The 5 Best Pieces of Nursing Advice I’ve Ever Received

Nursing is an amazing profession. There are SO many nurses out there that one day- you’ll be sure to receive some nursing advice.

Now a word of caution. Some nurses have experienced years of hardship in nursing and so may offer more cynical advice than we would like to receive. In fact, I read a post on social media of a nursing student asking the group, “Gosh- is nursing really this hard? Reading the horror stories from nurses is making me NOT want to enter this profession.”

I could totally see that happening.

In an attempt to uplift nursing students and re-energize experienced nurses, let’s use this blog post space to offer some of that motivating advice. That nursing advice that makes you smile. That helps you keep going when the profession of nursing gets to be too tough to take.

Here are the 5 best pieces of nursing advice I have ever received:

  1. Wash your hands. It may sound simple, right? But you don’t want to take whatever you are caring for home with you. And let’s start this post with a BANG right off the bat. You got to take care of yourself! If you do not pay attention to your own physical or mental health- you are going to end up on the other side of the bed. Taking care of you will help you be the best nurse you can be.
  2. Listen more than you speak. Love the quote- you have one mouth and two ears for a reason. As a nurse you can pick up on SO much more when you shut up and take notice. You can hear what the patient is not telling you. What the body language, tone of voice, and between the words information means. You will learn to trust your gut and listen to the subtle signs. You will gain so much rapport, when you simply sit down and listen to what the patient has to say. Which leads me to…
  3. Brush up on your customer service skills. Yes, I realize that we do not work in the hotel. And we are not maids. However, and I heard this from an awesome ER nurse who was interviewed on the Your Next Shift podcast, you DO need some customer service skills. You are in the business of helping people. You are working with people all day long. If you are a robot who cannot talk to others, then you will not make it in the nursing profession. Smiling, providing eye contact, and (back to number two) listening are what makes nurses great.
  4. Know when to make a change. I’m not talking about leaving nursing altogether. But I was talking to a nurse at a conference one time. He was telling me about a mistake he made on his unit. And you know what he said… he said that he realized in making that mistake that it was time for a change. That things had become automatic for him and he was no longer thinking critically. Sometimes in nursing you got to shake things up. Know yourself (number five, below) and trust when it is time to make a job change.
  5. Be you! No one can be exactly you. I read a blog post about a nurse who worked in long term care and had the most beautiful singing voice. She would walk the halls, pushing the medication cart, just humming and singing along. Over time, residents would start to gather in the hallway, near their doorways. Why? They wanted to hear this lovely voice! It made their day!! Be yourself in the work place. Bring your best you to the job. Know your strengths and unique talents. Find the career that fits them and you’ll never work a day in your life again.

Let’s hear from you! What nursing advice have you received that you just have to share? Be sure to tweet me @ElizabethScala or leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!

Elizabeth Scala

Keynote speaker and bestselling author, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Nurse’s Week ‘Art of Nursing’ program, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and a playful pit bull.