Qualities and Skills You Need to Succeed as a Nurse Practitioner

Nursing might be one of the most emotionally and often physically demanding career paths in the world, but those who do it say that the rewarding experience and sense of personal satisfaction that comes with working as a nurse make all of this very worth it. Over the next decade, nursing is a career path that is expected to see a significant amount of growth, particularly due to the shortage of nurses that we are currently dealing with in the US and the COVID19 pandemic, which has led to a higher demand for more nurses. Along with the high demand for registered nurses, a shortage of primary care physicians is also leading to a growing demand for nurse practitioners.

Nurse practitioners are increasingly more important as healthcare professionals, with an essential role that is necessary to fill the gap that has been left by the shortage of primary care physicians, which is a direct result of fewer medical students getting into this area of medicine.

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners are advanced nurses who have undertaken extensive training to work in a role where they have more responsibility and autonomy. Unlike registered nurses, nurse practitioners are awarded full practice authority in twenty US states, permitting them to take on a lot of the roles that a primary care physician would normally be expected to do including examining, treating, diagnosing, and prescribing medication.

In the states where nurse practitioners have full practice authority, they are permitted to manage their own clinics, making it an ideal role choice for nurses who want to get into a career where they can start their own healthcare business and become their own boss. Due to the highly specialized skill-set that nurse practitioners possess and their ability to work in a general practitioner role, these professionals are currently in very high demand and enjoy excellent salaries and job security. If you are interested in working in a career as a nurse practitioner, these are some of the most important skills that you will need to possess.

Communication Skills:

Good communication skills are absolutely essential for nurse practitioners. In this role, you will need to be able to communicate effectively with people who may often be in pain, feeling down, or feeling scared. Since nurse practitioners are often providers of primary care, they need to be able to clearly communicate guidelines to patients when it comes to treatments and medications. Along with this, nurse practitioners use their communication skills to promote preventative care and ensure that patients are clear on the guidelines, advice, and counseling that they provide to help them improve their own health and reduce the risk of further visits or readmission. Nurse practitioners also need to be able to communicate well with policymakers and political figures since they are often the biggest advocates for patients, therefore, communication plays a very important part in ensuring that information regarding what patients want and need from health policy.

Quick Thinking:

Quick thinking skills are an important part of nursing at every level. Nurse practitioners need to have very fine quick-thinking skills since they may often have to make extremely important snap decisions, which could sometimes mean the difference between life and death for a patient or have other very serious health consequences for them. Being able to keep a level head under pressure is absolutely vital for any nurse practitioner, especially those who work in high-pressure areas like the ER or urgent care, where anything could happen at any moment and making the right decision in often a very short amount of time is crucial.

Along with being able to think and make the right decisions quickly, critical thinking is also hugely important in the role of a nurse practitioner. Not only do critical thinking skills help nurse practitioners do their job well when they are working directly with patients, but this skill also helps them be better advocates for their patients when working directly with healthcare policymakers.

Empathy and Compassion:

Compassion for others and the ability to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes is an important skill and quality to possess in any stage of nursing. Nurse practitioners also need to possess a high degree of empathy since these professionals are often the first port of call for patients who are sick or injured. There may be cases where a patient is hurt or scared, which might lead them to act out or be ruder than they would usually be; a good nurse practitioner is somebody who understands that this isn’t personal and instead tries to get a better understanding of how the patient must be feeling so that they can provide care that puts them at ease and helps them feel more listened to and understood.


Twenty US states provide nurse practitioners with full practice authority, so it’s not surprising that to work in this role, nurses will need a high degree of confidence in themselves and their ability. While working with full practice authority, nurse practitioners need to be able to rely on themselves to make the right call and the best decisions. A good nurse practitioner has confidence in their own abilities as they will spend time making sure that their knowledge and skills are kept up to date to ensure that they are always providing the best possible standards of care. Nurse practitioners need to be dedicated to ensuring that they are able to provide care to patients with certainty and be confident. Along with being confident in their own abilities, nurse practitioners need to have confidence in themselves to seek help where needed and ask for advice from other healthcare professionals when in a situation where they are not sure of something.

