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Herzing Staff

Flexibility in Healthcare: Embracing the Role of Soft Skills for Patient Care

The most capable healthcare workers are often those with specialized soft skills that mesh well with the hard skills they’ve learned.

Change is inevitable. Across healthcare, we constantly experience changes in how we administer bedside care, the types of treatment being recommended and the types of technology at our disposal. Your success as a healthcare worker will depend on your ability to adapt to these changes and integrate an expanding array of training and knowledge. The most capable healthcare workers are often those with specialized soft skills that mesh well with the hard skills they’ve learned in degree programs and during clinical rotations and real-world experience.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most important soft skills you need to bring to your evolving role in healthcare:

Being a Team Player

Collaboration and teamwork are important in every career, but few fields demand it more than healthcare. With life and death on the line and such a vast, intertwined group of professionals relying on each other — doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, hospital administrators and other allied health professionals — your patients need to know you can work together under the most critical of circumstances. Through skilled interprofessional collaboration, you and your team can better ensure all aspects of a patient’s intake, diagnosis, surgery, and recovery are fully addressed. You will also improve overall patient satisfaction and maintain efficient and cost-effective processes.

Maintaining Open and Honest Communication

Look at any championship sports team in action and you’ll notice one common factor — they are always communicating with each other. It’s the same for healthcare workers in high-pressure situations. Proper communication, and the skills to know how to communicate, can be the difference between a patient recovering or not. Whether it is speaking, writing, listening, offering feedback or real-time critical thinking, the ability to assess and communicate about a situation will set you apart from others and elevate the essential role you’ll play in your day-to-day work.

Embracing Diversity to Aid in Comfort

The ability to walk in someone else’s shoes is an important life skill, but for anyone in healthcare, it must be a top priority. Patients feel most comfortable in a healthcare environment where their medical provider is empathetic, accepting, and respectful. If patients don’t feel comfortable, they may not respond to treatments positively, which can alter their health outcomes and even their willingness to pursue medical care when they need it most.

While you can’t fully know what someone else is going through, the ability of medical providers to have cultural competence can have a beneficial impact on many underrepresented populations. This is one reason why so many of our best healthcare workers share a background, culture, language, religion, or other heritage with the people in the communities they serve. When you can understand your patient better, you can treat your patient more fully and effectively.

Understanding Technology’s Role in Healthcare

Technology will continue to have an evolving role in patient care, and with the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) in every field, you'll need to adapt to this change as AI technology can streamline processes, including analyzing medical results faster and providing new in-roads for effective treatment and recovery.

From personal health management to diagnoses and treatment, technology continues to revolutionize the healthcare industry and the resulting changes to patient care are occurring every day. Wearable technology, personalized medicine, early detection, and diagnostic and data management are just four examples of how AI is changing our working conditions and our ability to address conditions previously beyond our scope.

In just the last few years there has been an increase in telehealth programs, also known as virtual healthcare visits. For many more rural communities, this technology represents an opportunity to access regular medical care without the burden of geography. By staying informed of new technology and continually adding to your knowledge base, your ability to deliver service will also improve.

Bringing Your Skills Together to Serve

Medical providers can enhance their patients’ experience by leveraging these and other soft skills and their understanding of and capability to utilize new technologies.

Other soft skills you should pursue include:

  • Attention to Detail
  • Decision-Making
  • Time Management
  • Leadership Abilities

Through compassionate care and the adaptation of technological advancements in healthcare, we now can influence positive patient experiences while empowering more people to pursue a rewarding career in healthcare. Even if you aren’t quite sure what your pathway to healthcare is (and here’s one resource that can help), Herzing University offers comprehensive degree pathways for those interested in bringing their own special skills and service mentality to patient care.

Learn More About Our Healthcare Career Programs


* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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