12 Nursing Skills: Definition and Examples

By ResumeCat Editorial Team
Published September 1, 2022

The nursing profession requires the development and mastery of a number of skills. These skills range from the technical and clinical, to the interpersonal and communication skills needed to provide quality patient care. This article provides definitions for 12 of the most important nursing skills, including: critical thinking, patient assessment, nursing diagnosis, nursing intervention, and more.

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Nursing Skills


Communication is the process of sending and receiving information. It is essential for nurses to be able to communicate effectively in order to provide quality patient care. Nurses need to be able to communicate with patients, families, doctors, and other members of the healthcare team.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It is an important skill for nurses, who must be able to relate to their patients in order to provide the best possible care. Empathy also allows nurses to better understand a patient's perspective and needs.

Active Listening

Active listening is a skill that nurses need in order to effectively communicate with patients. It involves paying attention to what the patient is saying, both verbally and non-verbally, and responding in a way that shows that you understand and empathize with what they are going through. This can be difficult at times, especially when patients are in pain or are very upset, but it is important to try to see things from their perspective and to be as supportive as possible.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a set of skills that allow you to analyze information and make reasoned decisions. As a nurse, you will need to use these skills on a daily basis in order to provide the best care possible for your patients.

Nursing Process

The nursing process is a systematic, evidence-based approach to patient care that is used to assess, diagnose, plan, implement, and evaluate patient care. It is used to ensure that patients receive the best possible care and to promote continuity of care.

Patient Advocacy

Patient advocacy is the act of representing the interests of patients and ensuring that their rights are respected and protected. Nurses need this skill in order to ensure that their patients receive the best possible care and to ensure that they are able to make informed decisions about their treatment.


Professionalism is the skill of maintaining a professional demeanor at all times. This means behaving in a manner that is respectful, courteous, and ethical. As a nurse, you need this skill in order to create a positive and safe environment for your patients.


Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common goal. It is an important skill for nurses because they often have to work with other nurses and health care professionals to provide care for patients.

Time management

Time management is a skill that is needed in nursing in order to keep track of patients, medications, and treatments. This skill is important because it allows nurses to provide the best care possible for their patients.

Stress management

Stress management is a skill that is needed in nursing in order to deal with the stress of the job. It is important to be able to manage stress in order to stay healthy and avoid burnout.

Physical assessment

The physical assessment is a vital nursing skill. It allows nurses to gather information about a patient's overall health and to identify any potential problems. The physical assessment also provides an opportunity for nurses to build rapport with patients and to establish trust.

Patient education

Patient education is the process of providing information to patients about their health condition, treatment options, and self-care. It is important because it helps patients to make informed decisions about their health care and to participate in their own care.

How to improve nursing skills

As the healthcare industry continues to grow and evolve, so too must the skills of those who work within it. Nurses, in particular, must be constantly updating and refining their abilities in order to provide the best possible care for their patients. There are many ways in which nursing skills can be improved, but some of the most important include:

1. Continuing Education

One of the best ways to ensure that nurses are always improving their skills is by encouraging them to pursue continuing education opportunities. There are many different types of courses and programs available, both online and offline, that can help nurses to learn new techniques and keep up-to-date with the latest developments in their field. In addition, many hospitals and other healthcare facilities offer in-house training programs that can be extremely beneficial for nurses looking to improve their skills.

2. Shadowing Experienced Nurses

Another great way for nurses to improve their skills is by shadowing more experienced colleagues. This can provide them with a first-hand look at how experienced professionals handle various situations and can give them some valuable insight into best practices. Additionally, shadowing can also help nurses to develop a better understanding of the overall workflow of a healthcare facility and how different departments interact with one another.

3. Participating in Simulation Training

Simulation training is another excellent way for nurses to improve their skills. This type of training allows nurses to practice their skills in a safe and controlled environment without having to worry about the consequences of making mistakes. Simulation training can be an extremely valuable tool for helping nurses to become more confident and competent in their abilities.

4. Seeking Feedback from Patients and Colleagues

One final way that nurses can improve their skills is by seeking feedback from both patients and colleagues. Getting honest feedback from those who see you in action on a daily basis can be invaluable for identifying areas where you may need improvement. Additionally, patients can also provide helpful insights into the level of care they receive and what type of improvements they would like to see made.

How to highlight nursing skills

If you want to highlight your skills as a nurse, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure that your resume is up-to-date and includes all of your relevant experience. Secondly, take some time to brush up on your bedside manner and people skills. Finally, be sure to stay current on all of the latest nursing news and developments. By taking these steps, you will be sure to stand out as a skilled and competent nurse.

On a resume

In order to highlight your skills as a Nursing on a resume, you should list your experience in the field, as well as any relevant coursework or certification you may have. You should also list any special skills or knowledge you have that would be relevant to the position. Finally, you should highlight any awards or recognition you have received for your work in the field.

In a cover letter

In your cover letter, you should highlight your skills as a nursing. You should include your experience in the field, as well as your education. You should also mention any specialties you have, or any awards you have received.

During an interview

When you are interviewing for a nursing position, be sure to highlight your skills as a nurse. Describe your experience in the field, and how you have helped patients. Be sure to mention any awards or recognition you have received as a nurse. Also, describe your passion for nursing and how you feel it is a calling for you.