Can You Afford to Miss Any of These Soft Skills?

When you need an agency nurse, it’s crucial to hire the best. Who fits the bill of a good, quality agency nurse, and will help to maintain your solid reputation?

In Chapter 25 of the ‘Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses’, they quote, ‘Nursing is a critical factor in determining the quality of care in hospitals and the nature of patient outcomes’. It’s clear the level of service you provide to your patients pivots from your nurses’ attitude and ability.

You must ensure your hiring process for agency nurses has a strict quality criteria. Of course, any nurse should possess the technical skills and experience but nursing is much more than this.

Here are the 10 soft skills you should seek in an agency nurse.

1.    Adaptable

Tasks, challenges, workplaces, and resources will change. You must have nurses who aren’t afraid to onboard these changes, and understand the need for them.

Particularly in times where drastic measures and incidents are affecting the way healthcare operates – such as the use of technology, and the largest vaccination rollout in global history – it’s crucial to have nurses that are up to date with all the latest healthcare developments that are pertinent to their roles.

2.    Flexibility

In healthcare, there isn’t always the ability to plan. Yes, appointments, consultations, operations, and tests can be scheduled to the best of our ability. But many events that affect healthcare are entirely unpredictable.

Are they able to be flexible with shifts at short notice, for the benefit of the patients and their colleagues? How about floating to departments to help cover variable workloads? Flexibility goes hand in hand with adaptability.

·      Professional

Technical ability can be supportive of professionalism; however, it is attitude from entry-level through highly experienced nurses that can make all the difference to patient outcomes and reputation of the organization. Professionalism can be demonstrated in many ways, from appearance, to how they react to conflict or distress.

3.    Calm

Many candidates include the ‘Can work well under pressure’ on their resumes, yet not everyone can. If they are unable to genuinely remain calm and focused, without involving emotional reactions, it could negatively impact the care they give.

4.    Compassionate and Empathetic

While patients and residents (mostly) appreciate the care they’re receiving, they would rather it wasn’t required. Nurses must show compassion and empathy. Particularly in the field of agency nursing, building bonds with patients must happen in a short timeframe. This is achieved faster by employing compassion and empathy.

5.    Team Player

Teamwork is critical in healthcare. Each role has its part to play – no one healthcare professional can achieve every stage of care on their own. Do they understand and appreciate this? If not, they’ll slow productivity, disgruntle colleagues, and leave patients at risk.

6.    Independent Worker

Though teamwork makes healthcare work, nurses will also be expected to work and think independently for their specific duties and responsibilities. Confidence in making decisions within their scope can make life-changing differences, as well as boost team morale.

7.    Attention to Detail

An agency nurse must be able to work accurately and with great attention to detail. Your patients’ lives depend on it – and so does your reputation.

8.    Has Physical Stamina and a Focus on Safety

No nurse ever completed a shift sitting down. Hours are long and can be grueling. Experienced nurses will know that stamina is part of the job. They’ll likely be on their feet for hours at a time, and be required to safely lift and support patients correctly. A self-awareness for their own safety is also highly beneficial to prevent injury.

9.    Problem-Solver

An agency nurse needs to settle in quick to fill your staffing void. Though help must be available, constant supervision is often impossible. Can they solve problems, and correctly? Or do they need continual advice, preventing another colleague from working to full capacity?

10.  Good Communicator

From a one-year-old patient to an aggressive substance abuse patient. From a hospital janitor to a heart surgeon. At every level, your agency nurse must be able to communicate clearly, concisely, and confidently with everyone they encounter.

The Agency Nurses You Need – Look no Further

If you had to remove one skill from this list, which would it be? The answer is you can’t afford to lose any of them.

There’s a lot to ask for in an agency nurse, but all are crucial skills that will ensure your patients are cared for to a high standard, colleagues are productive, safe, and happy, and your reputation as a provider grows.

At QS Nurses, we offer a portfolio of highly-skilled agency nurses, screened and vetted, and ready to fill your staffing voids.

Contact QS Nurses today. We’ve done the hard work for you, so you can continue doing what you do best.