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Unteachable Traits

Created Dec 26 2017, 01:45 PM by Lippincott Student Nursing Success
  • Nursing Skills

There are intangible qualities in every profession, those personal qualities that can’t be taught. We asked several Chicagoland nurses to share those unlearnable qualities they think are most important in nursing today. Here’s what they had to say:

“There really is a place for all types of personalities but first and foremost, you have to be a person willing to cooperate and work with others. There really is no place to go at it alone in the emergency room or in a tense hospital setting. If you are the type of person who wants to be left alone to work on her own business all day long, I'm guessing nursing probably isn't for you.”

Linda C., LPN since 2010


“I worked with some people who have had very positive dispositions and I can tell you they make a huge difference in the daily environment. Positive people have a positive impact on patients, and positive people have a positive impact on their co-workers. When you are working with life-or-death issues every day, it is helpful to be surrounded by people who are able to look optimistically at situations instead of those who put their head down and prepare themselves and you for the worst.”

Maryanne B., LPN since 1996


“I didn't think being organized was all that important until I tried to juggle my life at work with my life at home, then I realized that I needed to be focused on each aspect of my day separately and create lists and tasks to follow. Nursing can be very complex. There are lots of i’s to dot and t's to cross. You have to keep up with it. We like to think that all of our electronic equipment and digital reminders take care of our planning, but that isn't the case. That has to be something you can do without technology. The technology can help but It has to be part of you.”

Beth Y., RN since 2012


“You have to be a little stubborn. You have to be unwilling to give up on something because the patient is being difficult or you’re faced with a lot of bureaucratic red tape. You have to be willing to continue to work for something no matter how frustrating it may be. And you have to be stubborn enough to do your best work for a patient even when he or she or their family members do nothing to show you that it is appreciated. That's just part of the job.”

Terri A., LPN since 2006


“You have to be able to roll with it. You have to be able to put bad situations behind you and get on to the next patient. That is not to say you won't take something home and that is not to say there won't be things that stick with you for years, but when you are doing the job, you need to focus on the patient in front of you, every time.”

Paula R., LPN since 1997


“In school, nursing may be cut and dry when it comes to procedures and treatments, but once you get out on the job, you realize that it isn't. It is very helpful to be open to new ideas and to seek advice from others, especially senior members of your group. I learned a lot in nursing school but I didn't feel like I became a nurse until I heard the advice and wisdom from two older registered nurses who worked on my floor at Cook County. It was like an education every night. And to think I had friends who would close their eyes and ears to that advice. They were determined to do things the way that they saw fit, and I can assure you that that was a mistake.”

-Tina E., RN since 1995


“How about being someone who smiles? How about being a person who can laugh when things are humorous and who brings out the best in people when they are being incredibly mean? I think that is an undervalued trait. I love when we have young nurses work with us because sometimes they are so upbeat that it is contagious to the rest of the staff. I don't view them as newbies or as inexperienced nurses. I view them as these little shots of adrenaline, these little bursts of sunshine who are here to do the job and ready to do it for all the right reasons. Those are the nurses I love working with, no matter how old they are.”

Rich W., LPN since 1998

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