected.


When working in the medical profession, especially as a nurse, you need to understand that there are rules, regulations, and a chain of command you need to follow.

This has to be respected, whether you like it or not.

Qualities of a nurse leader

As more and more experienced nurses are retiring, many positions are being left unfilled.

Nurses need effective leaders.

The nursing profession is experiencing a massive influx of inexperienced nurses. Up to 50% of the nursing pool has only a handful of years of experience behind them.

This is why we need to work towards cultivating the next generation of nursing leaders.

Here are the qualities required to be a nursing leader.


Your integrity will help you make the right decisions about patient care.

Maintaining this integrity should be one of the primary objectives of a nursing leader, especially in others.


While you’re training to be a nurse leader, you’re going to be exposed to the inner workings of the patient-nurse dynamic.

You will be expected to develop your trainee’s skills and their ability to engage with patients.


As a nursing leader, you will be expected to lead by example, guiding many green and unpolished nurses, helping them to think critically, and develop decision-making skills.

This is becoming increasingly important in a healthcare environment that increasingly demands multidisciplinary collaboration.


Nursing leaders will work with or near many trainees and help them develop emotional intelligence.

Qualities of a nurse: emotional intelligence

This will help them deal with future stressful situations and can directly impact how they deal with these and routine challenges.

Leading by example is essential.


To be successful as a nursing leader, you have to lead by example. You need to be fully accredited and exhibit a passion and purpose that exemplify your domain.

You also need to be responsible, honest, and useful.


Nurse leaders need the ability to remain professional, and they need to be confident as well as competent.

You are the professional face of nursing within your organization, and when representing the nursing field, you need to maintain this through every point of contact.


To be a practical nurse leader, you have to have the respect of everyone in your charge.

To achieve this, you need to have open lines of communication, promote a workplace where everyone activity engages with each other positively and productively.


A nurse leader needs to exhibit the ability to interact with and successfully strategize to deal with the individual personalities of all their charges.

It’s essential to cultivate a continual environment of learning and excellence.

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Qualities of a good nurse leader

As we explained above, there are several qualities of a nurse that you need to be a nurse leader.

But what conditions will you need to take the next step up, to be a good nurse leader:

  1. Clarity: Communicate your vision, be concise and transparent at all times. There should be no ambiguity and no opportunity for others to question your decisions
  2. Decisiveness: Once you make a decision, expect everyone else to get on board. When you show clarity and consistency in your decision-making, people will follow you.
  3. Courage: It is impossible to be a leader in the nursing field without having courage. This is something you can develop if you’ve not been blessed with it.
  4. Passion: The best leaders do so by example, never be afraid to hide the passion and energy you needed to get to this position in the first place, as it will always inspire others
  5. Humility: Confidence will help you be a very effective nurse leader. Humility is also equally attractive, showing the courage to admit when you’re wrong will endear you to everyone under your charge.

These were the top 13 qualities of a nurse leader.

Next, let’s take a look at the qualities of nurse practitioners.

Qualities of a nurse practitioner

A nurse practitioner will be expected to have a multitude of tributes and skills, including all those of good nurses; these include communication, problem-solving, hard skills, soft skills, and exceptional people skills.

But these are just the baseline qualities of a nurse practitioner.

You will need to be more than only the top of your class, but having a quantifiable certification in education is a good start.

We need to take this experience and knowledge and blend it with empathy, active listening, communication, and interpersonal skills.

Getting this right will help both your employers and patients optimal productive outcomes.

Qualities of a pediatric nurse

Pediatric nursing is a little different from every other form of nursing because you have to deal with sick and distressed children and their families.

You will need all the qualities of a nurse and more.

You will need the x-factor.

The ability to know when you need to take time out of your day to spend with a child needs some extra TLC.

You will need to be able to communicate effectively with the child’s carers or parents to tell them exactly what level of treatment their child will need at home.

High levels of empathy, sensitivity, and respect are probably the three most important characteristics for pediatric nurses.

See also: Pediatric Nurse Interview Questions

Qualities of a nurse manager

The role of a nurse manager is both demanding and complex.

You have to master the ability to work with a range of people, most of whom have different personalities, skills, and education.

You need to be able to mold these into a team that can provide the highest quality patient care possible, and this is not a simple task.

When it comes to the performance of your nurses, you have to accept responsibility. You also need to learn to juggle financial management, patient outcomes, and successful resource utilization.

While never forgetting that all care is administered under your supervision, it has to follow both organizational policy and standards of practice.

See also: How Can Nurses Influence Policy?

Nurse managers require a level of experience that surpasses most in their field.

This will allow them to provide effective leadership and ensure that their department runs the smoothie and acts as the best role model for her staff.

See also: Interview Questions for Assistant Nurse Manager

Conclusion: Qualities of a Nurse

As you can see, there is a clear path from being an excellent nurse to being a good nurse manager.

Many of the skills needed to effectively manage others are learned the hard way after 48 hours on call in the trauma unit.

I hope this article will help clarify some of the traits needed to have a successful nursing career.

Now that you know all about the qualities of a nurse, check out these related articles of ours:

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About Ida Koivisto, BSN, RN, PHN

Ida is both a registered nurse and public health nurse. Her passion is to provide as much valuable information about nursing to the world as possible. In her spare time from work and blogging, Ida loves to work out at the gym and spend time with relatives.