Do You Have to be Smart to be a Nurse?

Do You Have to be Smart to be a Nurse

Being a nurse is a challenging job. It requires broader skills and characteristics — not just having a smart mind. 

A lot of people who are interested in partaking in a nursing career believe that only sharp-witted individuals can pursue such a profession. But that is not true. 

While nursing school is not a walk in the park, succeeding in the journey can only be achieved when you render your energy in studying hard and have a genuine passion for your chosen field.

What Does it Take to Become a Nurse? 

Some students can ace every exam while others struggle to pass. However, there are also ones that grapple in the middle of an internship program despite having remarkable grades in school. 

A brilliant mind is essential to any profession, yet it should not be the only basis to weigh in choosing the path you want to take. 

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing issued a one-year retention rate average of 90% of nursing students and a passing rate of 85%. 

These statistics are not concluding that nursing is an easy degree. Instead, it simply proves that other factors influence your success rate in obtaining the profession. 

It takes a lot of work, dedication, and full commitment. 

Nursing is a fast-growing field and highly in demand. Institutions are setting the bar higher to produce professionals who deserve the job and who can serve any medical outlets efficiently.

The responsibility of nurses lies beyond taking care of the patients — they also act as dependable pillars to other medical professions. 

Top Skills Nurses Should Possess 

Problem-solving and communication

Hospitals deal with hundreds of matters every day and nurses are the first groups of personnel who cater to each inquiry. 

Hence, nurses must have excellent communication and problem-solving skills. 

The doctors’ directives are not always ready at hand. So nurses need to be capable to attend to rush scenarios that require basic care. 

Nurses also need to be articulate and clear about explaining prescriptions and findings for the patients to understand. 

Emotional strength and stamina

Nurses sometimes have to lift patients to transfer beds. Such physical demands are part of the normal circumstances that most health workers face in the hospital. 

However, emotional strength is another ability that has a set of daunting challenges. 

Empathizing with the situation of the patient is not bad, but getting too invested in it could affect health care performance. 

Also, some patients can test your emotional strength by yelling or throwing tantrums. 

Patience and focus

The duties of a nurse orbit in a hectic and rush schedule. Patience and focus can get rocky at times as you deal with patients who have diverse health care needs. 

One must have long patience in assisting patients who might have problems in communicating due to an illness or any similar cases. 

On the other hand, the hospital environment constantly deals with different emergency cases that need your undivided attention and full focus. 

Key Points to Consider Before Becoming a Nurse 


A person’s personality plays a significant role in a nursing career. 

If you are patient and have a knack for getting along with others, you will have a huge chance of successfully conquering a nurse’s line of work. 

Nurses deal with people all the time as they mainly focus on attending to patients and working with colleagues. Your core values, principles, and personalities must be firmly established within you. 

Preparation Requirements

Get familiarized with nursing education and where to start. Nursing degree programs provide bachelor’s and associate’s diplomas. 

The right nursing program will lead you to better career opportunities and further advantages. 

After the degree completion, you must prepare for the National Council Licensure Examination to be fully authorized to offer health services. 

Decision-making ability

Although every action must be thought of critically, nurses must have an adept and quick decision-making ability when the need arises. 

In certain situations like emergencies, patient breakdowns, or the assigned doctor is not yet present in the hospital, nurses should not delay any care treatment. 

It is their duty to aid the present matters to the best of their ability. 


Nurses manage multiple responsibilities in a day, including:

  • Keeping concise medical records
  • Extending patient care
  • Following up on treatment progress
  • Monitoring vital signs. 

They also report to hospital physicians and other medical staff to assist with treatment plans and synchronize patient appointments.  

Even the smallest errors can harm patients, so nurses are trained to be very accurate with their tasks. 

Fitness and health

Physical stress and general health are vital to becoming a nurse. 

The job demands physical work, as nurses need to walk and stand most of the time to assist, care for, and monitor their patients’ health progress. 

Specifically, in emergencies, nurses are ought to remain capable of all sorts of tasks that require reliable strength and stamina. 


The nursing profession is a noble job to pursue. It can be challenging, but the rewarding feeling you get is unlike any other — it makes the hard work worth it. 

Being smart is not a prerequisite to becoming a nurse. There are far more valuable skills needed, such as being able to render hard work, patience, and commitment.

These are what you need to be an effective health care provider, not brains nor intelligence.

Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes is a writer for HKS Siblab, an education and business blog. He has a MSc in Cyber Security & Digital Forensics from the University of Hertfordshire and has been working in the cyber security industry since 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar and spending time with his family.

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