Do I Have What it Takes to be a Nurse

Choosing and changing a career is a tough choice. It’s a full-time commitment and there are a lot of unanswered questions. A career not something you can try one day and change because you don’t think it’s a good fit. Selecting nursing as a career requires dedication, time consuming studies and a financial commitment. The first question when you start thinking of becoming a nurse, you should ask yourself is why should I be a nurse?  The next question after that i would ask myself do I have what it takes to be a nurse?

Here are some qualities I feel makes a strong nurse in a nursing skills list. If you can relate to these characteristics, then maybe you have what it takes to be a nurse and nursing is the right career choice for you.

Strong Communication and People Skills

Nurses are the patient’s gatekeeper to the outside world. They are the first ones to see the patient and it is important you can relate your findings to the appropriate staff.

Strong communication skills allow patients to feel comfortable and better relate to you what is bothering them. With hospitals moving to a more customer service-based model, nurses are being pushed to keep patients happy using a variety of communication techniques.

Time Management and Multi-Tasking

Without good time management and ability to multi-task, you can easily get lost in the piles of work you need to get done. You must fit in your assessments, pass medications, answer call bells, document, and answer doctors’ questions while addressing angry family members. It’s an art to balance all your tasks while finding time in the day to keep your sanity.

Adapting to Change

The nurse’s schedule is never the same. Patient conditions can change quickly and new tasks can take priority over the last. Patients get discharged and new patients can get admitted. Nurses need to be able to prioritize what they are doing and deal with changes as they come.

Putting up with Gross Stuff

If bedside nursing is your future goal, then you need to put up with gross stuff to some degree. Nurses see a lot of weird things and it makes for some interesting times at work. Right when you think you have seen it all, something new and interesting will pop up.


Being a nurse means you are helping others overcome their illness. It can be a rewarding career, but it also holds its own challenges. Being compassionate can take a lot of patience. Patients don’t always see things the way you do.  Moreover, it can be frustrating addressing the same things over and over again.   Because of that patience is one of the key nursing skills.

Do I Have What It Takes to be a Nurse

So when you ask yourself ‘Do I have what it takes to be a nurse‘ remember that the medical field is filled with big egos and stress levels can run high on busy days.  For example, patients can be unappreciative and call you rotten names. The most successful nurses can roll with the blows focusing on more important tasks and the bigger picture.

The character of the nurse is as important as the knowledge she possesses. —Carolyn Jarvis

If you feel like you contain all the above nursing skills, then perhaps nursing is the right career path for you. Of course the best way to know for sure is to get hands on experience. I recommend shadowing an RN for a day and getting a good feel for a day in the life of an RN. There are over 100 specialties in nursing, like Neonatal Nurse or Travel Nurse,  so don’t get discouraged if one specialty doesn’t feel right.  Good luck on your journey of figuring out if you have what it takes to be a nurse.

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