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Confidence means believing in your ability to accomplish a goal or complete a task. Nurses need to be competent and able to perform independently. Lack of confidence can easily compromise that ability.

Nursing standards of conduct require confidence in their nursing skills and practice. Self-awareness and a desire for personal and professional improvement on the nurse’s side can help build, maintain, and boost confidence.

Tips for How Nurses Can Build Their Confidence

While nursing is a wonderful job most of the time, even experienced nurses might feel like they are in over their heads. Consider some ways to build up that confidence and lose those feelings of doubt.

Find an Experienced Mentor

Mentorship provides support and guidance to nurses. Some nurse mentor connections arise organically, but for others, it may take some time. An experienced nurse mentor should be the following:

  • Trustworthy
  • Encouraging
  • A fantastic listener
  • A guide for professional development
  • Available whenever possible

There is evidence that nurses have to manage their emotions in a way that creates anxiety. This emotional labor may play a role in clinical burnout. Having a mentor on hand can ease that tension and boost the confidence of both nursing professionals, mentor and mentee.

Build Self Confidence

The path to confidence in anything begins with each individual. That’s true whether you are a nurse, baker, or candlestick maker. The ability to trust your decisions and to act with self-confidence inspires confidence from others.

Patients and colleagues who rely on nurses will respond when you exhibit self-confidence in your skills and actions.

Hone Time Management and Organizational Skills

Time management and the ability to stay organized are vital skills for nurses. Effective time management allows for more efficient work, excellent work quality, and fewer missed opportunities. There is a feeling of self-control, an enhanced self-image, and less stress with effective time management.

Good time management in clinical settings is almost impossible without practical organizational skills. Because a nurse’s to-do list might vary, organizational skills are essential, and an organized nurse will perform better. An organized nurse can successfully manage their time and will know how to devote hours in a day to prepare for, carry out, and follow up on events and activities.

When issues emerge, well-organized nurses can readily access and assess protocols meant to manage them. Nurses with strong organizational abilities are more productive, create better overall impressions, and are more likely to advance in their careers.

Build Your Knowledge

Nurses rely heavily on their critical thinking skills. Today’s healthcare environment is complicated, dynamic, and high-tech, and nurses must make tough decisions regularly to provide safe, effective patient care.

Being up to date on all procedures and skillsets is key. Expanding one’s knowledge in nursing is critical for making better patient care decisions and communicating them to other healthcare workers.

Ask Questions

Some say the ability to ask questions is one of the most critical skills for nursing. Influential nurses learn to ask questions whether they are seeking information, clarification, or a favor. There are two types of questions: closed and open-ended.

Closed questions have a high level of specificity. Open-ended inquiries can help discover information for new scenarios while also encouraging innovation and additional sources of knowledge. Both provide the nurse with expertise, and that builds confidence. Be sure to engage in active listening, as this will help you know what questions to ask.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

It is normal to compare yourself to those around you, but it is a pitfall nurses should avoid. No matter how hard you try, the comparison will work against you. You will either fall below some competence level you think another nurse has, set yourself up for failure, or feel bad about yourself. Beyond that, your colleagues are your teammates, not your competitors.

Compliment Others

Praise is motivating for everyone involved when done right. It puts a positive spin on everything around you. Situations happen every day that force people to choose whether to be negative or positive. Keeping it positive with a compliment can make all the difference.

Compliment your coworker on how she managed a challenging phone conversation or how he handled a patient who refused to take his morning meds. It’s a great reminder of how vital nursing is and why it is a profession worth pursuing.

Be Comfortable in Your Role

The more comfortable nurses feel in the job, the more confidence they have doing it. Nurses train long and hard to develop skills that make them proficient in specific positions. However, that doesn’t mean they feel confident in different healthcare environments. An OB nurse won’t necessarily feel confident enough to work in the critical care ward, for example.

It’s essential to find that place for yourself and then build your skills at that job. If you focus on a specialty that you enjoy and develop your knowledge there, you will be more confident in that position.


Nurses build relationships with patients and with other members of their team, and all are important.

All technical components of health care occur in the context of human connections, which means nurses operate better when they cultivate relationships. Nurses build healthy relationships when they are in tune with one another, wonder about others, respond to one another’s cues, and treat others with respect and dignity.

Ask for Feedback

Nurses should be able to ask for and give constructive feedback. Reassurance and help are provided via feedback. Nurses will see how essential parts of their profession and career improve by actively engaging in the feedback process.

Be a Lifelong Learner

Lifelong learning provides nurses with the critical thinking and problem-solving abilities required to handle difficulties that may arise while caring for patients. The better informed a nurse is, the happier and more confident they can be in their roles.

There is always a way to build your career as a nurse and get that confidence boost. Registered nurses can take bridge courses to get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (RN to BSN). BSNs can go back to earn their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN degree). Find out more today by contacting the American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Science at Post University.


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