What Is a Typical Work Day for a Nurse?

Nurses spend their days tending to the needs of patients, changing bedpans, administering medications, recording vital signs, communicating patient changes to doctors and explaining medical care to patients and their families, according to Dawn Rosenberg McKay of About.com. Experienced nurses may be promoted to positions that require staff management.

Successful nurses must possess qualities that support efficiency on the job, such as the ability to catch details regarding a patient's health status and a capacity for figuring out complex situations, notes NursingLink. Nurses are often required to work long shifts, and their jobs are very physically demanding, so they should show a willingness to endure busy hours with few breaks.

It is common for nurses to provide emergency support in stressful environments, which requires that they are able to think quickly and maintain composure for the sake of their patients. Nurses work as part of a strong network of medical staff, so it is essential that they possess strong communication skills and are able to function well on teams. NursingLink recommends that nurses develop a thick skin to be able to handle upsetting situations that arise from exposure to gruesome injuries, extreme illness and death. Nurses must also be extremely patient and exercise empathy in support of their patients' needs.