Why Are Soft Skills Important in Healthcare?

Our team at Qualicare Waterloo takes great pride in our focus on empathetic, compassionate caregiving. We know from many years of collective first-hand experience that a genuine smile, not to mention the willingness to listen and respond to patient needs attentively, can make all the difference. If you’re keen on joining the field, don’t hesitate to check out the latest programming options. These include accelerated alternatives that waive tuition costs and provide other perks – a win-win for everyone! 

Roles including that of a Registered Nurse, a Personal Support Worker, and a Registered Practical Nurse demand more than simply an education, however – you also need to be great with people! In that sense, why are soft skills important in healthcare environments? Let’s take a closer look.

Soft Skills at a Glance

Soft skills are personality and performance attributes that are improved through your own self development. They can’t be as easily learned from a textbook. Some examples include time management, conflict resolution, proactivity, empathy, patience, positivity, and teamwork in general. Interpersonal skills are much more valuable in many healthcare and caregiving environments, especially as demand continues to ramp up, because job-specific skills and technical training can be more easily taught. It takes a dedicated, efficient, and considerate individual to become a compassionate caregiver, no matter what specific role they take on.

The Patient-Client-Caregiver Relationship

Whenever you interact with a patient or member of their family, they already expect you to have the “technical” training and expertise associated with fulfilling role-related duties such as safely performing bed transfers (these are otherwise known as hard skills). They are generally more concerned over whether you carry out these duties with compassion, open-mindedness, kindness, and a focus on the patient’s well-being and comfort, which is where transferrable soft skills are crucial. The more efficiently and effectively you can engage with, stimulate, listen to, and address their everyday needs or concerns, the more you can deliver the “care” aspect of healthcare.

Communication and Emotional Intelligence

Knowing when to respond in a moment of crisis, such as when a patient develops more debilitating symptoms or passes on, is not enough. Professionally honed communication and emotional intelligence soft skills ensure you know how to respond. How to break the news to a highly stressed family member, for instance. How to adjust the care plan to prioritize patient comfort and safety while keeping your supervisor, practitioners, and/or specialists in the loop. And, of course, how best to utilize a combination of hard and other soft skills to improve the situation as best as possible. On the flip side, emotional intelligence and communications efficiency can minimize the risk of complications, stressed patients and family members, reporting errors, and more.  

How To Improve Communication Skills in Healthcare Environments

We’ve only scratched the surface of why soft skills are important in healthcare – there’s so much more to learn, and we encourage you to get out there and develop these highly transferrable capabilities of your own! If you’re ready to apply as a PSW, RN, or otherwise, we’d love to hear from you at Qualicare Waterloo. View our job openings today or contact us for assistance. 

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