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5 Valuable Soft Skills in Healthcare

soft skills

Health care professionals are often seeing their clients when they feel most vulnerable. It’s crucial to have honed some key soft skills in order to provide comfort and reassurance, as well as confidence in the medical team’s abilities and integrity.

Here are 5 important soft skills that patients appreciate from their healthcare providers:

1. Empathy

Putting oneself in another’s shoes is truly a great gift. Empathizing with patients means understanding how he or she feels, as well as worries that may be felt. People with a high “emotional quotient” (EQ) are well equipped to feel strong empathy with others and helps them bond and gain trust from others. Basically, it means they care.

Emotional intelligence indicates one perceives, interprets, and understands another’s emotion and responds in a way that shows camaraderie and concern. Empathy is a very important skill to have when interacting with all people, and especially with patients who are feeling nervous, uncomfortable, or in pain.

2. Effective communication

Communicating in clear and understandable ways — either verbally in-person or through digital messages — means one’s interpersonal skills are honed. This is crucial in the field of healthcare, as the topics being communicated about are so important. It may be a discussion about someone’s long-term health prognosis, or even a life-and-death issue.

Being articulate and succinct, while using appropriate body language, takes special skills that are not innate to everyone. Some need to work at this, as well as being a great listener. Instead of waiting to talk, take time to truly listen and interpret what is being said. Physicians, nurses, billing agents, technicians, and others in the healthcare field can all consistently work at improving this skill.

A healthcare workplace with good communication among the staff and with patients is one that can offer its very best patient-care outcomes.

3. Organization

A disorganized healthcare office or facility will not run effectively for long. There are so many components that must be well-organized within the medical field — Exam rooms/supplies, patient records, appointment settings/charts, work schedules, cross-communications with hospitals and other healthcare offices/labs, and more.

Time management is a component of organization that must run effectively, too. Professionals in healthcare must manage their schedules and job responsibilities in an efficient, on-time, composed manner. They must know how and what to prioritize, especially if an emergency arises or multiple tasks are required at the same time. They should know how to delegate and stay calm under pressure. Being an on-call professional takes this to an even more challenging level. It can be done.

4. Customer service

Being a talented medical professional is excellent, but not enough to make patients want to return for care. They want to feel welcome and appreciated, like customers in any other business. They want respect and positive feedback, which equates to great customer service. Make them feel comfortable, introduce them to others so they know the names of the office team. Explain procedures, costs, online services, and other details with care.

Most importantly, listen closely to their questions and answer honestly. Take the time and consideration that makes them want to return. A high rate of patient-visit satisfaction is paramount for a successful healthcare practice.

5. Attention to detail

Paying close attention to small details is an often-unrecognized soft skill, so it gets missed by some healthcare professionals. It’s a great way to add that extra effort to the other soft skills mentioned. Not only can paying attention to details help in communications, customer service, and elsewhere — It can also help make-or-break proper diagnoses and treatment plans.

If a patient softly mentions a minor symptom or questions whether wrong insurance or medical codes were used, these can trigger a warning in the healthcare professional who is truly paying attention and help stave off a dangerous detour or mishap.

Pay close attention to the details in every aspect of office work and patient care. Distractions are common in fast-paced environments, but those who can focus on detail tend to help keep things in order and safely running.

Soft skills are critical in today’s healthcare environment. Clients remember how they felt when a staff member of a medical office was helpful and caring.


Professionals who have personal traits that focus on compassion, adaptability, and quality communication do well in the healthcare field. Effective healthcare teams work well together and use their talents and their soft skills to build a kind and helpful practice.

While hard skills will always be important, soft skills can be the factor that makes patients and co-workers feel even better and glad to be there.

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