What Goes Into The Making of A Great Nurse

Nurses play a complex and critical role in all major healthcare settings. They are trained to have sound medical knowledge, carry out a variety of technical duties and are expected to exhibit outstanding interpersonal skills. Their job duties are varied and no two days on the job are alike.

But what goes into the making of a great nurse? How does a nurse transition from being merely adequate at their job to excelling and becoming a great nurse?

What makes a good nurse?

Being a good nurse doesn’t just entail going to a good school and graduating with good grades. A good nurse is required to meet certain basic requirements.

These include:

  • A high degree of responsibility
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • An understanding and appreciation for family values
  • Respect for human dignity
  • Honesty and integrity
  • A desire to mitigate and prevent suffering
  • A high degree of intellect

Typically, if a nurse can meet these requirements and exhibit these skills on the job, they are considered to be a good nurse.

But being merely good isn’t good enough. What is required in order for a nurse to become great?

How to become a great nurse

Becoming a great nurse requires effort above and beyond meeting the acceptable requirements discussed above.

Greatness in the nursing profession can be achieved by:

  • Constantly seeking to expand upon existing knowledge
  • Being compassionate
  • Being empathetic
  • Developing a sense of self-awareness
  • Being selfless

Straight from the Nurses Mouth

Everyone has differing opinions on what it takes to make the transition from being simply a good nurse to a great nurse. To get more insight into the many things that can be done in order to become better at what they do, we asked a number of nurses what goes into the making of a great nurse.

A Nurse is as good as their Assessment Skills. It’s very easy to just go through the motions when in a hectic setting. This can cause Nurses to miss important details as part of their assessment that could indicate a larger concern. To that end Empathetic Listening makes a good nurse great - Amelia Roberts BSN RN


In my opinion it's empathy! Being able to recognize emotions in others and being able to put ourselves in our client's shoes. As nurses we are in the profession of caring for people. How can we truly care for our clients if we don't understand what they are going through? - Meesha Carey, RN, Clinical Manager, BAYADA Home Health Care


A great nurse can not only multitask well but can anticipate the needs of the patient before they even know what their needs are. This comes from experience. It also saves the nurse time so she/he isn't running around performing small tasks but instead has more time to devote to patient care and education. It is a win/win for both parties. There is also something innate about a great nurse vs. a good nurse which cannot be quantified. It is the notes from my patients that read; You treated us like family, thank you that keep me going and distinguish between competence and excellence - Aubrey Richardson Registered Nurse at NYU Langone


Having worked with many physicians and nurses, what makes a nurse great is one who steps beyond the immediate responsibility of providing medical care, and delves into the secondary issues - like psychosocial (how is the patient doing emotionally, dealing with their illness), or caregiver-related (is the caregiver supported? Do they have the tools they need to be a strong support for the patient), and always checking in on these two issues. Can support groups be recommended? Can coping techniques be incorporated? An amazing nurse looks at the patient and caregiver as a whole, and how care can be provided from every angle Sharoni Billik, MBS, MBA, Sharoni Billik Healthcare Communications


In my opinion, what makes a good nurse great is a quality education and the ability to put it all together with critical thinking to assess and solve issues. In addition, the ability to lead by excellent example is also an asset. In practice, I have noticed that these things are very rare - Wendie A. Howland MN RN-BC CRRN CCM CNLCP LNCC


By building upon existing skills, a nurse can, through hard work and perseverance, become more than just a good nurse; they can become great.


Post Your Comments

* All Fields are Required