5 Top Characteristics of a Nurse Practitioner

  • Leader of Others
  • Resourcefulness
  • Detail-oriented
  • Compassionate
  • Strong Communicator

A person considering becoming an advanced practice nurse should know about these five characteristics of a nurse practitioner that are strong predictors of success in this type of career. Although most of these characteristics come naturally to a person, some of them can be practiced and honed over time. Knowing each of these five traits of a nurse practitioner could help a person if their skills, personality and strengths are well-suited to the profession of advanced nursing.

1. Leader of Others

A nurse practitioner should be comfortable with leadership. They may have to manage or lead a team of registered nurses, nurses’ aides, patient care associates and other staff members. The nurse practitioner should be able to identify which team member to delegate a task to and when to delegate certain patient care activities versus when to do it themselves. Many nurse practitioners educate patients, families or groups of people. In the educational setting, the nurse practitioner should be able to command the attention of their audience and maintain their interest.

2. Resourcefulness

Nurse practitioners need to be swift at getting answers to their questions. In a busy environment, they must also know how to get what they need in order to deliver excellent patient care or support the registered nurses and nurses’ aides they supervise. In an emergency situation, a nurse practitioner might need to come up with new ways of handling a problem, such as when supplies are low. Nurse practitioners should also be adept at researching information and thinking critically about which is the best way to proceed.

3. Detail-oriented

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners should be detail-oriented. When evaluating a patient, they have to be aware of even a minor change in the patient’s health status, laboratory results or vital signs. They should also be oriented to the dosage of medicine. For example, pain killers require exact doses in order to be effective at relieving a patient’s pain. Too much of a pain reliever could result in a life-threatening emergency, and too little pain reliever could fail to help the patient.

4. Compassionate

Nurse practitioners should be compassionate with patients who are dealing with pain, emotional trauma, injuries and shocking situations. They should also be able to deliver bad news in a way that is gentle yet honest. When speaking with a patient’s family members, the nurse practitioner should be able to show that they care about the well-being of the patient and their family. If a family or patient is in emotional distress, the nurse practitioner should be able to point out resources for help.

5. Strong Communicator

Communication skills are essential to a nurse practitioner. They need to communicate a patient’s health status to physicians, therapists and other members of the healthcare team. They need to converse with the patient in order to understand the person’s symptoms, pain level and situational awareness. The nurse practitioner also needs to communicate with the patient and their family about their treatment, diagnosis and prognosis.

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Each of these five characteristics of a nurse practitioner is directly related to the skills that a person will need to have in order to do the job. These are not the only characteristics of an excellent nurse practitioner, but they are critical to both personal and professional satisfaction and success. Being familiar with each of these five characteristics of a nurse practitioner is a good way for a person to decide if this is the right career path for their future.