Nurses have one of the most important jobs in the world. They look after people of all ages from all walks of life, with the goal of helping to make their lives better. Children’s nurses have a unique set of challenges to deal with, while also getting a unique sense of job satisfaction.
Whether you’re thinking about starting a career as a children’s nurse or you’re looking for a brilliant nurse for your child, there are some key skills and qualities which are required. We’ll look at some of the most important qualities in the best children’s nurses.
1. Good with Children
This is top of the list for a reason. It is vital that children’s nurses are good with young people. Many people who become children’s nurses are naturally inclined to work well with children and love their jobs.
While some children’s nurses unexpectedly land in their job roles without any intention of pursuing that career specifically, many choose it as they feel they are good with children. Those who can interact well with young people will often stand out among the healthcare professionals looking after children.
The job of any nurse can be very challenging and require a high level of dedication. Career progress can be slow, hours are often long, and patients are not always thankful or grateful for the care they receive.
Committed and dedicated nurses are often very passionate about providing the highest quality of care to children and get a lot of satisfaction from helping people recover and improve.
The long hours and difficult shift patterns are another reason why nurses must be dedicated in order to stay the course. Weekends, evenings, nights, and early morning shifts are common among those working in healthcare.
Working as a nurse can be stressful. But if the nurse becomes visibly stressed, everyone around can be negatively impacted. That’s why the ability to stay calm under pressure and be resilient to stress is such an important quality for any nurse to have.
The nature of nursing means that there will often be something new or unexpected. A calm nurse can help to put parents and carers at ease during difficult circumstances. Reducing anxiety and worries in patients is important to encourage healing and prevent health conditions from worsening.
4. Sense of Humor
A good children’s nurse knows how to lighten the situation where appropriate or when necessary. Although this is an important quality in all nurses and healthcare professionals, it is especially important that nurses working with children are able to put them at ease and adapt a light-hearted attitude at the right moments.
A sense of humor can also help to build good relationships with family members and encourage them to relax in times of challenge or hardship. Striking a good balance between sensitivity, sympathy, and a sense of humor is important.
Any healthcare professional must be highly competent in what they’re doing. While many staff in the health industry are specialized in one or two key areas, nurses’ jobs span a wide range of areas.
This means that good children’s nurses have a broad range of expertise. They can care for children suffering from physical and mental health problems and can help to direct parents and care-givers towards the best resources and assistance programs.
Good children’s nurses also update their qualifications regularly by attending up-to-date training programs.
A lot of children treated by nurses may feel anxious or worried. Some of them will be in hospital for long periods of time or undergoing extensive treatment, which could give them negative side effects.
Being patient and allowing children the time they need to process information or communicate something is a key quality of a good nurse.
Patience is also vital when administering medication or other treatments. Babies and children are usually more likely to resist treatment, so patience is required for appointments that may run longer than anticipated.
7. Good Communication Skills
Children’s nurses need good communication skills to give effective care and advice to patients. A good nurse will be able to listen to a child and give them the space to say what they want to say.
Communicating well is a two-way process. As well as listening, nurses must be able to communicate information and advice clearly and effectively. They need the confidence to speak up when needed, and the intelligence to know when to let others speak.
8. Caring and Compassionate
Most nurses who go into the healthcare profession do so because they want to care for other people. Therefore, a lot of people working in nursing have this trait naturally and get a deep sense of pride from their work.
Children’s nurses must be caring and compassionate to help children feel safe and secure while undergoing treatment. It will help children feel happier, safer, and more positive.
Some nurses work with children who have come from abusive or violent homes. They may be receiving care for the first time while processing trauma and significant change. Showing compassion and kindness in such situations is an extremely important part of the job of a children’s nurse.
9. Outstanding Attention to Detail
There are many processes, policies, and rules to follow as a nurse. A nurse will often look after multiple patients at any one time. Children’s nurses are responsible for administering the correct medication and at the correct times to the patients under their care.
Nurses must also keep accurate records of the treatments they are giving to their patients, as well as writing daily progress reports and assessments of the children they are looking after.
Even when working in high-stress environments and with deadlines to meet, nurses must maintain exceptional attention to detail and follow all instructions carefully.
Nurses have individual coping mechanisms to help deal with the stresses and strains of their daily job. Getting through challenging circumstances at work can be difficult, especially for junior nurses.
The most resilient nurses will put their own health and wellbeing first and foremost. This is sometimes what enables them to care for others as well as they do.
Nurses who have built resilience over years of working in their profession will be able to confront fears with confidence, adapt quickly to change, and focus on solutions to every challenging situation.
11. Highly Organized
From school nurses to hospital nurses, those looking after children must have meticulous organizational skills. There are multiple records to be kept concerning each child the nurse is working with, so losing track of important documents can cause significant problems.
In addition to the practical work of looking after patients, nurses will also need to write up reports at the end of the day. Falling behind on paperwork can make the job of a nurse more challenging and can create problems for other staff who need to access recent information about a patient.
12. Dealing with Challenges
The unique challenges which come with being a children’s nurse can make the job difficult and more rewarding at the same time. The ability to deal with a range of challenges is a critical skill for any good children’s nurse.
When children and their parents or carers come to see a nurse, they hope for answers to their problems. They expect to speak with a health professional who is an expert in their field and can help find a way through.
Nurses must be able to understand children at their level and try to relate as closely as possible to their experiences and feelings. The ability to see a child’s experience through their eyes is a valued quality in any nurse working with young people.
Showing empathy to children can help ease any aggressive behaviors and build trust. It enables a nurse to build a stronger connection with the children under their care. And it helps children to feel that they are being listened to, understood, and valued.
14. Relationship Building
The best healthcare professionals build good relationships with patients and their families, and with their colleagues and counterparts. Many nurses attend regular networking events, allowing them to connect with other nurses and professionals within the healthcare sector.
Building strong and positive relationships is particularly important for nurses who see the same children on a regular basis. If parents and carers do not feel that there is a strong relationship between a nurse and the child, they may choose to request a different nurse.
With colleagues, nurses must build positive peer-to-peer relationships to help with the effective running of any hospital or clinic. Maintaining good relationships and avoiding interpersonal problems can help operations to run smoothly while encouraging calmness among patients.
The job of a children’s nurse is demanding, but there are a core group of skills and qualities which identify the best nurses. Children’s nurses receive a deep sense of personal achievement and satisfaction, while those who interact with them often have a positive and helpful experience.