As a nurse who’s always on the runaround, what’s the one thing you fear the most? That’s right: being called “bad!”

Sure, nursing is known to be both a gratifying and formidable career. But making even the slightest mistake can land you in trouble, especially an error that could hurt a patient. The one that could dub you into being the absolute worst type of nurse.

Your job as a nurse demands you to juggle several essential tasks at a time. Indeed, it is brutal and sometimes emotionally disturbing to maintain the delicate balance between accuracy and speed, especially when you’re already burned out. But as a human being, there is a chance that you will do something wrong. Of course, none of us wants to, and we try our best to stop things from going south. But then – BAM! It happens! We do something that we should’ve avoided, and now patients and coworkers think we’re horrible at our job.

Nobody is perfect. Even seasoned nurses occasionally make mistakes, and that is, to some extent, okay. However, taking all the necessary steps to avoid making blunders can help you stay on the “good” side of your profession. So without further delay, here are a few tips you can follow to avoid being labeled as the “bad nurse” in your healthcare facility.

1. Make use of evidence-based nursing practices

Experts recommend evidence-based nursing practices as a method of preventing medical errors. Here’s a quick practical tip: commit to being a lifelong learner. Stay up-to-date on new nursing research by taking continuing education (CE) courses, reading healthcare journals, or progressing your nursing degree. Better yet, you can enroll in online DNP programs and gain insight on how to provide practical and safe care based on evidence. These e-learning opportunities allow you to create a flexible schedule to upskill while working regular shift hours. Doing so will not only ensure your skills and knowledge are current, but it may also help you come ashore a high-paying nursing job.

2. Practice effective communication 

Nurses, as the gatekeepers of patient care, must have good communication skills. Verbal communication, writing skills, and active listening are essential for information-sharing between patients and other healthcare providers. Miscommunication can lead to medical errors, which may cost a patient their life. Hence speak with clarity and simplicity to get complex medical information across. Be polite to avoid people calling you names, such as rude and arrogant. Focus on limiting distractions when taking orders, performing procedures, providing reports, or administering medications.

3. Never neglect your wardrobe

You cannot underestimate the significance of your attire. Your choice of clothes will affect how patients and coworkers judge your work ethic. Wearing scrubs that are too big or too small will not only cause discomfort but will also make everyone else think you’re amateurish. It’s probably even more essential to give attention to having the proper footwear to avoid slips and trips. Pick shoes that provide adequate support, and try wearing compression socks. Try to stick to the hospital’s professional dress code for nurses. Being a scrubinista is alluring, but the wrong clothes and accessories can put you and your patients at risk.

4. Always remember patient care routines

It’s like they say- “you have one job!” So do it right. There are procedures that nurses must follow when it comes to patient routines. Recording information from patient interactions, changing sheets, and cleaning equipment are just a few examples of these tasks. While forgetting to make the bed may not seem like a big deal, keep in mind that another nurse will end up having to finish that part of your responsibility. Other nurses may pick up the slack for your occasional oversight, but avoid making it a regular occurrence. Make a personal checklist of the methodologies you tend to forget if you are a repeat offender in this area. Also, try to locate the nurse who has had to cover for you and, if possible, be the good nurse and offer to take a few things off their daily to-do list. Sometimes, it all can be a little overwhelming due to the staffing issues in healthcare. Remember to say “Thank you!”

5. Be compassionate and have a positive attitude

Because nurses work so closely with patients and families while dealing with complex health issues, compassion and kindness are essential for the job. Consider a time when you or a family member had to stay in the hospital, and you’ll realize the crucial role an empathetic nurse can play.

Aside from that, every good nurse must provide the best possible care for their patients. If that means getting up a little earlier, so you have time for your relaxing routines – doing yoga, making coffee, going for a walk – do it. Always arrive at your shift with the best attitude you can muster because it reflects in your work.

6. Just breathe

Remember how we said you were a human being earlier? There is a chance that you will make a mistake as a nurse one day. It is, in fact, almost unavoidable. So, stop pretending to be a superhero. Stop focusing on the error you “might” make. Did you know that when you pay close attention to something, it gains power? That is, when you focus on the fear of repercussions, you attract a mistake. So, by being concerned about making a mistake, you increase your odds of making one! Mistakes are possible. Even the “greatest” nurse you can think of right now may have made a mistake at some point. So take a breather, avoid punishing yourself, and focus on delivering good care.


So these are the pointers you need to pin to your brain if you wish to become the “good nurse” and the one who everyone loves. Yes, nursing jobs are challenging, but the rewards are fulfilling as well. Nothing can reward your nursing practice as much as the feeling you get when you know you are being what you want to be. And as far as committing mistakes is concerned, we all make them, but the only thing that matters is how you learn from them.

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