Nursing Attributes

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This paper will discuss three attributes of a nurse: competencies, commitment and

compassion with a rational. Ethics / Human rights and communication concepts across

the human life span will also be discussed.

The three attributes were chosen on the basis that it takes a special type of person to

fulfil these requirements. Zhang et al (2000,pg 469) quoted that the -

‘ … Key differences between superior and average

job performance is not the measurable skills but the

soft skills or competencies.’

Competence is a persons underlying knowledge and attributes to complete a task to

meet job requirements. Nursing competencies are regarded as knowledge, skills, traits,

motives and attributes such as boundaries of care and knowing your own limitations

so you do not cause harm to a patient. Another is the logical order of care given, for

example the 5 rights / 5 corrects of medical administration:- right patient,

right time, right drug, right dose, and right route.

Its commitment to the job and to the patient that allows for flexibility in the logical

order of care as no two patients will ever be the same. Commitment in nursing is said

to be a bond - physically, intellectually and emotionally to their job and to the patient

such as giving the patient ample opportunity to ask questions about their care or any

anxieties they may have, sometimes going back to them three of four times a day to

ask how they are doing. Patients will appreciate this as they are aware that nurses are

busy or short-staffed on the ward and often feel uncomfortable asking for help or

advice. Fosbinder (1994) highlighted four points on patient concern - translation of

knowledge, getting to know the patient, establishing trust and ’going the extra mile.’

‘Going the extra mile’ could be and often is seen as a mixture of commitment and


Compassion is often seen as an ability to empathise with...
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