Nursing is undeniably a challenging profession. It can be hard enough to get through a shift sometimes, let alone stand out as a nurse. With the right self-care skills, determination, and focus, though, you can soon stand out from the crowd.
What’s the Point in Standing Out?
You might be thinking – I’ve already finished nursing school and landed a position, what’s the point in standing out now? While you don’t need to impress professors anymore, standing out as a nurse is still beneficial. You are more likely to get pay raises, promotions, and to receive good recommendations if you choose to move to a different role. Plus, it will help if you want to climb the nursing ladder.
So, if you’re an ambitious nurse that doesn’t want to sink into the background, read on to learn what makes a nurse stand out.
Taking on Leadership Roles
Often, the nurses that stand out the most are those that quickly take on leadership roles. They might not necessarily shout out that they want to be the leader, but their natural skills mean that they take on the job of leading without anyone else questioning the decision.
If you want to stand out, then you should try and improve your leadership skills while taking on more leadership roles. Even if you don’t plan on running the show, leadership skills in nursing are important and will help you thrive in your role.
You’ve probably heard it time and time again – to be a good nurse, you need to show kindness to your patients. The thing is, that can be hard at times, and it can be pretty easy to spot disingenuous compliments. To stand out, you need to practice kindness every day. It might not always come naturally – especially if you are tired or overworked – but by putting the effort into seeing things from other people’s perspectives, your actions will come across as genuinely compassionate.
Excellent Communication Skills
One of thing main things that makes good nurses stand out is excellent communication skills. It’s instant – if a nurse can chat away to a patient, have good conversations with their co-workers, and act appropriately in meetings, they instantly become a person people look towards and possibly up to.
Remember – good communication is not always about speaking. It involves listening and body language, too. So, don’t just try and dominate every conversation. Instead, be active in conversations and contribute your thoughts when appropriate. There are communication courses to help you, and you can also look at other nurses with good communication skills to try and emulate them.
Staying Calm Under Pressure
Nurses go through a lot. It’s a tiring job that involves a lot of mental and physical work, and sometimes you will have to deal with emergencies. Depending on your position as a nurse, you might have to deal with them every shift. One thing that makes a nurse stand out is being able to stay calm during these situations. Whether a patient has suddenly fallen ill or you become swamped with patients coming in, it’s important to take a breather and not freak out. Not only will it reflect positively on you, but it will also help you act appropriately and help as best as you can.
Great Relationships with Patients
Some nurses get on well with patients; others do the bare minimum. If you want to stand out, you need to work toward the former by improving your bedside manner. That doesn’t mean being best friends with all of your patients; it just means treating them with kindness and respecting them. You can also crack a joke from time to time if it feels right!
Great Relationships with Colleagues
It’s just as important to have good relationships with your co-workers as it is to get on well with your patients. You don’t want to be the one constantly left out of conversations or after-work hang-outs, as it will likely reflect poorly on you. By being a great team player and getting on with your fellow nurses, you are more likely to stand out. Of course, you don’t have to hang out with them all the time, but you should make an effort to be friendly and open when you are at work.
Continued learning will always help you stand out more. It’s the people with a higher level of education that often get the promotions, after all. Plus, the more you learn, the more you can do. Whether you go for a leadership course or study to become a nurse practitioner, learning more will help you stand out as a nurse.
Knowing Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is essential for standing out for a few reasons. Firstly, knowing where you thrive means you can put yourself into situations where you shine a good light on yourself. On top of that, knowing your weaknesses means you know where you can improve. You can also be open and honest about where you don’t work so well – being honest about that will reflect positively on you. Most people don’t like to point out their flaws, after all, so it will make you seem like a modest and genuine nurse, which are great traits to have.
Lots of Energy
It is often the nurses that have tons of energy that stand out. You know the ones – they walk into work in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee in hand and a smile on their face. The ones who still look just as chirpy when it’s time to leave. While it is hard to consistently stay energetic, you should keep your energy levels up throughout your nursing shifts, as it will help you stand out from the crowd. Habit changes like eating healthier and getting enough sleep will help.
Being reliable is everything when you are a nurse. Your patients, co-workers, and managers want to know they can rely on you at any time. If you show that you are consistently reliable no matter what, then before long, you will stand out – for all of the right reasons.
Acting as a Mentor
Many nurses turn their noses up at acting as a mentor. They think that part of nursing is behind them, so they only want to focus on their current position. Instead of thinking like that, see being a mentor as an opportunity to pass on your knowledge. Not only will it help a student succeed in their future career, but it will also show others that you are passionate about your work.
Taking accountability is one of the hardest things to do, whether you’re a nurse or otherwise. As a nurse, though, it can be particularly challenging. You don’t want to make a mistake that makes your co-workers or patients’ lives any harder, after all. What’s worse than admitting that mistake is not admitting it, however.
While the initial disappointment after taking responsibility for your mistakes might hurt, in the long run, it will show that you are a responsible nurse who takes accountability for your actions. Remember – every nurse makes mistakes, but what makes good nurses stand out is openly admitting to them.
Top 3 Tips to Stand Out
Everything listed above will help you stand out. It might seem a bit overwhelming, though. To stand out as a nurse, you must put your best foot forward every time.
If you take anything away from this guide, take away these three handy tips:
1: Further Your Education
It is both simple and not. It is a step that will instantly make you stand out, but education requires a lot of work and learning. If you’re passionate about nursing, look into advanced courses and choose a path that appeals to you.
2: Be Reliable and Organized
Showing up each day ready and prepared will slowly but surely reflect positively on you. It might not seem like much at first, but over time, people will come to know you as the nurse they can rely on. It’s all about consistency!
3: Work on Your Bedside Manner
An excellent bedside manner makes a real difference. Even if you’re the best nurse in the world at organizing your time or taking blood, you won’t stand out as much if you don’t build a good rapport with patients. So, work on your bedside manner whenever you can, whether that means throwing in a compliment or cracking a joke when the time seems right.
Standing out as a nurse is a lot of work. You have so many other amazing nurses to stand out against, after all! Remember – it’s not about it being a competition. Instead, it’s about proving yourself as a capable and passionate nurse that deserves every opportunity that comes your way.
Whether you are a newbie nurse or you’re chasing that next pay rise and want to make even more of a difference in your profession, use this guide to make sure people remember you – for all the right reasons.