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Skills Required for Nursing: Crucial Skills to Improve Your Patient Care

Last updated:
11th Feb, 2021
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Skills Required for Nursing: Crucial Skills to Improve Your Patient Care

The pandemic made the whole world realize the importance of our healthcare workers. During the start of the pandemic, India was facing a shortage of nurses as many had migrated to the US or the UK. 

Since the demand for nurses is ever-increasing, it is an ideal career option for candidates who wish to enter this field. However, to become a competent nursing professional, you must develop the necessary skills this field requires. 

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In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most essential nursing skills so that you can start your learning journey right away!

Soft Skills Required for Nursing

While it is crucial for nurses to possess a diverse range of technical skills, you can’t become a nurse without developing certain soft skills.

Recruiters always stay on the lookout for candidates who have the following soft skills: 

1. Empathy

One of the most important skills required for nursing professionals is the ability to practice empathy. Empathy refers to the ability of understanding and sharing others’ feelings and emotions. 

As a nurse, you should be able to understand your patient’s situation and what they are going through. An empathetic nurse would listen to their patient and engage with them through unbiased, honest, and open communication. Having this skill will not only make you an excellent nurse but also show your patients that they are in good hands. 

2. Communication

The success of your job as a nurse would depend heavily on how effective a communicator you are. Proper communication skills help you interact with patients, doctors, and their families with ease. You should know how to decipher your patient’s feelings through listening and understanding their body’s cues. Similarly, you should know how to share vital information with a patient’s family. 

Apart from verbal communication, you should be well versed in written communication as well. This means you should know how to write information in a concise, precise, and clear manner. Being able to determine when you should use jargon is another skill you can focus on mastering. 

3. Networking

Networking is a vital skill for nurses as it helps you collaborate with others in the field and advance your career. You should know how to interact with senior professionals and expand your professional network. A report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that more than 70% of jobs are found through professional networking so you must focus on developing this skill to advance your career. 

By expanding your network, you will not only improve your career advancement prospects but also get a chance to learn new things from your peers and seniors. 

4. Time Management and Organization

Time management and organization go hand-in-hand. Time management skills are vital because they let you organize your tasks at hand and mitigate the stress of your job. It is a particularly crucial skill for nurses who work in the ICU (intensive care unit) or ER (emergency room) as they are highly time-sensitive.  

Organization skills enhance your efficiency in the workplace and help you in prioritizing your tasks. With proper organization skills, you can learn to multitask and juggle different things simultaneously.

The discipline of time management and organization will help you in tackling emergencies and last-minute changes in your schedule. They will reduce the risk of stressing out and making errors as you’d know how to handle the situation and the pending tasks. 

Nursing Skills According to Role

There are many kinds of roles in the nursing sector and they all have different work environments and responsibilities. In the following section, we have pointed out the different responsibilities and skills each of these nursing roles require so you can develop the necessary skills accordingly. 

By keeping the requisite skills in mind, you can choose the right training courses that will help you bag the desired role. Also, the following list will help you choose which nursing specialization is the best fit for you. 

1. Nursing Skills for ER Nurses

The only place in a hospital that’s more hectic than an ICU is the emergency room. Working in this setting requires you to be mentally and emotionally resilient. That’s why you should focus on developing the following skills for this role:

  • Being able to handle and cope with challenging situations.
  • Being able to stay calm and collected in a hectic environment.
  • Being able to think logically and rationally in emotionally stressful settings.
  • Experience in handling sensitive situations (mental disorder, physical abuse, etc.) with compassion.

2. Nursing Skills for Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners handle more responsibilities than a registered nurse. Due to this, nurse practitioners must possess both niche and general nursing skills. Primarily, you should know how to make quick decisions and handle patients without needing supervision or guidance.

Some skills you must develop for this role are:

  • Knowing how to implement preventive care strategies.
  • Experience in diagnosis and issuing prescriptions.
  • Being able to work independently in a clinic.
  • Familiarity with chronic illnesses and knowing how to handle them.

3. Nursing Skills for ICU Nurses

Being an ICU nurse is among the most stressful and hectic jobs out there. Due to the fast-paced and sensitive nature of this role, you must develop strong critical thinking and presence of mind.

Recruiters look for the following qualities while hiring an ICU nurse:

  • Familiarity with ICU-related technical skills (administering IVs, tracheostomy care, inserting central lines, and assessing neurological activity).
  • Being able to evaluate multiple patients and respond accordingly.
  • Experience in teamwork and collaboration.
  • Knowing how to communicate vital information to the patients’ families.

4. Nursing Skills for Registered Nurses

Registered nurses act as the medium between doctors and the patients, their families, and the nursing assistants. This role requires you to have strong managerial and communication abilities because you’ll have to manage nursing assistants and guide them.

Specifically, you should have the following skills as a registered nurse:

  • Knowing how to dress wounds, help doctors in medical procedures, and administer medication.
  • Knowing how to perform diagnosis and evaluate diagnostic tests.
  • Being able to manage nurse assistants.
  • Manage patient charts.
  • Being able to communicate properly with patients and their families.

5. Nursing Skills for Nursing Assistants

Nursing assistants report to Registered Nurses (RNs) and provide patient care. As a nursing assistant, you must know how to care for patients and follow the specified directions.

That’s why the prominent skills required for nursing assistants are:

  • CPR and first-aid.
  • Understanding the best nursing practices and guidelines.
  • Being able to take and record vital signs.
  • Patient care skills (dressing, feeding, bathing, etc.).

How to Learn the Skills Required for Nursing?

There are very few jobs that offer as much flexibility as nursing does. As a nurse, you’d have the option to create your schedule and choose your location. Nurses can work in urban and suburban hospitals, government agencies, healthcare clinics, physicians’ offices, schools, and even cruise ships and resorts. 

It’s one of the most sought-after professions. The best way to learn the various nursing skills is by enrolling in a certification program. A certification course will teach you all the required skills for this profession and act as valid proof of your competence and expertise.


When you apply for a nursing role, you should strike a balance between your hard and soft skills. Being able to treat patients with compassion and solve workplace emergencies with critical thinking is just as important as knowing the technical know-how. 

Recruiters prefer candidates who can work efficiently in a fast-paced situation. You should keep in mind the nursing role you’re applying for as their work settings vary substantially and so do the required skills. 


Sandeep Pereira

Blog Author
Responsible for working with the various teams and other management to establish long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies and set up new programs at upGrad. With a demonstrated history of working in the EdTech industry.
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