Ethical Practice:

Since nurse practitioners are often left to their own devices when it comes to treating patients, they need to be highly ethical people who are committed to integrity and making sure that they are always doing the right thing for their patients. This post-masters psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certificate online will focus on ethical practice to prepare students for this role. Patients put their trust in nurse practitioners to make the right choices for them on their behalf and that they will be treated with respect. A good nurse practitioner will always stick to a solid ethical framework in the work that they do in every aspect of their professional life. Even outside of the workplace, many nurses and nurse practitioners are the type of person who would not think twice to help somebody in need. Nurse practitioners need to be highly ethical people who are committed to upholding patient dignity and improving standards of care.


Nurse practitioners know that there is no room for making mistakes in the line of work that they do. Any good healthcare professional knows that even the smallest of mistakes could end up being something that has tragic results for the patients that they work with. Because of this, a good nurse practitioner needs to be somebody who pays close attention to detail and is very meticulous in the work that they do. They understand the importance of doing everything with all the finer details in mind whether they are taking samples, prescribing medication, or administering treatments to patients. In the role of the nurse practitioner, every small detail needs to be attended to and there is no room for taking shortcuts with the work.


Nurse practitioners can work in a range of settings, some of which will be less predictable than others. While the work in an outpatient clinic or doctor’s office might be more predictable compared to working in the ER or an urgent care center, there may still be situations to deal with where nurse practitioners will need to quickly adapt to things changing, often suddenly. Any health professional knows that the chance of anything happening in any given day on the job is quite high and they need to be ready to adapt and make sure that they are always providing the best standard of care no matter what occurs. Nurse practitioners need to be flexible and able to easily work with changes, often without any notice. In addition to being adaptable on the day-to-day job, nurse practitioners also need to be able to easily adapt to changes in healthcare. Throughout their careers, they may often need to deal with changes to treatments, equipment, new conditions and diseases, new healthcare policies, new regulations, and more.

Commitment to Learning:

Due to the constant changes in healthcare described above, nurse practitioners should not only be highly adaptable people, but also professionals that have a strong commitment and dedication to learning something new. If you decide to work as a nurse practitioner, you can expect that in a few years’ time, you are unlikely to be working in the same healthcare system as you were when you first began in this position. With more research being done into health and healthcare treatments than ever before, nurse practitioners can often expect a lot of changes throughout their career, and there will always be the potential for differences to arise that you will need to master in order to remain successful.

Physical and Emotional Strength:

Working in nursing or as a nurse practitioner can be a career path that is very physically and emotionally demanding. Because of this, it is absolutely essential for nurse practitioners to be people who are dedicated to keeping themselves physically and emotionally strong. While the role of a nurse practitioner may not always be quite as physically demanding as that of a registered nurse, depending on the environment in which they work, it’s important that nurse practitioners look after themselves in order to be able to do their job well. Emotional strength is key in this role, with nurse practitioners often finding at the center of situations that might often be heart-breaking and extremely upsetting. Because of this, nurse practitioners working in any specialty area need to be people who are in tune with their own needs and know when they need to work on their mental health and wellbeing.

Leadership Skills:

Nurse practitioners are not only responsible for providing patient care but are often found in roles where they are leading teams of nurses and other healthcare professionals. Because of this, good leadership skills and the ability to inspire others to work at their best and provide the best standard of care to patients is key. This is especially true in a situation where a nurse practitioner is running their own practice. The best nurse practitioners will be highly skilled at managing teams of different healthcare professionals and organizing teams so that everybody is able to work well together. In some cases, nurse practitioners who run their own clinics will also need to have some business leadership and management skills, including a solid understanding of the admin side of things such as workplace policies, hiring, scheduling, employee rights, and more.

Passion for Good Healthcare:

Last but not least, nurse practitioners are increasingly becoming the face of healthcare today. They are not only employed by hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare organizations, but will often also run their own clinics or be hired to run retail clinics, which are providing a new and more convenient option for patients to get the healthcare that they need while at the drugstore or supermarket. Since nurse practitioners are of growing importance to the healthcare industry and are stepping in to replace primary care physicians in many environments, they need to be individuals who are dedicated to and passionate about providing good healthcare. Nurse practitioners with a passion for improving healthcare as we know it and raising the standards of patient care are making massive positive changes to the healthcare system today.

Nurse practitioners are becoming an increasingly important part of the modern healthcare system as the US suffers a shortage of both nurses and primary care doctors. Any registered nurse can train to become a nurse practitioner with an advanced degree or postgraduate certificate, but the above skills and qualities are also required to be successful in this role.