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Recruiting with Care: 7 Qualities to Look for When Hiring Your Nursing Staff

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Nursing is crucial to the proper functioning of a healthcare facility. They work as the frontline staff in hospitals, treating patients in need of immediate care and relief. They might be the first individuals from the team of medical professionals that you encounter on your visit to a hospital.

Nurses wear various hats at different times. Sometimes they deliver patient care, administer medicines and record your vitals. At other times, they work as patient advocates to make their concerns heard by top management.

At times they might seem strict regarding any medical procedure, trying to make patients see sense. At other times, they soothe and offer their shoulder to cry on for families going through the trauma of losing a loved one. Hence, the presence of nurses is imperative to sustain the proper functioning of a healthcare system. Therefore, a recruiter must be very careful when hiring nurse practitioners. 

If you are a recruiter looking for nurses with the right qualities, here is a list of characteristics and criteria to consider when hiring nurses. 

1. Skills and Education

The basic requirement for anyone to work as a nurse practitioner is to have the right skills and education. For starters, a person applying to work as a nurse must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. However, if you are recruiting for advanced job duties, a qualified masters nurse practitioner is a more suitable option.

During the master’s degree program, nurses receive training to carry out advanced clinical roles, including administrative and leadership duties. They become better equipped to fulfill tasks that were exclusively the domain of doctors previously. With the recent shortage of healthcare providers at the frontline, the need for skilled nurses has significantly amplified. Therefore, make sure to tick this box while hiring a nurse for your medical facility. 

2. Empathy

Empathy is placing yourself in someone else’s shoes and trying to understand their sorrows. Being in a hospital is nothing less than traumatizing. The uncertainty about medical conditions and what happens in the future makes people vulnerable, and they look for a source of solace. An empathetic nurse can offer people this comfort with a positive and humane attitude. Nurses work with patients who deal with all kinds of diseases. Therefore, being compassionate is an essential quality for a nurse practitioner. 

Often patients who are treated with empathy show better recovery rates and signs of improvement. 

3. Effective communication

Nurses are probably the only medical professionals that you frequently deal with in a hospital. They check your vitals as you enter the hospital, discuss your medical condition and history and guide you towards your physician. They have to communicate your situation with the doctors and talk to your family too.

A lag in their communication can be a disaster for everyone involved. Nurses also educate their patients and their family members who are anxious about the predicament of their loved ones. They also help patients understand their diagnosis and treatment, and medication.

Effective communication on the part of nurses can reduce stress and promote the overall wellness of the patients. Therefore, their ability to communicate effectively is an irrefutable requirement. 

4. Problem-solving skill

Nurses encounter innumerable problems during their job. Often they are required to make prompt decisions without feedback or discussion with the higher-ups. Therefore, their problem-solving skill is another quality of a practical nurse.

The Healthcare system is becoming tremendously multifaceted, owing to the newly emerged diseases and infections. Patients come with medical conditions that were unknown previously. Even during the treatment, they sometimes display changes that require critical thinking to understand and connect the dots.

Related: 5 Worksite Wellness Ideas for Nurses

Such a situation requires a nurse to take action and intercede with the best possible treatments promptly. Together with problem-solving skills, a critical thinking ability complements a nurse practitioner’s job in a medical setting. 

5. Mental and physical strength

Nurses require both mental and physical strength to excel in their job. Watching patients go through excruciating pain and families wailing due to the situation of their loved ones daily is not a stress-free job. The mental strength needed by a healthcare professional is incomparable with any career in any other sector.

Often nurses work long shifts, ignore their family get-togethers and meet-ups. Mental endurance is necessary when you break down and miss your family or friends because you tirelessly work to help your patients.

Apart from mental stress, there is physical stress and fatigue as well. Long days of work, spending most of the time walking, and standing next to your patient requires physical endurance. Nurses also lift and support their patients while changing their positions or when administering their medicine. So, when recruiting, make sure the prospective candidate can meet these challenges. 

Related: Choosing an Online Nursing Degree? Consider These 8 Things Before Enrollment

6. Flexibility in work

We all know that the job of a nurse is not defined by time. Although there are office hours on paper, the situation in the hospital often prevents them from sticking to that condition. So, an individual opting for a nursing profession should be flexible about their working hours. They will often have night shifts too.

Apart from that, there is often traveling involved with the work of a nurse. A professional needs to be comfortable with these requirements. 

7. Attitude towards life

Attitude towards ones’ life can be a predictor of the job success and satisfaction of a person. People with a negative attitude are not only a menace for others but for themselves too. When hiring a nurse, ask questions that help you understand if they have a positive attitude towards life. Their positive attitude towards life can translate into their behavior with patients as well. The positive attitude of a nurse will help them when tackling difficult situations as well. 


Nursing is a complex job; thus, it requires skills imperative to their job performance. Therefore, selecting the right staff is a complicated job for managers.

Nurses need to be dedicated and qualified while also having the strength and expertise to encounter difficult situations. A well-qualified nursing workforce can contribute immensely to a better reputation for your medical facility. 

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