Characteristics and Skills of an LPN

Employers look at more than just a license when hiring nursing staff. Employers want a certain set of skills, abilities, and personal characteristics. Of course, it is not enough to have simply the knowledge and the license. There are also certain attitudes, values, and traits that make successful nurses. For nursing to be a good career choice, it is important to become aware of and develop these characteristics.


Communication skills are extremely important in nursing. LPNs must be able to communicate well with patients, and with other health care professionals. In addition, LPNs must be proficient at medical terminology. An ability to communicate in laymenís terms to patients and in professional language to healthcare workers is a major asset. Miscommunication or misunderstanding can lead to mistakes and negative consequences for patients.

Interpersonal Skills

LPN jobs involve interacting with a variety of people from all kinds of backgrounds. The job entails more than communicating with patients and doctors. LPNs often have to deal with family and friends of patients. It is important to have a good set of interpersonal and customer service skills. The ability to maintain a positive or calm attitude and language in a very stressful situation is vital. Sick people are often not in the best of moods when being treated or enduring hospital stays.


Flexibility and adaptability to situations is an asset for LPNs who manage multiple assignments and tasks. The job involves constantly changing conditions and priorities. Illness and patient response to medication are not always predictable or convenient.


LPNs are involved in private aspects of a patientís life, and have access to private medical records. It is important to maintain confidentiality and respect patient privacy at all times. Healthcare professionals are held accountable to the rules and regulations of the HIPAA law. HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Patient identities and health status are considered confidential. Health care providers can generally disclose treatment, payment, and health care operations among the professionals in a patientís case and to family members of the patient unless the individual objects. Giving patient health information to anyone outside of these parameters is usually forbidden.

Development of these skills will make nursing a fulfilling career for you.

Last Updated: 08/20/2013