Although the physician treats the disease, the nurse is the healthcare provider that treats the patient. First and foremost, nurses assess and care for the patients’ needs, emotional responses and define the barriers to care. As patient advocates, the nurse is the coordinator of the patient’s medical care, family interactions, other healthcare providers and the physician’s orders. Although nurses practice in hospitals, skilled nursing centers, medical centers and outpatient clinics, those who have committed themselves to the service of the community continue to demonstrate similar attributes that are indicative of successful careers in nursing.

    The most important quality for a nurse is to embody empathy. According to the study Empathy of the Quality of Care, empathy is a multidimensional concept that enables the caregiver to identify, share emotions and provide care for the patient in distress. The basic definition of nursing is caring and empathy is at the core of nursing.
    Nurses perform patient assessments, manage medical equipment and administer medication. The nurse’s role has a zero tolerance for error where the smallest mistake may result in a life-threatening event. Nurses provide detailed documentation and pay close attention to the transcription of physician orders. Those who are oriented to the finest details in patient care are superior in the nursing field.
    Nurses provide care for and interact with people of various ages, multicultural backgrounds and specific needs and requirements. According to the study Magnet Environments for Professional Nursing Practices, nurses of excellence take the time to listen, understand and protect the patient’s cultural beliefs.
    The best nurses use experience, scientific knowledge, and instinct when assessing patients. Intuition in nursing is defined as the immediate understanding of a problem without the necessity of conscious thought. Nurses pick up on the smallest cues, nuances and seemingly unrelated patient statements that may render further investigation. Through intuition, superior nurses save lives and prevent further illness.
    Maintaining physical health is a vital part of enduring the stressful and high-energy demands of the nursing profession. Nurses lift heavy patients, move weighty medical equipment, and may spend 12 hours or more on their feet during a shift. Accomplished nurses observe a healthy diet and perform regular exercise.
    During the course of a work day, nurses need to be ready to handle difficult emergencies, be witness to human suffering, and experience stressful situations. Gifted nurses should be able to cope with these events well by using the power of their own spirituality or by accepting that life is a cycle of inevitable events.
    Nurses must be able to obtain autonomy through critical thinking skills that arm them with the ability to respond to the constant changes and needs of a patient in their charge. As nurses build on practical knowledge, gain experience and continue educational endeavors, the intellectually disciplined process allows the nurse to recognize possible patient problems. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, critical thinking is an important quality that allows nurses to take action and make referrals.
    Nurses lead the allied healthcare team and coordinates care with other providers. The top nurses effectively convey the patient’s requests and condition to other members of the medical team for optimal care, time management and efficiency.
    For nurses in any career field or specialty, patience is an integral part of success. Great nurses understand that patience can overcome anxiety, misunderstandings and help patients and colleagues feel empowered by good decisions.
    Successful nurses focus on the needs of their patients and provide the best possible care under any circumstances. These dedicated nurses continue to enhance their education, become leaders in their field, and teach novice nurses in their specialty.