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Nursing is challenging but it is rewarding and would be worth it in the end. But it is not for the faint-hearted; it requires certain special personality traits to become a successful nurse. Aside from the rigorous education and testing requirements, passing certification exams (the NCLEX), and getting a job, there are some qualities that transform a good nurse into an outstanding nurse. Here, we share 5 absolutely important personality traits to be a successful nurse.


By far, the number one quality of an excellent nurse is dispensing compassionate care. Nurses are expected to provide the highest standard of compassionate care to all patients. As a nurse, you are the first point of contact with patients, so your approach and attitude will set the tone for the patient’s experience and expectations. Successful nurses are able to do their job effectively while also displaying compassion, concern, and sympathy for each individual patient in their care.


Excellent communication skills are super important characteristics of a successful nurse. Nurses rely on the ability to effectively communicate with patients and their families, other nurses, physicians, and other hospital staff.

With the ability to interpret and transmit communication correctly, medical errors are minimized, patients are informed. By practicing effective communication skills, nurses provide safer care that benefits their patients, their unit, and the hospital/health system.


Nursing is challenging! The pressure of working in a busy environment or other chaotic hospital settings can easily decrease your tolerance for nonsense, but successful nurses will intentionally practice being patient no matter the situation they find themselves in. In doing so, it will be easier to connect with patients and help them heal.


All successful nurses are detail-orientated and they write down everything. Because paying close attention to details is important in every occupation, but it is more critical in healthcare when the lives of patients are on the line.

Having strong attention to detail is one of the absolutely important nurse personality traits that can easily and quickly determine how successful you will be as a nurse. Great nurses are detail-oriented; they make sure that instructions are followed to the letter, ensure proper medication dosages, and keep accurate records.


“I believe a good nurse knows what she doesn’t know, and therefore regularly updates skills and knowledge in both formal and informal ways,” – Keri Keenan (Retired RN)

Medical knowledge and technology are advancing very rapidly, and a great nurse must have a genuine sense of curiosity to keep working on their professional development, improving their skills, and learning new things.


The ability to quickly mitigate problems is a must-have quality in a great nurse.

With sick patients, trauma cases, and emergencies, nurses always need to be on hand to solve tricky situations. Whether it’s handling the family, soothing a patient, dealing with a doctor, or managing the staff, having good problem-solving skills is an absolutely important quality a great nurse should possess.