Improve Patient Care with a Focus on Soft Skills

The goal of every health care facility: hire the best, most qualified personnel for every position within the organization to provide the highest level of patient care.

“Hiring the most-qualified healthcare providers is a complex task since you can’t rely solely on test scores and certifications. The criteria for employees who provide direct personal care to vulnerable patients include ‘soft skills’ as well as appropriate training and licensure,” notes Bryan Barajas, PreCheck Marketing Director.

Education, degrees, and certifications are necessary, essential tools in the world of health care. But these crucial components do not tell the entire story when it comes to success in the area of patient care. A full range of interpersonal aptitudes, from communication skills to compassion to initiative, are critical for employees expected to interact with patients and others on the health care team. The best health care workers will possess a mix of technical skill and soft skills.

Which soft skills have the greatest impact on patient care?

1. Empathy 

Defined as an awareness of and an attempt to understand a person’s emotions and how they feel.

A listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, an obvious I’m-not-rushing-you attitude are examples of empathy in action. When a patient’s feelings and concerns, fears, and questions matter to the health care professional, whether it be a receptionist, technician, nurse, or physician, the patient will know it. And he/she will appreciate being treated like an individual rather than a “number.” Studies have revealed that patients treated by empathetic physicians have a better outcome, aided by several empathy-related realities.

“Empathy can help deepen understanding of complex topics, both because an empathetic explainer will notice when a point isn’t getting through and will react accordingly and because a patient or customer may feel less hesitant about asking questions,” suggests WEGO Health. “Perhaps a major reason for better patient outcomes is the higher rate of patient compliance when they are treated empathetically. Feeling seen and heard makes patients more likely to listen to and follow the recommended course of action. This can be explained in part by trust,”

2. Flexibility

For employees, the world of health care is quite often deserving of the descriptors stressful and demanding. Long shifts that stretch beyond the traditional nine to five of jobs in other sectors come with the territory in health care. Emergencies, staffing shortages, and any number of other unpredictable factors create an environment that calls for workers blessed with an aptitude for flexibility.

Not everyone can roll with the punches. Some folks can only perform at an optimal level in a stable, non-changing environment. But those committed to patient care should understand that schedules will change, crises will arise, and the best way to keep these scenarios from negatively impacting patient care is to embrace an attitude of flexibility.

3.  Confidence

Not to be confused with or interchanged with arrogance, an air of confidence is comforting to patients and their families. While arrogance shuts down the patient-practitioner connection, an air of confidence strengthens the relationship.

“The last thing a patient dealing with an unstable medical issue wants to see in a nurse is a lack of confidence. Patients and co-workers alike need to feel confident in the abilities of every nurse on staff,” insists the Scrubs Mag editor. The same applies to technicians, physicians, and everyone, really, who interacts with patients.

 4. Collaboration

Whether you label it as “playing well with others” or being a “team player,” employees who embrace the power of collaboration will indeed be an asset to the team. And let’s face it, excellent patient care does not happen without a team effort, as patients routinely interact with a number of folks across a variety of departments throughout their experience with a facility.

“Collaboration is important because it has an immediate and direct impact on patient care. Being able to work alongside others not only improves the level of care and safety for patients, but it can also help increase efficiency, job satisfaction, responsiveness and more,” suggests Antique Nguyen. Strive to hire those who give more than lip service to the importance of teamwork.

At Medical Temporaries, Inc., we understand that a blend of clinical and “soft” skills makes for quality candidates who will help you deliver the best in patient care. You can rely on our staffing specialists to screen for these success-related skills. Give our team a call today.

Published by Medical Temporararies, Inc.

Medical Temporaries, Inc. is more than a temp agency, we're a staffing company with all types of opportunities available. Whether you're looking for full-time, part-time, short-term or long-term employment, we are here to build the bridge between you and you're Ideal job.

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