7 Essential Skills Nurses Hone Through Higher Education

Nursing is a highly credible yet challenging profession. You’re required to undergo years of training and education to qualify as a nurse, and even then, you need abundant experience to reach the top. However, the outcome is worth the effort. Saving lives and caring for others spreads a unique feeling of happiness and positivity that isn’t easy to acquire in any other profession.  

There are several other reasons to become a nurse, including accessible and quality training options, steady industry growth, and professional development opportunities. Furthermore, nursing offers flexible schedules, a different work environment, and exciting specializations.

However, the one thing that keeps many nurses from exceeding in their careers is the inability to acquire higher education. Remember, the higher your education and qualification, the more chances you get to succeed in any medical profession. For instance, a mere RN certification would introduce you to the industry, but to enhance your employability, you must pursue a BSN further. 

Here are a few essential skills nurses hone through higher education. 

1. Technological savviness 

Technology is revolutionizing the healthcare industry, and there is no denying the fact. However, with increased technology usage comes an increased demand for tech-savvy medical staff, including nurses. Nurses must become technologically adaptable if they want to prosper in their careers. 

Remaining aware and on top of technological developments will help nurses provide the best possible patient care, eliminate repetitive tasks, and make them more productive. Moreover, tech savviness dramatically increases a nurse’s pay and chances of better travel nursing assignments. 

Recent nursing degrees and specializations are increasingly focusing on introducing more data-intensive and tech-related courses in the curriculum because of its increased demand and enhanced benefits. For instance, online BSN courses now focus on enhancing your technical skills rather than helping you acquire mere textbook knowledge. This online degree is the ultimate route to higher, more impressive nursing positions. 

2. Communication skills

Communication skills are highly integral in every profession. Nursing degrees don’t teach you good communication skills directly. Instead, you learn effective communication through practical assignments, lectures, and house jobs. Effective communication promotes trust, enhances engagement, improves teamwork, increases productivity, and fuels innovation. Moreover, sufficient research has shown that good communication among nurses can positively impact patient care, improve relationships, and resolve conflicts. 

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There are several types of communication skills nurses must hone. However, the essential ones include verbal communication, non-verbal communication, active listening, written communication, and presentation skills. 

Communication in nursing is crucial because it leads to an immediate understanding of patients’ conditions, needs, and emotional states. Further, understanding the social determinants of health, tracking changes in care, identifying special needs, and advocating for patients require effective communication. 

3. Critical thinking 

Observing, thinking critically, and making correct decisions is vital to being a good nurse. People often misinterpret a nurse’s job as physically taxing when it involves a lot of cognitive thinking. Critical thinking helps form well-informed opinions, improves relationships, promotes curiosity, and allows for creativity. It is a transferrable skill that begins in nursing schools and continues to grow throughout your professional career. 

Nurses’ critical thinking significantly impacts patient care. It helps anticipate patient needs, ensures patient safety, and detects changes in patient status. Moreover, critical thinking leads to an honest exchange of ideas, helps nurses find quick fixes, leads to innovative improvements, and plays a role in rational decision-making. 

Remember, prospective nurses who can make quick and efficient decisions under stressful situations attract employers the most. 

4. Leadership skills 

You begin to learn leadership skills from a young age, whether by taking care of a younger sibling, putting out a lemonade stall, or leading a project in school. Higher education is critical in boosting your leadership skills by enabling you to absorb new information, understand challenges, respond to needs, and master new disciplines. 

Leadership skills improve productivity, increase engagement, nurture future leaders, improve management skills, and enhance workplace culture. Additionally, leadership helps establish a clear vision, improves communication, triggers inspiration, and enhances decision-making. 

Five practical leadership skills required in nurses include:

  • Guidance
  • Decision-making
  • Effective communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Adaptability to change 
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5. Problem-solving skills 

Nurses face problems that require tough decision-making and problem-solving every day. These decisions could evolve from optimizing protective resources, patient priority treatment, conclusions about patient status, and many others. 

Problem-solving is essential because it shows employers that you possess different competencies, including resilience, imagination, logic, and creativity. Several experts claim that problem-solving is the most vital professional and personal growth skill. 

Nurses can solve problems more efficiently and foster communication, emotional, and cognitive skills. Those who use problem-solving skills see problems as attempts to enhance their patient’s health and well-being rather than as obstacles. 

6. Flexibility 

An excellent advantage of pursuing higher education is the flexibility it teaches. Flexibility leads to a better work-life balance, improves nurses’ health and well-being, increases productivity, enhances job satisfaction, and improves engagement. Flexibility is highly pivotal in nursing due to the profession’s changing nature – not two days are alike. Nurses must manage several treatment plans, attend to doctor’s orders, and cater to patient requests.

Flexible schedules and lifestyles allow nurses to alter working hours to fit their schedule better, which gives them more time to deal with personal matters. 

7. Teamwork 

Working together allows nurse teams to deliver effective care. Nurses can improve patient safety and clinical outcomes and decrease medical errors through teamwork and collaboration. 

Teamwork is integral for enhanced problem-solving, increased potential for innovation, less burnout, more growth opportunities, and boosted productivity. Moreover, teamwork in nursing leads to better risk-taking, enhanced personal growth, and higher synergy. 

When dealing with complex illnesses requiring specialized, well-organized, and all-encompassing care, a collaborative approach involving many nurses, nurse teams, and physicians is critical for treating patients and delivering efficient patient care.

Final thoughts 

Nurses are in high demand. The US bureau of statistics confirms that the average annual opening for registered nurses will equal almost 194,00 between 2020 and 2030. Nursing skills are essential in many healthcare settings, from inpatient care to emergency room visits. Despite their differences, all nursing domains share technological savviness, communication, critical thinking, leadership, problem-solving, flexibility, and teamwork abilities. Potential nurses must understand that these skills are essential to meet the healthcare sector’s challenges and provide quality patient care.