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What Skills Will Help You Succeed as a PN?

Nurse writing on clipboard

When you train to become a practical nurse (PN), you gain a well-rounded foundation of clinical skills and medical knowledge. This education is necessary to work as a PN, but you’ll also need other soft skills that complement your training and prime you for success. Soft skills can be developed intentionally, but they aren’t taught in a classroom. Prism Career Institute introduces you to a few PN skills you’ll need to thrive in your practical nursing career.

Effective Communication

The first skill you’ll need as a PN is communication. Nurses are an important link between patients and other healthcare personnel, and they’re often the ones who spend the most time interacting with patients and delivering information.

Successful PNs are able to communicate clearly and professionally with patients and their families. Sometimes this involves getting to know the patients. Not everyone communicates in the same way, so the best PNs are proactive about learning how to communicate effectively with different people.

Organization and Time Management

PNs need to be organized, as the healthcare industry is fast-paced. You’ll always be on your feet, moving from one task to the next, and you’ll often have to drop what you’re doing to respond to something urgent. If you’re not organized, you’ll lose track of your workflow almost immediately. The results are confusion, added stress, forgotten tasks, and wasted time.

Avoid the cost of disorganization by learning how to manage your time wisely. Personal checklists, flow charts, and memory aides help, as does the ability to multitask.

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is a skill required everywhere in the healthcare industry – not just for nurses. When everything is moving quickly, it’s easy to miss minor details. Unfortunately, those minor details are often a lot more significant than they seem. Missed details can interfere with test results, patient recovery, and more.

It’s also an important skill when interacting with patients. Be present and mindful in every interaction, listen actively, and tune in on nonverbal cues. By picking up on the details of communication, you help your patient feel understood.

Critical Thinking

Though it’s easy to assume the doctors are the real decision-makers, that’s not entirely true. Nurses have to be problem-solvers, too. Both big and small problems can appear seemingly out of thin air. When they do, you’ll need to think on your feet and come up with creative and effective solutions. This skill ties in with attention to detail. If you’re paying attention, you’ll be better at noticing problems when they appear and finding what you need to solve them.

Compassion for Patients

Finally, perhaps the most important soft skill in a PN’s repertoire is compassion. A nurse’s job is intense. You’ll be dealing with scared patients and stressed, sometimes angry families. At the same time, you’ll have to negotiate the complexities of the healthcare system. It’s easy to become fatigued, but maintain your sense of compassion as you work. This desire to help others will help you keep going, even on the toughest days.

Develop Your PN Skills in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

When training to become a PN, don’t neglect these essential skills. At Prism Career Institute, we’ll help you gain medical knowledge while you develop the soft skills you’ll need for a successful career. Our practical nursing program is available at all of our campuses in West Atlantic City and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, as well as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. To learn more about the PN skills you’ll need, contact us today.