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Leigh Goldstein, assistant professor of clinical nursing at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, agreed that nurses become aces at critical thinking, at least if they want to succeed. She told Minority Nursing that "nursing is not like working in a bank. It’s not 9 to 5. It’s always a unique set of circumstances. You have to tailor and adjust the care you deliver based on the picture the patient is giving you.”
Nurses have more strength to draw from in adversity. "Witnessing people suffer and grieve can make you more prepared to deal with adversity yourself and give you the confidence that you can handle whatever comes your way," Smith added.
The best nurses become strong communicators. Nursing may not make every person in the career better at talking to others, but those doing the best work in nursing are definitely amping up their communication skills while they work.
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As summed up in a study from The Academy of Medical Sciences of Bosnia and Herzegovina, "Good communication between nurses and patients is essential for the successful outcome of individualized nursing care of each patient. To achieve this, however, nurses must understand and help their patients, demonstrating courtesy, kindness and sincerity. Effective communication requires an understanding of the patient and the experiences they express. It requires skills and simultaneously the sincere intention of the nurse to understand what concerns the patient."
Nurses have extra-strong confidence. Another aspect of constantly working around people faced with awful situations and their varying levels of grit and determination is that you develop a certain confidence, Smith explained. Yes, you're more likely to know that the odds of survival can be slim and side effects can be brutal and alter lives. But "another side of it is seeing people overcome huge obstacles and recover from major illnesses or accidents," she added. "This gives you confidence that even if faced with serious health problems they can be overcome. Working around other healthcare workers also gives you confidence that there is goodness in other humans and that you can depend on them should you or your loved ones ever need health care."
Nurses are strong in looking at the big picture. The sleuthing skills nurses form at work also become a strength in the "real world." As LaDonna Northington, director of the traditional nursing program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center told Minority Nurse, "Nurses can’t usually just treat one patient issue, they have to determine how the patient’s diagnosis or disease has affected them across the lifespan. And nurses have to consider not just the best choice for the patient and the best option for the nurse right now, but they also have to consider those things in light of the city they are in, the timing, and the resources they have at hand or that are available to them."
Nurses only get stronger with every challenge. "We are fortunate to have such a deep understanding of the human body, and because of our exposure to patients when they are at their most vulnerable, we mature quickly, as do other human service providers," noted Linda Grabbe, a doctor of nursing, certified Family Nurse Practitioner and clinical assistant professor at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing in Atlanta. "Every time we are challenged, we can grow."