Successful nurses do things differently. In fact, think about your work place or the colleagues you have worked with over the span of your nursing career. Is there one or two people who stick out in your mind? Sure, I imagine that you are nodding along, smiling as you think about these special people.
What made them this way? What was it about this super successful nurse? How did he or she do things differently?
Before I start in on my top five list, I do want to point out that your measure of success needs to be defined. I do believe that each person values success in their own way.
Does success mean that you have a lot of money? Is it because you are powerful in the board room? What does a successful person look like? Act like? Is success knowing many people? Receiving respect and recognition from other nurses? So, let us all acknowledge that success may not look and feel the exact same way to every human being.
OK- that being said…
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1. They listen. Successful nurses are observant. When they walk into a patient’s room, they listen with their ears. And eyes, nose, feelings, and gut. You name it. They are present to their surroundings and pick up on subtle clues. A successful nurse not only trusts and uses the information received from the lab values and monitors, but they use their own critical thinking and assessment to evaluate the entire patient picture.
2. They ask. A successful nurse realizes that they do not know it all. In fact, a successful nurse is a lifelong learner. They are always asking questions. They exhibit a quality of curiosity. A successful nurse wants to understand all perspectives- the providers, the patients, the family, the team, etc. A nurse who is always asking questions is wondering “why”. They are challenging the way that it has always been done and use evidence to back up changes in practice.
3. They speak up. Nursing is a challenging career. Healthcare can be a difficult environment. Sometimes the nurse does not feel heard. Whether it is by their professional colleague or the nursing leadership itself- a nurse may feel small and underrecognized. This has got to stop. A successful nurse trusts their education and training. They know that they do provide value to the healthcare team. When a successful nurse sees something that is unsafe, they say something. Even if it means going out on a limb, risking the fact that they may stand alone.
4. They act. A successful nurse does not complain about the problems. Instead, they take action. They do not whine in the nurses’ station or complain to their nurse manager. The successful nurse joins the committee. Obtains a seat on the board. Becomes part of the solution. A successful nurse sets a target, makes a plan, and reaches his or her goals through action.
5. They are. A successful nurse feels comfortable being themselves. The successful nurse is present at work. They take care of their own health. They put their needs and well-being first. A successful nurse knows that it is actually a selfless act to think about themselves first, realizing that living in this way will actually help the lives of their patients that much more.
What did we miss? What are some of the things that successful nurses do? Leave a comment below so that we can discuss. Thanks for reading.
About the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the bestselling author of ‘Nursing from Within’, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.