Given the current state of our economy, I’m pretty sure no one would mind some additional tips for success. Our nursing profession is not exempt. While there is this supposed “nursing shortage,” climbing the nursing corporate ladder is still challenging.

A successful nurse isn’t the one who is the most popular, the highest paid or even at the top of the decision-making tree. I believe a successful nurse is one who makes an impact on his or her patient’s care. A successful nurse accomplishes the goal shared by every nurse by advocating for patients when they need it the most. And such a nurse would never admit to being “successful,” because he or she is simply doing his or her job. Here are seven habits that some of the most successful nurses posses:

  1. They Pay Attention to Detail. They notice everything, down to the smallest detail. Everything from the overflowing trashcan in a patient’s room to the outdated IV tubing, all the way down to the error on their home medication list. Not only do they recognize the details, but they address them in the most timely manner. They leave nothing to chance.
  2. They Don’t Take Shortcuts. Shortcuts are those dastardly things that reduce time spent by skipping steps. Most would admit that shortcuts are harmless and ultimately are for the good of the whole process, but the most successful nurses will not only never take a shortcut, but also they will be the first to correct another nurse’s. Patient safety cannot be ensured when any step is skipped. Period.
  3. They Never Rush. For some strange reason, they are never hurried. They are deliberate and defined in everything they do, down to the smallest detail. No matter how much of a madhouse the day may reveal, the most successful never let their feathers get ruffled. And they just keep smiling.
  4. They Never Stop Learning. It doesn’t matter how many years they’ve been nurses, it doesn’t matter how many different areas of nursing they have experienced, it doesn’t matter how vast their education extends–their minds are always open to learning. No matter how small or how minute, they are willing and wanting to always learn something new, even if it’s simply a new way of doing something they already know how to perform.
  5. They Dress for Success. Whether they’re wearing their scrubs or their professional attire, it’s crisp, clean and sharp. Some may go far enough to iron or press their employer-required scrubs. They take pride in how they look, but you’ll never see them “gussied up” in any way. They’re always professional.
  6. They’re Timely. They rewrote the book on attendance. Being prompt is not just commonplace to them, but also their habits rub off on those they work with. Even in the worst of weather conditions, they show up early or right on time. The postal service has nothing on them!
  7. They Volunteer. They make themselves available whenever possible. If they can, they volunteer to take that extra shift. If time permits, they’re happy to stay past their shift. Need someone to come in early? They’ll do their best to help out. They’ll be the first to volunteer their time to be the preceptor for the new employee. They’ll be happy to have that student shadow them for the day. They do it because they enjoy it, not because they feel obligated.