Top five key skills and attributes for … becoming a nurse

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the hard work and importance of nursing and the role of nurses in our lives. Maybe it has even inspired you to consider nursing as a career.

Although the work can be very rewarding, it can also be emotionally and physically challenging.

A career in nursing is dynamic and exciting, with opportunities to work in a range of different roles. Apprenticeship choices available within the healthcare sector include nurse, district nurse and specialist community and public health nurse.

You’ll meet and work with people from a wide community, so need to work without any prejudice or discrimination, communicating effectively and with tact and compassion at all times.

Take a look at our top five tips to help you prepare for life as a nurse:

A commitment to learning all the time

Don’t be afraid to show initiative and keep an interest in learning about new treatments, techniques and medications, to help you grow and improve in your career. Keep asking questions and be willing to observe and identify ways for possible improvement.

A sense of humour

During your shift work you’ll find yourself dealing with a variety of patients and personalities, and sometimes experience traumatic or difficult situations. The key to help manage tough situations is to maintain a sense of humour. Keeping a smile through the day will help both you and your patients.

Be a team player

Get to know your team and be there for them during both difficult or rewarding situations. Working together will enable more successful shifts and working patterns.


You will work on a shift pattern, sometimes long and unsocial hours and the work can be challenging, both emotionally and physically. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if things are getting too tough. Make time for the things you love and this will help you recharge and refocus.

Be professional

People often see nurses when they’re at the lowest point in their lives, such as when they’re ill or a family member is poorly. You’ll need to be able to stay professional and supportive in difficult times.

Dive Right in, Start Your Apprenticeship Search Now

Or still want to find out a little more first? Read our FAQ’s or visit our guidance section.

Follow our socials for apprenticeship tips and resources: