Jeremy Ohara

Jeremy Ohara

Characteristics of Successful Nurses: Do You Have What It Takes?

  Jan 30, 2024
Reviewed by Ravinder Kaur

Successful Nurses

In case you are thinking that being a natural caregiver, loving helping people, and being genuinely passionate about the medical space, these points are enough for you to become a successful nurse, then you are absolutely so far behind to step into this profession.  

Keep in mind that working as a healthcare professional can be arduous, the hours can be long, and your patients – to put it bluntly – can be demanding. 

But, if you can demonstrate that you have the core characteristics every good nurse should possess, you could be well on your way to a successful nursing career. 

Despite this, you need to ask yourself if you have what it takes. So, do you have what it takes? Let’s find out.

Being a Successful Nurse: What Does It Take?

Being a competent and successful nurse takes more than just having a formal qualification, especially if you’re aspiring to become a leader in your field. 

Obtaining a Doctor of Nursing Practice, for example, can prepare you for a multitude of different DNP leadership roles – including in upper management or C-suite positions. 

If you’re qualified to become a nursing leader, some of the roles that could be available to you include:

  • Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)
  • Chief Nursing Executive (CNE)
  • Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
  • Nurse Manager

But even if you’re aiming for the upper echelons of nursing leadership, or you are satisfied with employment as a registered nurse (RN), there are certain characteristics that you need to develop. 

Nursing Shortage Statistics

Essential Nurse Characteristics: Which Ones Do I Need?

If you’re wondering what some of the key qualities of a good nurse are, you need to ask yourself:

Am I A Team Player?

Being able to work cooperatively and collaboratively in a team is central to a role in nursing. 

As a nurse, you will be called upon to contribute to collective goals, and you will need to be able to work together with others to achieve them. 

Being able to follow instructions and take directions from your managers is a central component of this. 

So, if you’re not a team player, the sad news is that you are unlikely to be successful as a nurse. 

On the other hand, if you tend to work well with those around you, this career could be for you. 

Am I A Competent Communicator?

Just like teamwork, effective communication is a key quality for any nursing professional. 

You need to be able to get your point across, as well as be able to actively listen, and understand the perspectives of others. 

After all, you won’t just be communicating with your teammates, but you’ll also be required to have close interactions with the patients you are treating. 

As part of your nursing studies, you’ll learn how to navigate cultural differences and issues of diversity, which are significant factors when communicating with a variety of sufferers. 

Do You Know? 
One study that fitted working hospital nurses with pedometers found that nurses walk an average of 4 to 5 miles in a 12-hour shift

Am I Empathetic, Respectful, and Compassionate?

Treating your patients with dignity and respect is a large part of delivering compassionate care as a nurse. 

Likely, your cases will be in compromised and vulnerable positions, and they will be dependent on you to administer their treatments. 

Despite this, it is vital for nurses to still hold their patients in high regard, and to have empathy for their situations. 

We are all human after all, and we all deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion.

Am I Able to Act with Integrity?

Acting with integrity means advocating for your patients, and always having their best interests at heart. 

For nurses, then, being armed with a strong moral compass is vital to be able to perform effective patient advocacy, and to ensure the best outcomes for your sufferers. 

Am I Able to Think Critically?

Analyzing surroundings, problem-solving, and troubleshooting are not skills that everyone possesses. 

If you are aspiring to be a nurse, however, you’ll need to be able to display these qualities. 

Developing these capabilities will also help you to make strategic decisions at work and to navigate any tricky situations that arise.

Am I Willing to Learn?

Willingness to learn will get you far in life therefore, grabbing knowledge in the medical profession will make you especially capable as a nurse. 

Observe and learn from others, undertake workplace training, and never hesitate to ask questions. 

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – after all, this is how you learn. 


Successful nurses possess a variety of key characteristics that contribute to their effectiveness in caring for patients such as a genuine sense of compassion, communicating politely with victims, resolving problems, and having the required knowledge of the medical field. 

Keep in mind that the profession you admire is not a cup of tea as you are greeting abundant responsibilities towards numerous patients.

Therefore, it’s vital to mold yourself into the characteristics that every successful nurse should have. 

Lastly, take into account that at the end of the day, all nurses share the same goal- helping people and saving lives, which is one of the incredible parts of the job. 

If you haven’t read our extensive article on Tips for Nurses to Enhance Their Skills then what are you waiting for? Read it now!