How Our ABSN Program Develops Skills for Nurses

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Skills for nurses can be divided into two categories: clinical and soft skills. You’ll learn clinical nursing skills during your experiential learning labs and clinical rotations, and you’ll continue to develop those skills as a licensed nurse. You can also work on important soft skills, like communication, empathy, multitasking and patience.

nurse speaking with doctor

Skills for nurses come in two main varieties: clinical skills and soft skills. When you choose the 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Northeastern University, you’re not just investing in a quality education, you’re also developing nursing skills that will put you at the top of your game. You’ll work on honing your clinical and soft skills through extensive experiential learning opportunities, including clinical rotations.

Ready to get started? Learn more about the structure of our ABSN program and the important skills for nurses below, then contact an admissions advisor to take the first step toward becoming a nurse.

ABSN Program Overview

Comprising 71 credit hours for Charlotte students in the transfer track, our 16-month ABSN program blends online coursework with experiential learning opportunities.

Online ABSN coursework sets the foundation for your nursing education, focusing on the fundamentals and theories of the profession. It also brings a level of convenience to the rigors of nursing school. While assignment deadlines apply, you get to choose when and where you participate in class.

After learning about a particular nursing concept online, you then progress into the experiential phase for that concept by way of nursing skills labs, nursing simulation labs and clinical rotations.

Nursing simulation labs or skills labs introduce students to a clinical abnormality through the use of medical manikins, and then allow the students to work through the situation. It provides a fairly realistic experience that enables you to learn how to assess a clinical issue, prioritize your actions and take steps to address the situation—all without risking any harm to an actual, real-life patient. At the end of a nursing simulation lab, you’ll receive feedback on how you did and you’ll get advice for improving your skills on future simulations.

Northeastern ABSN student working with sim manikin

Learn more about nursing simulation labs at Northeastern here!

While nursing labs facilitate your applied skills development in a controlled setting, clinical rotations give you a real feel for the diverse areas of nursing practice. Labs take place at our program site and clinicals occur in local healthcare facilities.

Clinical rotations offer additional experiential learning for aspiring nurses. In a clinical placement, nursing students are paired with a preceptor, who is a licensed, experienced nurse who will supervise you. You’ll work on an actual nursing shift, where you’ll care for your assigned patients under the watchful eye of your preceptor. It’s a great opportunity to reinforce your clinical skills, as well as to develop important soft nursing skills like interpersonal skills, communication skills, multitasking and critical thinking.

Taking a Closer Look at Important Skills for Nurses

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to develop your nursing skills as a student. However, you’ll continue to refine your skills long after graduation. Due to the ever-evolving nature of the healthcare profession, nurses are lifelong learners. Approach each shift with an open mind and be receptive to feedback from your colleagues.

Communication Skills

Having the ability to gather information and convey messages accurately and concisely are key attributes that all nurses must possess and develop throughout their career. Nurses who take information from patients, physicians or hospital administrators must listen carefully, take accurate notes and encourage patients to open up to ensure a uniform flow of communication.


A nurse must exhibit a sincere concern for the patient’s care - physically, mentally and emotionally. Though this may be difficult in stressful emergency situations, a compassionate nurse can make a difference in the overall treatment of a patient. Successful nurses balance emotion and compassion on a daily basis when caring for sick patients.

Northeastern nursing students posing and smiling

Critical Thinking Skills

There will be many times when a nurse will be the only health professional in the room with a patient. Being able to identify necessary steps can be crucial to a patient’s health. Quick assessment skills will prove to be beneficial for both the nurse and the patient when developing a treatment plan.

Organizational Skills

Nurses today have an overwhelming number of patients they will be working with on a daily basis. It is important that a nurse can work with a hospital's organizational system and be prepared at all times. Faulty organizational skills could lead to a medical mistake with serious consequences on a patient’s health.


Patients are dealing with adverse situations, and not all of them are able to maintain a pleasant disposition while hospitalized. It is important for a nurse to remain calm and understanding when dealing with patients. A smooth tone and pleasing personality will result in a more pleasant and less stressful environment for everyone.

Professional Ethics

Nurses must always be mindful of adhering to professional ethics. Above all, nurses must prioritize the patient’s best interests and “Do no harm.” This might seem simple at first blush, but nurses are often faced with highly complex clinical situations. It’s essential to approach each situation with professionalism and a commitment to ethical decision making.


Nurses are some of the busiest professionals out there! They must often care for a large number of patients on any given shift. This is particularly true for nurses who work in especially fast-paced environments, such as an urgent care clinic or the emergency department. The ability to multitask while still paying attention to every detail is among the most important skills for nurses.

Northeastern nursing students working in sim lab

Final Thoughts

Experiential learning is the centerpiece for our university’s innovation in higher education. The integration of online learning and real-world experience makes our accelerated nursing program more responsive to the needs of today’s healthcare system.

Above all, our academic rigor paired with quality labs and clinical placements helps students grow as leaders and problem solvers—imparting the intellectual skills and entrepreneurial mindset necessary to advance the nursing profession.

Next Steps

There’s a lot of pride that comes with being a Northeastern nurse, and we look forward to helping you join the ranks of those who carry this badge of honor. Contact our admissions team today and start working toward an ABSN program start date in January, May or September at our Burlington, Massachusetts, or Charlotte, North Carolina location.

Get Your Free ABSN Program Guide

Our ABSN program guide includes everything you need to know about the accelerated path to nursing.

Northeastern University ABSN program guide