Top 10 Soft Skills All Nurses Must Possess

There are many reasons why a nursing role may appeal to you. Whether it’s making a difference to a patient’s life, working in a fast-paced environment, or giving you a sense of accomplishment, it’s undeniable the number of benefits you can gain from stepping into a healthcare position.

No matter what field of nursing interests you most, there are certain soft skills that you must possess in order to perform the role at your best. Whether you’re working in a management role overseeing others, or on the frontline saving lives, here are some of the most important attributes all nurses must have in their skillset.

Table of Contents

Excellent Communication

When entering a nursing profession, you will likely engage with other healthcare professionals daily. This means you need to be an excellent communicator, which will help you get your point across and know where you and your team stand. Patient care should be at the forefront of your mind, so to make sure everyone you treat is happy and content, you must know how to communicate effectively with other members of your team, as well as patients. Breakdowns in communication can have serious consequences, and in some cases, be the difference between life and death.

Time Management

All nurses are expected to possess excellent time management skills. No two days are the same regardless of what specialty you go into, meaning you need to know how to use your time effectively to ensure you complete all your duties. When working on a task, you may only have a specific timeframe to get everything done, so managing your time to the best of your ability will ensure everything is completed according to plan and by the deadline set. 


As a nurse, you will encounter patients from all walks of life and backgrounds. While many patients will trust your judgment and do as you say, others may be more challenging to treat. Instead of getting stressed about the situation, try and put yourself in their shoes. Having empathy for their situation can go a long way and make the experience more pleasant. If a patient is in clear pain and distress, they may act out of character, so giving them reassurance that they’re in the best place possible and keeping a level head will help you in your nursing role. 

Stress Management

There will be many obstacles you’ll face in any kind of nursing career, so getting a hold of your stress and knowing how to best manage it will ensure you know what you’re doing at all times. If you let stress take over, this can hinder your performance and the level of care you give to patients. Make sure you practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, which will slow down your heart rate and lower blood pressure. You will be surprised at how quickly you will feel at ease after taking five minutes to destress. In addition to grounding techniques and breathwork, finding the best CBD oil for anxiety can easily help you manage your stress levels. Working in healthcare takes a toll on many providers’ mental health, so guard your mental health closely.

Active Listening

Whether you’re engaging with other healthcare professionals, management, or patients, active listening skills are a must. If you show that you’re paying attention and listening to what others say, this can strengthen connections and relationships, as well as help patients feel more at ease in your care. You must take other people’s points of view and opinions into consideration when working in nursing. Active listening will show that you value and appreciate others. 


For patients to get the best level of care possible, you may need to come together with other members of the team. Teamwork is vital in nursing to provide well-organized comprehensive care. Understandably, you will be working with people from all different backgrounds and specialties, so while you may not necessarily agree with everything the other person says, you may need to trust their judgment and go with their findings. Even if you’re in a nursing leadership or management role, you should work together with your team and keep communication open at all times.


When dealing with patients or liaising with staff, there is a certain level of confidence you must possess to show you’re confident in your abilities. If you want to become an executive nurse leader, the key skill you need to possess is confidence. Baylor University provides DNP nursing leadership courses that will teach you the importance of having belief in yourself. Once you show others that you’re prepared for any obstacle or challenge, this can boost your reputation in the nursing sector and make others take you more seriously. 

Problem Solving

In the nursing world, there are all kinds of problems that can occur within a split second. How you handle the situation will say a lot about your character and how much you value your role. While there will be quick solutions to some problems, others may take longer to rectify. Whether it’s misplaced paperwork, or trying to figure out what is wrong with a patient, you must be excellent at reading between the lines and doing what you can to fix the problem. 


All nurses must maintain professionalism from the moment they step foot into the hospital. No matter who you’re engaging with, you must be friendly in your demeanor and try and help in the best way you can. You should never let your stress or anger be shown on your face or in your behavior, otherwise, this can have serious consequences. While some shifts may feel like a breeze, others will test your limits, so make sure you have a smile on your face and keep stress levels at bay.


If you’re not passionate about nursing and helping others, you may be in the wrong role. Many nurses get pride and joy from helping those in need, so if you don’t get the buzz and excitement, you may struggle to stay motivated and productive with your work.

Regardless of what nursing specialty you go into, you must have all skills listed above behind you, otherwise you will struggle to succeed in your role. Whether you work with infants, adults, seniors, or behind the scenes, all the attributes listed combined will set you up for a successful career in the nursing world.

Written by Meghan Hale, a content writer at Plant Sumo and editing machine. You’ll find me yelling at my dog to stop barking, whether it be at the neighbours or on a long afternoon walk