Compassion and interpersonal skills are two of the top traits needed in this job
Being a Practical Nurse is an important career that makes a positive impact on people’s lives at a time when they need help the most. In this job, you will be expected to monitor patients’ vital signs, provide the basic care they need, help them with basic comforts, offer a listening ear, and communicate with their healthcare team about their needs.
What kind of qualities does it require to succeed in a job like this? The Occupational Outlook Handbook has listed 6 Key Qualities that are helpful to have if you are a practical nurse. Take a moment and consider where your strengths lie, and whether a career as a practical nurse makes sense for you.
Compassion: Having compassion and empathy for your patients is important in this line of work. Many times you will be working with patients who are undergoing a great deal of physical and emotional stress. They may be in pain, scared about their health, experiencing dementia, or going through a temporary or permanent disability. The ability to put yourself in their shoes and feel for them will help you be a better practical nurse.
Detail oriented: Keeping accurate track of details is a critical skill for any job that involves caring for patients, and this holds true for practical nurses. Delivering accurate care at the correct time is critical to the patients’ health. As a practical nurse, you may need to keep track of important details such as medication schedules, blood sugar levels, heart and oxygen rates, and other important details depending on your patients’ needs.
Interpersonal skills and communications skills: In a Practical Nurse job, you will need to have good communication skills. The job will require interacting with your patients and being able to communicate with them so that you can understand their needs. You will also have to interact with the other members of their healthcare team. You may need to tell them about your patient’s needs or concerns, or any changes in their health status. Being a “people person” is also helpful in developing a positive rapport with your patients and co-workers.
Patience: In this career, your job is to work with sick and injured people. This may mean they move slowly and need your help with basic tasks. This may mean they have dementia and are unable to communicate meaningfully with you. This may mean they call on you frequently for your help. For these reasons, it is important to develop patience and an understanding for the needs of your patients.
Physical strength and stamina: Because practical nurses work so closely with patients, they are often called upon to help patients move from their bed to a wheelchair, to reposition patients as their bedclothes are being changed, or to help them with bathing and getting dressed. These activities, plus the more routine activities of bending over to help patients, require a good deal of physical stamina.
If you are interested in becoming a Practical Nurse in New Hampshire, we encourage you to explore the program at the Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health. Located in Manchester, NH, our program is approved by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing, and accepts applications on a rolling basis.
Find out more about this rewarding career.