For any individual pursuing career growth in the nursing profession, there are several skill sets to learn and develop. These are typically divided into two categories; hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills are teachable and measurable abilities. Soft skills, otherwise known as personality skills, refer to the social skills needed to complement hard skills in the workplace. They often include work ethic, commitment, interpersonal interaction, positivity, emotional intelligence, personal habits, critical thinking, professionalism, communication, and leadership.
Below are a handful of reasons to explain why soft skills are crucial for nursing career growth. Before we dive in too deep, it might help to understand how to develop soft skills as a nurse.
Developing Soft Skills for Career Growth in Nursing
Learning soft skills typically happens over time through conscious effort and practice. However, it’s also possible to develop soft skills that one does not inherently possess through attending personal development training seminars. But training seminars are not the only ways to develop soft skills.
Working in different parts of the country as a traveling nurse can also help you learn and develop well-rounded soft skills. When working as a travel nurse, you’ll come across diverse challenges that put soft skills to the test. This, in turn, helps you better adapt to working in all kinds of environments.
The good news is that you can find some of the highest-paying travel nurse specialties to help you work in different parts of the country while developing your soft skills as a nurse.
Why Nurses Need to Develop Soft Skills
Soft skills help employees engage in meaningful interactions with co-workers. Since nursing jobs require teamwork, it’s vital to possess these skills. They improve your employability and develop your career. But these are not the only reasons why you need to develop your soft skills as a nurse.
Enhances Interpersonal Communication and Interaction
The nursing profession involves a lot of one-on-one interaction with patients and other healthcare providers. Effective communication is key to your nursing career development because your daily duties include listening, understanding, and giving instructions. Being an effective communicator ensures that you get the point across to your patients and colleagues without being forceful or uncompromising.
Verbal communication isn’t the only form of interacting, of course. The tone of any interaction also includes body language. This includes maintaining eye contact and understanding your patient’s body language. Your employer can use the feedback given by the patients you interact with to measure your professionalism as a nurse. Reading people accurately has a lot of benefits, both short- and long-term.
Improves Your Ability to Work Under Pressure
Nurses often find themselves working in high-stress environments. How you conduct yourself under intense pressure or stress says a lot about you as a professional.
In stressful situations, you’re expected to decide quickly on the best approach to the problem at hand. After that, you must get the job done. Soft skills such as critical thinking, positivity, and professionalism can make the difference between crumbling under pressure and rising beyond the challenges.
Employers want to know how effectively you can put up with pressure and focus on the tasks at hand. Exhibiting an ability to work well under pressure will become part of your employment record. This will be helpful when seeking employment in the future or being considered for promotions.
Gives Your Leadership/Management Skills a Boost
Nurses at the management level didn’t typically start there. They got there by exhibiting leadership qualities. By far, employers are looking for the soft skill of leadership over and above all others.
Employers are always looking for employees who demonstrate leadership qualities. They want managers who consistently work toward improvement, are self-motivated, show initiative, and are excellent team players. Having these soft skills will set you apart from other employees. When the opportunity for a promotion crops up, your soft skills will put you in a much better position.
Work Ethic and Commitment
Nursing managers and employers often look for reliable, dedicated, honest, trustworthy, cooperative, and productive employees. They want nurses who have a solid work ethic as this quality increases productivity and strengthens the nursing team. Having all of these qualities will determine what goes into your permanent record. These positive evaluations can be used as a reference point by managers when giving promotions and writing letters of recommendation to future employers.
Nursing Career Growth Is About More Than New Techniques and Certifications
There’s no denying that soft skills can influence how best you interact with others. Listing them in your resume will definitely improve employability.
If you plan to take up nursing as a career or are already in the profession, acquiring the necessary hard skills is a no-brainer. However, learn to develop your soft skills consistently alongside new techniques. Every employer will be looking for these qualities in addition to technical competency.