8 Top qualities medical employers look for in a nurse

Last Updated on July 16, 2024 by Asfa Rasheed

Working as a nurse is both a demanding and rewarding job. Individuals passionate about improving other people’s lives and who love to nurture human life are often the best candidates for this position.

However, there are many different qualities that medical employers search for in a competent nurse, ranging from exceptional interpersonal skills to excellent observation and analytical skills.

Despite having all the right degrees and experience, are you still experiencing rejections from medical employers? That’s because it takes more than just theoretical knowledge to be considered for the role.

Following are a few qualities that stand out when hiring nurses.

1. Open-mindedness:

Nurses frequently encounter people from all walks of life during their careers. Patients with vastly different cultural and religious beliefs may sometimes be complex for nurses to accept, whether unconventional.

However, prioritizing patients’ rights is expected from a competent nurse. Today, medical employers look for nurses who are open-minded and culturally competent.

Suppose a nurse encounters a patient who wouldn’t accept life support or parents against vaccinations. This is precisely when a nurse must be open-minded enough to prioritize patient decisions above all.

Open-minded nurses are better suited to provide quality and effective patient-centered care.

2. A knack for continuing education:

Pursuing higher education is a sign of ambition and commitment to one’s career. It is critical for nurses today to pursue continuing education at some point in their careers.

It has become easier than ever to access quality education from anywhere in current circumstances. Nurses pursuing competitive degrees like an RN to Master of Science in Nursing Degree are in great demand.

With a solid academic background, employers are convinced the nurse they hired is up to date with the latest research and methodology in patient care and medicine.

It is vital for medical professionals like nurses to have a knack for learning and to improve their knowledge, given how quickly the medical industry evolves.  

3. Organizational skills:

The best nurses are always highly organized and understand the importance of managing their day-to-day tasks. Highly organized nurses must manage their time expertly, delegate tasks to the right people, work by a plan, and be neat.

Medical employers are critical of how nurses conduct and present themselves in a fast-paced environment such as a hospital.

Every minute counts when it’s a matter of life and death, and in such a situation, it would be highly inappropriate if a nurse forgot where she put the patient file or has kept a wrong track of data.

Since healthcare is a time-sensitive environment, employers expect nurses to keep their stations clean, follow an effective plan, and handle their time wisely to avoid burnout.

4. Patient advocacy:

The number one priority for nurses is caring for their patients and protecting the patient’s rights. Patient advocacy is a fundamental concept in nursing, and every nurse must be fully committed to it.

Since nurses spend most of their time with patients, they’re expected to be the patient’s number one advocate.

Patient advocacy is one of the most celebrated qualities in a nurse because a great nurse understands the importance of putting the patient’s interests first. It is a mindset found in the most exceptional nurses, and these are the ones that medical employers chase after.

Hospitals can make patients anxious and confused, and they may not be able to make the best decisions for themselves. In such circumstances, nurses speak up for the patient and help them understand their rights and condition.

5. Problem-solving skills:

Healthcare facilities are time-sensitive and fast-paced, so there’s no time to stop and think. Medical professionals must make quick and effective decisions based on their observations.

A nurse who is more towards finding a quick solution and identifying problems before they arise is what medical employers want. Whether it’s a medical emergency or a patient is having a meltdown, nurses must be on their feet and come up with a quick remedy.

Honing your problem-solving skills requires extensive on-job training and excellent critical thinking skills. Nurses can broadly impact patient outcomes through their decision-making.

6. Physical endurance and stamina:

There’s no doubt about the fact that healthcare jobs are physically demanding. Whether you are a doctor or a nurse, you’ll be subjected to long working hours, night shifts, etc.

On the other hand, nurses also have to handle patient lifting, shifting, running to patient rooms for emergencies, and so on. This dynamic and demanding working environment takes a toll on a person’s physical and mental capabilities.

That’s why nurses must have exceptional stamina and physical endurance and work through the challenges of working in a healthcare facility. If nurses aren’t physically fit and in good condition, medical employers will be reluctant to hire them as they may develop health problems later on.

7. Attention to detail:

The best nurses have a strong habit of taking notes and keeping a keen eye on everything. Healthcare settings are meticulous as a single millimeter of wrong dose can be life-threatening to the patient.

Therefore, successful nurses pay extra attention to detail and document everything to avoid errors. Since nurses look after countless patients with varying medical conditions every day, they must have strong observation skills and be detail-oriented.

In the healthcare field, nurses must avoid medical errors at all costs.  

8. Emotional intelligence and stability:

Lives are saved and lost every day in hospitals. Sometimes a traumatic situation or the stress of the job can take a toll on nurses. Sometimes, it is hard to accept the death and suffering of a patient you’ve cared for a while as a nurse.

However, that’s precisely what’s required in a nurse, as controlling your emotions is a necessary quality in healthcare settings. Some days may be great, while others may seem gloom and doom.

A great nurse manages to tackle a difficult situation without losing calm or making emotional decisions no matter the circumstances.

Nurses need to be aware of their own emotions and show some level of emotional intelligence.


Nurses are an integral part of the healthcare system. Through their hard work, dedication, and passion, they serve humanity to their best abilities.

Along with passion and a solid academic background, the above must-have qualities prove instrumental in impressing medical employers and embarking on a successful nursing career.

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Olivia Rodriguez
Olivia Rodriguez is a registered dietitian and health coach with a passion for helping people lead healthier lives. With over 8 years of experience in the field, Olivia has worked with individuals and families to develop personalized nutrition and wellness plans that promote optimal health and well-being. She is a frequent contributor to health and wellness publications and has written extensively on topics such as plant-based nutrition, weight management, and chronic disease prevention. Olivia believes that good nutrition is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle, and her mission is to help people make sustainable changes that improve their health and happiness. When she's not working with clients or writing, Olivia enjoys practicing yoga, hiking, and exploring new healthy food options.