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Top 5 Nursing Skills Employers Want

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  • advice for nurses
  • clinical nurse
  • CV writing tips
  • elderly care
  • enrolled nurse
  • nursing skills
  • registered nurse

This week, we look at the top 5 nursing skills that employers look for when recruiting new nurses. Whether you are looking for a position as a registered nurse, clinical nurse or enrolled nurse, we hope you find the below pointers on nursing skills helpful in your search…

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The current challenges in health and social care:

We’ll start by saying we can’t beat around the bush: we are still in the middle of a turbulent time for nurses in Australia and New Zealand.

Victoria State Health and Community Services Union secretary Paul Healey has recently talked about a “workforce in crisis.” He describes the current situation as “a crisis in mental health, disability, aged care and drug and alcohol services. There is a shortage of staff in every sector.”

Several states in Australia have declared major shortages of staff with nursing skills in the health and social care sector. This has resulted in many nurses taking an increasing number of double shifts, or working as contact tracers, testing centre staff and vaccinators.

Aged care and mental health support are reportedly the areas hardest hit by nursing skills shortages. Health care providers have been attempting to combat this by encouraging nurses temporarily out of retirement to fill shift rosters. There are fears for how the sector will cope when mass vaccination rollouts get into full swing in the coming months.

Therefore, our suggestions below reflect this current scenario. Despite the challenges, many registered nurses that we are working with currently talk about the pride they take in doing their bit to help at the moment. We hope you can take encouragement and motivation from this thought. It’s a difficult time, but it is an important time to be in health and social care. We need you!

Updating your nursing CV

Use the below 5 nursing skills that employers are looking for when writing your CV, cover letter or when preparing for an interview.

5 Nursing skills you should demonstrate when applying for registered nurse jobs:


1. Be flexible in your search for nursing jobs

Due to the current situation, we can be sure that employers are looking for flexibility in their nurses. Employers are likely to have a variety of positions available. Due to COVID-19, new positions have been created to deal with the crisis. The state of Victoria’s COVID vaccination workforce initiative is a prime example. If this is your first time looking for a new position in a little while, get in touch with one of our consultants to discuss areas where dedicated new staff are needed.

We recommend thinking carefully about the skills you’d like to develop and being open about the type of role that could offer this opportunity.



2. Demonstrate that you are a responsible person

One of the most important nursing skills is to be comfortable in a position of responsibility. That is the responsibility that comes with having another person depending on you for care and support. Many may find this quite daunting. For registered nurses, this responsibility could include medication administration, assessment and management of patients and complex or specialised nursing care.

Be encouraged that as you spend more time with patients and start to gain their trust, this responsibility becomes a natural part of the job. Think about times in your personal and professional life where you have thrived on having responsibility. Talk about and include these examples in your interview answers and cover letters.



3. Show that you have an empathetic and caring nature

It may sound obvious as the clue is in the job title, however, having a naturally caring nature is vital for success and job satisfaction. On top of looking after a person’s physical needs, it’s important that they also feel happy, settled and secure.

This takes a combination of kind words, actions and thoughtful gestures whilst carrying out the general duties of care. For example, if you are nursing in elderly care, an empathetic nature will show the elderly person that they are not a burden. They will recognise that keeping up their physical and mental wellbeing is important. Ultimately, this will lead to them feeling happier and more comfortable.


4. Have a little (or a lot of) patience

People who need the assistance of a nurse are likely to take longer to do things than they used to. This naturally will cause frustration in patients. Therefore, care workers must match this with their own high levels of patience and encouragement.

Patience is a key attribute in establishing a bond between the nurse and the person in care. These qualities also ensure that tensions are not escalated if the person in care does become frustrated by their situation.



5. Show that you are supportive and can remain calm under pressure

We talked above about the added challenges and pressures that the pandemic has added to health workers. This is of course also keenly felt by those in need of care. It’s a very difficult time to feel you are losing your independence, or the opportunity to travel and spend time with loved ones. It may be that the nurse is the only friendly face that some people see in person day-to-day.

Being a calm and consistent presence throughout another person’s difficult time can make a huge difference. If the patient can talk about their feelings with you, this is a huge step forward in them coming to terms with their situation.


Do you possess these nursing skills? Are you looking for work as a registered nurse?

Check here for all our latest nursing jobs in Australia and New Zealand. Alternatively, get in touch with us directly here to tell us more about what you are looking for, or if you’d like to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog post.