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The 7 Basic Nursing Skills

What basic skills do you need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN), a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses, to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)? Are you ready to take your career to the next level? The following are the seven basic skills you need to succeed in a Practical Nursing diploma program.

The first skill is mastering the basic concepts of health and nursing. Next Nursing diploma students must obtain a mastery of medical terminology. They must also understand and articulate the principles of pharmacology and psychiatry. The next skill to obtain is being a team member, knowing when to lead and when to follow.

One of the most important skills is staying patient-focused and putting the patient first above all. The last skill a Nursing diploma student needs to master is the art of getting a job. All of these basic nursing skills are needed to succeed in your career and become a Licensed Practical Nurse (after passing the NCLEX-PN examination).

Skill 1: Basic Concepts of Health and Nursing

A Practical Nursing student needs to learn about health promotion, restoration, maintenance, and basic nutrition. Also, the nursing student should acquire basic nursing skills through experiential learning in the nursing skills laboratory. Another duty of the Practical Nursing student is learning how to provide basic nursing care to clients during clinical practice at a long-term care facility.

Nursing diploma students must understand historical and contemporary nursing practices. They must study nursing theories and come to know the nursing paradigm. Further, the Practical Nursing student learns prevention, health promotion, and health protection. To understand this is to understand humans and their basic needs. Those basic needs include self-actualization, self-esteem, love and belongingness, safety and security, and physiologic needs.

The Practical Nursing student understands about respect for the patient in the delivery of health care and in the participation of investigations and treatment provided to patients in care. This comes without prejudice, regardless of psychological or physical condition, age, gender, race, beliefs, or position in society. The Nursing diploma student adheres to strict ethics, understanding the actions an individual should take.

Skill 2: Mastery of Medical Terminology

Medical terminology is language used to precisely describe the human body including its components, processes, conditions affecting it, and procedures performed upon in. Medical terminology often uses words created using prefixes and suffixes in Latin and ancient Greek. Most medical terms consist of three basic components: root word (the base of the term), prefixes (letter groups in front of the root word), and suffixes (letter groups at the end of the root word). When placed together, these three components define a particular medical term.

A Nursing diploma student needs to learn how to describe the body parts and functions using the correct medical terminology. A Practical Nursing student understands the importance of fluency in basic medical terminology.

Specific medical terminology a Nursing diploma student learns includes the body systems and their vital parts. The body systems include the skeletal system, muscular system, integumentary system, sensory and lymphatic systems, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, gastrointestinal and endocrine systems, nervous system, urinary system, and reproductive system. Understanding of common medical root words and their meanings, and that most common medical terms are derived from Latin and Greek, are taught to the Nursing diploma student.

Skill 3: Principles of Pharmacology

Pharmacology is the study of the effects of drugs on the function of living systems. A drug is a chemical substance of known structure, which, when administered to a patient, produces a biologic effect. Pharmacodynamics is the study of how drugs act on the living body.

A Nursing diploma student needs to understand the fundamentals of clinical pharmacology as a translational scientific discipline focused on rational drug development and utilization in therapeutics. Specifically, a Practical Nursing student learns how dosage calculations, drug administration techniques, major drug classifications, and nursing implications pertinent to selected pharmacologic agents are important.

An understanding of the principles of pharmacology and its appropriate application to individual patients is necessary for all those who develop, regulate, prescribe, and monitor drug therapies in patients. Consideration is given to adverse drug reactions and relevant issues in drug development, regulation, and pharmacoeconomics.

Skill 4: Principles of Psychiatry

Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, study, and treatment of mental disorders. These include various abnormalities related to mood, behavior, cognition, and perceptions.

A Practical Nursing student learns how to examine health promotion, maintenance, and restoration for clients with psychiatric disorders and alterations in mental health. The Nursing diploma student comes to understand the basic principles of mental health nursing. These principles are based on the concept that each individual has an intrinsic worth and dignity and has potential to grow.

The nursing student is sincere and interested in patients by studying patient behavior and allowing patients to make their own choices. The art of having conversations with the patient that revolve around needs, wants, and interests is essential to the Nursing diploma student. A realistic self-concept leads to recognition of one’s own feelings.

Skill 5: Being a Team Player

A Nursing diploma student becomes adept at learning to identify and meet the needs of the adult in an acute care setting. The Practical Nursing student functions both as a team member and leader while caring for clients with complex, chronic health conditions. Understanding when it is time to lead and when to follow is another hallmark of the nursing student.

Skill 6: Patient Focus

Practical Nursing students come to understand the basic concepts of nursing theory and that the focus is on the patient. A great nurse is patient-focused and puts the needs of the patient first. Learning to be a care provider, a good communicator, a patient advocate, and a leader among peers are other characteristics of the Practical Nursing student.

A Nursing diploma student must ensure that patients remain the central focus of the clinical team and of the medical establishment in which they have placed their confidence. Providing patient care that is respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences and needs and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions made by the Nursing diploma student, are paramount.

Learning respect for patient preferences, involving patients in decision-making, and understanding that patients have their own values and preferences is important to the Nursing diploma student. Practical Nurses must learn to treat patients with dignity, respect, and sensitivity to their cultures and autonomy.

Skill 7: Job Seeking

A nursing student works to transition from student to practicing nurse. This knowledge comes with exploration of job seeking skills, employer expectations, self-care, continuing education, and career advancement.

The Nursing diploma graduate treats job hunting as a job, devises a plan of action, and carries it out. The graduate should take the initiative, get involved with everyone from family to friends, and do a lot of research before applying for a nursing job.

Graduates of the Practical Nursing program find out as much about the prospective employer as they can. Also, the graduate must make sure the résumé is targeted to the employer who will receive it. Getting a job as a Licensed Practical Nurse (after passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN)) is much easier with a diploma from a reputable school.

What You Will Learn in Our Practical Nursing Diploma Program

The Practical Nursing diploma program provides the graduate with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to function as a Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN (after passing the NCLEX-PN exam). Fifty percent of the curriculum is devoted to theory and the other half to hands-on laboratory skills practice and off-site clinical externship rotations. These rotations include work at long-term care and rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, and childbearing (OB/GYN) and pediatric outpatient settings.

From 2013 to 2015, over 93% of graduates passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN).

How Long Is Our Practical Nursing Diploma Program?

The Practical Nursing diploma program can be completed in as little as 11 months with day classes and 14 months with evening classes at the Levittown campus. This is the only course of study at Hunter Business School that, with the successful completion of the National Council Licensure Examination, leads to a full professional license to practice nursing.


These basic nursing skills are very important to becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse. You can learn these skills and more in Hunter Business School’s Practical Nursing diploma program. Take your career to the next level and contact us today.