Become a Better Nurse

Did you know that the word “nurse” actually has a Latin origin? It comes from the word “nutrire,” meaning “to nourish.” Nurses are like the unsung heroes who nourish our bodies and spirits, ensuring our well-being during times of vulnerability.

Nurses ranked number one for the 21st consecutive year in terms of honesty and ethical standards (based on the Gallup poll conducted in 2022). No wonder they hold such a special place in the healthcare industry!

But what distinguishes better nurses from the rest? 

Compassion, expertise, and unwavering commitment to their patients make some nurses better than others. Better nurses provide comfort, offer a listening ear, and advocate for those in need.

Good nurses are also adaptable. They work in a fast-paced environment, facing new challenges every day. Whether it’s staying updated with the latest medical advancements or adjusting their care plans based on changing patient needs, great nurses are always ready to roll. 

Now, let’s jump into it and explore ways to become a better nurse.

  1. Focus on continuous learning 

Focusing on continuous learning is crucial for nurses to boost their expertise and advance their careers. One of the ways to ensure continuous learning is through higher education.  

Advanced nursing education emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, and evidence-based decision-making skills. During a higher degree program such as an MSN (Master of Science in Nursing), nurses engage in rigorous coursework and case studies. It challenges them to analyze complex situations and develop creative solutions. 

Working nurses can enroll in a remote MSN program and gain the latest knowledge and insights into emerging trends, research, and best practices. With MSN, nurses can expand their competence in specialized nursing areas such as nursing education, leadership, informatics, or family nurse practitioner.

By enrolling in one of the many online MSN nursing programs available, you can balance your personal and professional commitments while pursuing advanced education. Online courses enable you to access up-to-date information and better understand current healthcare issues. 

  1. Improve communication skills 

Improving your communication skills is at the heart of becoming a better nurse. Nurses educate patients about their medical conditions, treatment plans, and self-care strategies. 

By communicating clearly and concisely, you can break down complex medical terminologies into simpler understandable terms. This improves patients’ understanding of their condition, allowing them to actively participate in their treatment plans. 

According to the Joint Commission International, miscommunication among healthcare providers significantly contributes to 80% of serious medical errors. 

Conversely, effective communication allows you to share important patient information and minimize misunderstandings. Effective communication also enables you to develop trust and rapport with patients. 

By actively listening to patients, using empathy, and responding to their concerns, you can make patients feel comfortable sharing vital information about their health. 

  1. Cultivate critical thinking

Nurses deal with critical situations every day. Often they may not get enough time to think before responding. They also have to make crucial decisions with limited information in high-pressure situations. In such cases, critical thinking comes to the forefront. 

You can evaluate the perils and benefits of different treatment options by honing critical thinking skills. You can spontaneously consider potential complications and make informed decisions.

Critical thinking also helps you analyze complex situations, consider multiple perspectives, and make judgments. You can effectively collaborate with physicians and contribute to the accurate identification of a patient’s condition. 

The working environment of a healthcare facility also necessitates nurses to cultivate critical thinking. As a nurse, you often need to attend to multiple patient needs simultaneously. In such situations, critical thinking allows you to assess the urgency of different patient conditions, prioritize interventions, and allocate resources efficiently.

Critical thinking is also necessary if you want to engage in patient advocacy, question risky orders, and actively participate in interdisciplinary discussions. 

  1. Practice self-care 

Self-care is not just a buzzword but a fundamental aspect of becoming a better nurse. In the demanding world of healthcare, nurses prioritize others’ well-being, forgetting their own needs. However, taking care of themselves is crucial for nurses to thrive both personally and professionally. 

Self-care enhances physical well-being. Nursing can be physically demanding, with long shifts, heavy workloads, and challenging patient care responsibilities. Neglecting self-care can cause burnout, fatigue, and compromised health. By prioritizing your physical well-being, you can maintain energy levels, boost immunity, and be more present and focused at work.

Self-care also promotes mental well-being. Nurses are often exposed to traumatic events and high-stress situations. The challenge of dealing with patients’ pain and suffering is often unbearable too. So, nursing can be emotionally draining. 

Activities that promote relaxation, stress reduction, and emotional balance can help you decompress and recharge your emotional batteries. Caring for your mental health gives you the resilience and emotional stability necessary to provide compassionate and empathetic patient care. 

In addition, self-care also nurtures a healthy work-life balance. Long hours and irregular schedules can disrupt personal relationships and activities outside of work. By managing your time effectively and defining boundaries, you can maintain a healthy equilibrium between your professional and personal life. 

Lastly, self-care empowers you to bring your best self to your professional roles. Prioritizing your needs replenishes your physical, emotional, and mental reserves. You can work with renewed energy, focus, and compassion, handle patient care-related challenges more smoothly, and make sound decisions. 

  1. Always double-check your work 

Attention to detail is paramount in the high-stakes world of healthcare. As a nurse, you can improve your craft by checking and double-checking your work. Double-checking work means carefully reviewing your tasks and documentation to ensure accuracy and maintain a high-quality standard.

Cross-referencing your work is also crucial for patient safety. In healthcare, even a small error or oversight can have significant consequences for patients. You can minimize the risk of mistakes by verifying and validating your actions, such as following protocols.

The habit of checking your work also cultivates a mindset of accountability and professionalism. By thoroughly reviewing your work, you demonstrate a commitment to upholding the highest standards of practice. It shows that you take your role seriously and prioritize the well-being of your patients above all else. 

Regularly scrutinizing your work also instills confidence and peace of mind. Knowing you have checked your work helps you approach your tasks with assurance and a clear conscience. It minimizes the stress and anxiety that may arise from uncertainty or doubts about the accuracy of your actions.


Nurses who perform better possess excellent communication skills. They listen attentively to their patients, convey information, and provide clear explanations. In addition, they understand the importance of double-checking their work and continuously seeking opportunities for learning and growth. So, if you want to be a better nurse, follow these suggestions and those mentioned above. They will help you unleash your full potential as a nurse.

By Caitlyn