Nursing is one of the fastest-growing fields in the US, with rewarding job prospects and higher salaries. Partly, it is due to an increase in the retiring nursing population leading to a demand for replacement. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a job outlook for Registered Nurses (RNs) to grow by 6% until 2031, with 195,400 new job openings annually. The median annual expected wage for a Registered Nurse was $77,600 in 2021, which has increased since Covid-19. Due to medical technology innovation and other developments in the field, the demand for individuals with a superior and more refined skillset is higher than before.
Moreover, healthcare will remain the primary demand of any nation, which means that nurses will never be out of a job. However, they must upscale and expand their skill set to meet the ever-changing healthcare conditions and challenges. Therefore, let us look at some vital skills nurses must equip themselves with.
Effective communication is one of the most sought-after nursing skills. Since nurses deal with patients and their families directly and coordinate with other medical professionals regularly, they will always need to engage in clear and professional communication.
Good communication can also place you ahead of the curve. You can develop good communication skills during your Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. If you are wondering how much ADN nurses make in the US, the average salary is $70,820. However, with a graduate degree, you can earn even more.
Good communication skills coupled with the right degree will land a nursing job easily, owing to the demand for skilled professionals in medical facilities across the US. Not only do nurses need to communicate effectively with patients, but they also have to collaborate with other nurses, doctors, and other team members. It will also allow for rapid career progression and holding higher positions such as the head nurse, nurse manager or administrator.
2. Ability to Multitask
Nurses mostly juggle multiple tasks at a time, especially in emergencies. They may have to monitor several patients simultaneously, assess medical histories and draw treatment plans for patients with contrasting needs. It can get very stressful and exhausting. Remaining professional and attentive to patient needs is necessary. It requires good emotional intelligence and social skills that the nurses hone during their program. They must remain empathetic while treating and dealing with patients. They may also have to head a team of nurses.
A good way to handle multiple tasks is to keep a clear mind and focus. You could also prioritize and time your tasks to make them easier for yourself.
3. Learn about Nursing Ethics
You must update yourself with the ethics of being a nurse to thrive in your career. The heart of nursing ethics lies in keeping your patient’s best interests at heart, maintaining patient confidentiality and following the medical facility’s code of conduct and ethics. It includes letting patients make decisions based on their values and beliefs that can stem from cultural, social or religious beliefs. It is important to keep an open mind as you will deal with all kinds of patients during your career. An important part of the nurse’s job is to act as their patient’s advocate. The four main principles of ethics include beneficence, autonomy, non-maleficence and justice.
You may even face ethical dilemmas that conflict with the code of ethics or your ethical values. In such a case, you may take the matter to the ethical board if your medical facility has one. Alternatively, suggest a different course acceptable to the patient or their family.
4. Prioritize Your Strength and Stamina
Nurses may have to work long hours and overtime, requiring immense physical and mental strength and stamina. Therefore, you must take special care of your health to fully focus on your patients.
The demands of hospital nursing and emergency wards are especially high for nurses as you can expect patients to come in at any time of the day and all day. You may find yourself running between patients pulling night shifts, and catching up on sleep whenever possible.
Even though being a nurse is difficult, you must schedule your working hours to get personal time. Meditation and yoga will help you stay calm and peaceful throughout the day. Eat healthy meals rich in protein and add fruits to your snacking routine. It will also improve your brain function.
5. Time Management
Nurses may have to spend the entire day on their feet, working overtime and pulling night shifts. It means that you will require exceptional time management skills. It also comes in handy when you have to multitask and prioritize your activities.
If you have a lot on your plate, reach your workplace earlier to get on top. If you hold a managerial position, try delegating the tasks correctly. If you see a nurse struggling with overwork in your team, consider distributing the workload evenly. Moreover, take short breaks whenever you can. Overworking yourself will make you less productive. Therefore, no matter how busy you get during the day, prioritize some time away for your overall health.
Like any other profession, work-life balance is equally essential in nursing jobs. Therefore, always try taking some time out for your family and friends.
Nursing is one of the most in-demand professions in the US. However, due to cut-throat competition and advancements in medical technologies, you have to upgrade your skills to get ahead of the curve and perform better at your job. These skills include clear and professional communication, multitasking, following the nursing code of ethics, prioritizing your health and highly effective time management. With a combination of the right abilities, knowledge, attitude, temperament and practices, you can ensure your patients are examined, treated, and cured properly and effectively. It will help you in expanding your expertise and furthering your career in a highly competitive world for a prosperous future.