5 habits to learn for the new year to improve your nursing

29 December 2022 By Michael Bowyer

As a nurse you’ll know that life and work can be pretty hectic. Shifts are full on, patients need a lot of attention, you’re on your feet all day - and that’s just a few of the immediate priorities! You also have continuous professional development to think about and revalidation! It can be hard to imagine finding time to learn anything else in this fast-paced job, but putting in some time and thought into developing some useful efficiency habits will save you lots of time in the long-run!

When you’re assessing which habits would be most beneficial to learn, it might be useful to ask yourself, what makes a good nurse? We’ve also considered it and broken it down into five main areas – although every nurse we’ve worked with has been outstanding!


What makes a good nurse?


Common traits of great nurses include:


  • Empathy

  • Great time management

  • Attention to detail

  • Problem-solving skills

  • A good sense of humour!

  • A drive to learn more

  • Critical thinking

  • Communication

Whilst you probably have a good number – if not all – of these already mastered as a nurse, there are still some healthy habits you can learn that will support the way you administer care, provide better efficiency, and help you navigate a stressful role without burning out!

5 habits every nurse should develop

1.       Stay organised

From having a personal planner app or using a diary, having a way of staying organised throughout your day and shifts is a great habit to lock down! Having great habits that keep you organised will help you reduce feelings of stress or being overwhelmed when your shifts become busy due to staffing shortages or increased patient intake, etc.

2.       Communicate with your team

Communicating with your team can mean a lot of things and come in a lot of forms! Communicating socially with your team will help you build a supportive network of trustworthy professionals who will help you when you need it, listen when you need support and trust you to be there for them too.

Having structured communication with your team will also help you all work together to provide well-rounded care to your patients.

3.       Listen to your patients

Listening to your patients will help you always remember what’s important, supporting them as they get back to full health. Remembering to connect with your patients will also allow you to remain a patient advocate and defend their rights and needs. This can mean a broad spectrum of things from educating patients on managing their health, to standing up for them to your colleagues to ensure they get the right care. Listening to your patients and patient advocacy have their foundation in empathy, the best habit and skill for a nurse.

4.       Stay flexible

Staying flexible throughout your shift will allow you to adapt to changing situations and requirements easily and without stress. Being flexible can be a bit of a skill in itself, however, and is most beneficial if you can still remain organised even while you change your priorities.

5.       Pay as much attention to yourself as your patients!

One of the best habits to learn is how to look after yourself on your shift! From having healthy snacks and plenty of water throughout your shift, to ensuring you get a good night’s sleep, your health and wellbeing is just as important as your patients’. Stress and burnout are realities for nurses and clinicians as your job is physically and mentally very demanding. But learning how to incorporate a few healthy habits here and there that support you physically, emotionally and mentally can make all the difference.

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