Interpersonal Skills Needed for Nurses


Nursing can be a very stressful career and it takes a solid collection of interpersonal skills to handle the tasks of dealing with patients, their family and friends and other medical personnel.

Nurses are often the first person an injured or ill person interacts with, no matter if it’s at a medical facility or a Doctor’s office.

It is essential nurse’s arm themselves with the best arsenal of skills to deal with the stressful situations nurses encounter each and every day.

The Overall Nursing Picturenurse with good soft skills

Nurses are often the liaison between patients and the medical specialists. Establishing a rapport and trust with a patient is critical to the healing process. Patients respond to a nurse who has established some level of trust with the patient and takes the time to get to know them on a plane other than strictly medical.

Necessary Interpersonal Skills for Nurses

In addition to medical knowledge, nurses must be good listeners, effective with verbal and written communications, must possess patience, patience and more patience, emotional stability and humor.

Listening, an important communication skill, is the greatest skill a nurse can have as that ability is needed to listen to what a patient or their family is saying.

When reporting a medical issue, the ordinary, non-medically trained person will not have the necessary knowledge or vocabulary to describe what is wrong or explain their symptoms. A nurse with good listening skills will be able to pick up on the cues spoken by the patient or family member and determine the needs of the patient that will help lead to an accurate diagnosis.

Communication, both verbal and written, is paramount when it comes to taking in information and passing it along to the necessary parties. Often times, the situation is a high stress situation and communication may be the dividing line between life and death. The nurse is typically the person who reports the information to the doctor and the accuracy is necessary to determine immediate action and follow up care.


Patience, patience and more patience is a necessary skill for a nurse to possess for several different reasons. A nurse’s patience will be tested when a family member may be demanding information. That information may not be available at that time, and it will be up to the nurse to remain calm and not react negatively to a demand of information.

Personal Stress Management is necessary to cope with emergencies and human suffering. It is essential when dealing with situations that are dire and no matter what is done to ease suffering and improve health, there is nothing that can be done to prevent the inevitable.

A sense of humor is a must when working in the nursing industry. It is the one outlet to relieve tension and stress that is part of being a nurse and humor serves as the vehicle to get over a speed bump disguised as tragedy. Using humor within the appropriate confines will provide the cushion to deal with the painful situations that are experienced on a regular basis.

Being a nurse is a difficult career no matter the level of nursing. Interpersonal skills are just as important as knowledge and the application of technical skills in any given medical situation.

Interpersonal skills usually are not a major part of the curriculum in nursing school. For nurses developing such skills is a part of on the job training and often fine tuned as the career continues forward.

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