Top 5 nursing skills absolutely crucial for a newly graduating RN

Nursing being a skill-based profession we as professionals often fight to maintain the desired levels of expectations. Nursing institutes all over, including premier institutes still struggle to provide education par excellence and practical exposure to nursing students during their undergraduate days. The result is, once the nursing students graduate and enters the real practice setting, outcomes are disappointing sometimes.

As educators and nurse administrators, we need to question back ourselves what exactly are we looking for in our newcomers entering the system? After extensive research, we bring to you the top nursing skills absolutely crucial for a new nurse.

     1. Interpersonal skills (Communication)

     2. Updated Practical skills

     3. Critical thinking skills

     4. Professionalism

     5. Cultural awareness and ethical care

1. Interpersonal skills (Communication)

Cliché it might sound to many, this is an important skill for a nurse while entering the system. It is an indispensable skill for a new nurse.

Though use of therapeutic communication is long been emphasized in nursing, it is seldom that we get to see it being practically implemented.

Here are some of the situations where the new nurse might need to interact and use her/his interpersonal skills.

Nurse- Nurse (team) interaction- Before even jumping on the obvious (patient-nurse relationship), nurse- nurse interaction is important. How? As a new nurse, orientation to the setting where she is going to work is a challenge. A vast study conducted to acknowledge the issues of newly graduated nurses reported that nurses were able to ask for help from colleagues only 44.5% of the time. Which is quite a skewed response and shows the lack of confidence to communicate effectively with peers and seniors. Too many stimulus at the new place, people and a set of responsibilities to be fulfilled in a systematic way.

Nurse Team Interaction

Quoting from the same study.

“As a new R.N., I worked one night with another new R.N., a more senior R.N., and a nurse leader. The two experienced nurses were far short of helpful with anything, particularly two specific patients in dangerous conditions. Both I and the other new R.N. were challenged in finding ways to report the lack of support and leadership we received that night. We asked for help and did not receive it. We struggled in professionally communicating the situation to our manager.”

Following are the examples of some of the communication tools nurses can use to have clear interactions with a patient. Undergraduate nursing students are taught communication skills theoretically but practical tools must be introduced early and they must be encouraged to practice it in simulated situations or with patients when practicing in clinical settings.

o SBAR- Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation

o ISBAR- Identify, Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation


Hand off with care

Nurse patient interaction- Nurse-patient interaction is the core component that may attribute to patient betterment and successful clinical outcomes.

See link to know more about therapeutic nurse-patient interactions.

Example of how student nurses can be taught the ‘ABCDs’ of initiating an interaction is shared here.

Many such simulated scenarios must be created so that new nurses must have some clue how to react in specific situations. It is also emphasized that nurses must provide patient-centered care. WHO recommends that it is important that the patient is also involved in own care which impacts care component as well as better and sensible use of resources available. 

2. Updated Practical Skills

Practical skills are of utmost importance. Understanding a skill is imperative but implementation is a task in itself.

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