Skills and qualities of a community nurse

Monday, June 19, 2023

-             This post was updated on 4th January 2024



The skills and qualities of community nurses play a vital role in the care they deliver to adults and children in the community. Due to the nature of the role, community nurses are passionate, resilient and highly skilled. They are experts in their field and possess a variety of community nursing skills and qualities, which include:

Working as a community nurse, you will need to consistently demonstrate and develop these four core skills and qualities to excel in your nursing career and deliver the best possible care to your clients. Let’s take a look at each of them in more detail below.



Excellent communication skills

Effective communication in community nursing is essential to ensure your clients receive tailored care, their families can build meaningful professional relationships with you, and you work collaboratively with your colleagues. To be an excellent communicator, you need to be confident and skilled in all types of communication, which are:


Verbal communication

Verbal communication is a key nursing skill required in any nursing role. Verbal communication consists of sounds, words, language and speech. Each area is key in effective communication.

When verbally communicating with clients, their families and your colleagues, you need to speak clearly and slowly to ensure those around you can understand you and have time to digest what you’re saying.


Non-verbal communication

In some cases you may be delivering care to individuals who have difficulty speaking or are non-verbal due to conditions which may impact their communication skills. In these circumstances, you need to be patient and sensitive to the individual’s communication difficulties.

Some clients may require communication support tools and programmes such as Makaton or use their phone or tablet to type out what they want to say. It’s important to work with the client and their family to support them in using the best communication tools and methods that enable them to have conversations to the best of their ability.


Written communication

For clients who maybe non-verbal or not comfortable verbally communicating, written communication can enable conversations to happen without anyone speaking. Letters, emails, pen pictures and drawings can provide clear and concise conversations that can support the client under your care to ask for help when needed or ask questions if they are unsure of anything.


Visual communication

Similar to written communication, visual communication doesn’t require speech but images, visuals and diagrams. Visual communication can help deliver a message clearly, such as a presenting a client's care plan and daily routines through imagery and icons.


Active listening

As a nurse you’re not only responsible for providing advice and feedback but also actively listening to those around you. Active listening is a vital skill in nursing and one of the most effective methods of understanding your environment, how people are feeling and what may happen next. To learn more about active listening and how and when to use it, take a look at the NHS guide on active listening.


Social awareness

Social awareness in nursing is the ability to observe, understand and determine the emotions of others. As a community nurse, having a high level of social awareness demonstrates that you have good active listening skills and the ability to recognise how each individual in your environment feels.


Communication cycle in health and social care

The cycle of communication is a process of sending, receiving and decrypting messages. The cycle of communication takes places all the times in care settings, especially for those who may have difficulty communicating or expressing their emotions. The communication cycle is also known as Argyle’s communication cycle, which was first developed in 1965 by Charles Berner and later reformed by Argyle.


You can see a breakdown of the communication the cycle below.

Argyle’s communication cycle



Resilience skills and qualities

Resilience is built over time, its something that all nurses will learn and develop throughout their careers. Resilience skills and qualities are important in community nursing roles. Below is a breakdown of the key skills and qualities community nurses should possess to excel in their nursing careers and develop their resilience.


Ability to be autonomous

In some cases, you may have to work a shift on your own (lone working), which requires you to make autonomous clinical reactive decisions.

Demonstrating autonomy in community nursing showcases your ability to confidently manage any incidents that occur without immediately asking for support from your clinical lead.



Demonstrating compassion in the care you deliver can lead to better outcomes for your clients and support you to build strong professional relationships with the client, their family and your colleagues. Compassion is one of the 6C’s of nursing, which were created to streamline nurses focus on the care they deliver, enabling them to be aligned and focus solely on providing person-centred care to those they were supporting.



Authenticity in nursing is a quality that is often associated with leadership. Authentic nurses can naturally instil trust in their clients and colleagues and demonstrate self-confidence, encouraging clients to feel comfortable and relaxed under their care.


Rational detachment

Rational detachment in nursing means controlling your behaviours and reactions, not taking things personally and detaching yourself from a shift to look after your mental and physical health. Nurses who can rationally detach themselves keep their work and personal lives separate and don’t let the two intertwine, leading to better quality sleep, healthier lifestyles and more job opportunities.

View our community nurse jobs near you



Exceptional clinical skills

Clinical skills are made up of three areas:

These three key areas are important for community nurses to obtain and develop throughout their careers to ensure they consistently deliver the best possible care to adults and children in the community. 


Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills encompass many traits and qualities experienced nurses display in the care they deliver. By actively listening in your role, demonstrating autonomy, being socially aware of your environment and confidently communicating verbally and non-verbally, you will excel in your nursing career and continue developing your interpersonal skills.


Medical skills

Depending on the care you deliver and how many clients you care for will determine your current medical skillset. Working as a Thornbury Community Services (TCS) nurse, you can expect to carry out a variety of skills and responsibilities in your community nurse role, which may include:

  • Monitoring the client’s airways and breathing
  • Administering medication
  • Monitoring the client’s general health and wellbeing
  • Monitoring stock and conducting safety checks on equipment
  • Supporting with physiotherapy and following a prescribed plan
  • Keeping records
  • Managing infection prevention and supporting tissue viability
  • Consistent communication with clients, family and professionals
  • Delivering personal care and hygiene
  • Moving and handling
  • Carrying out elimination management
  • Supporting the client with their nutrition
  • Supporting the client to meet their social goals and aspirations


Health and safety skills

Having a good understanding and knowledge of health and safety ensures those under your care remain safe and well at all times. It’s important to use the above skills and qualities in your role daily, to monitor the client’s emotions, needs and medical state to maintain consistency in their care.



Leadership skills and qualities

In any nursing role, leadership skills and qualities are essential. Demonstrating leadership skills can showcase your professionalism, dedication and drive to excel in your nursing career and progress to a managerial style role, like a clinical lead.

Let’s take a look at the top leadership skills and qualities community nurses should possess.


Time management skills

Strong time management skills are crucial in a community nursing role. They can enable you to deliver care to the best of your ability, reduce stress during shifts and identify the most important tasks to complete to ensure your client remains stable and calm under your care.

Related: Time management in nursing


Empathy skills

Nurses are taught to treat patients and clients with empathy. Empathetic nurses can easily understand the needs and emotions of those under their care. Empathy is a skill that nurses often utilise during their shifts to help them ‘step into the shoes’ of their clients to recognise and understand their needs. Empathy is an important skill in healthcare and can have a huge impact on your clients, health, safety and wellbeing.

Related: The power of empathy by RCN Magazine



Delegation is an important leadership skill in nursing. If used correctly, it can significantly improve the quality-of-care clients receive, build trust and lead to strong relationships with your nursing colleagues. Delegating can help you to save time and focus on important tasks that can result in better outcomes for your clients and their care.


Now you know the essential skills and qualities of a community nurse, you’re ready to take the next step and find your ideal community nursing job with TCS. Click the button below to see the latest nursing jobs in your area.

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Community nursing jobs for skilled nurses

TCS matches skilled registered nurses to fulfilling community-based nursing roles across the UK, helping make a positive difference in people’s lives every day.

To join our passionate nursing team, complete the form below or contact our dedicated Resourcing Recruitment Team via phone: 0333 323 3762 or click the button to email them. 

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