Last month’s blog, The Top 7 Reasons to Join the Healthcare Field, provided an outlook of the healthcare field. It discussed the reasons why healthcare is a good professional choice for students entering the workforce as well as for people looking to make a career change. This article is a shift from the pragmatic reasons to a discussion of the personal characteristics and soft skills that will drive success and happiness as a healthcare professional.
Many healthcare professionals witness pain and suffering on a daily basis. In these situations, they must treat patients and their families with compassion and respect. A kind word or action can make all the difference to a patient; whether in a doctor’s office, hospital, or treatment room.
Those who work in a patient-centered job must understand how important their disposition is to the people they will be assisting. And even if you’re having a bad day or you’re just not in a good mood – for whatever reason –personal feelings must be put aside on the job.
There are many areas where communication skills play an important role in a healthcare worker’s success. As it relates to empathy, employees dealing with patients must be a good listener to understand their medical and emotional needs. It’s also necessary to know how to find the right comforting words when the situation requires difficult conversations with patients and their families. Nonverbal communications, such as facial expressions and body language, are also important skills.
All members of a medical team must be able to understand and follow instructions and clearly articulate directions. Listening skills are essential. Clear communications give the entire team the information they need to respond quickly and accurately to every situation, including emergencies.
Medical professionals learn how to follow protocol that protects patient confidentiality. Be sure to understand HIPAA privacy rules, which have very stringent guidelines regarding verbal and written communications.
Accuracy is important in all professions, but in the medical field, the smallest error could have extreme repercussions. Missing a step or making an error is not an option. Medical facilities provide many technology tools that help with organization. There will also be department procedures in place that maintain orderliness and ensure thorough patient care. Ultimately, it’s up to the employee to use the tools at their disposal to do their job with precision.
Working with sick and injured people day in and day out can take its toll, even for the most steadfast personality. If you’re considering a patient facing career, it’s important to understand that you need to be able to deal responsibly with traumatic situations. Your coworkers and patients will depend on your ability to deal with stress.
Consider a time when you needed medical treatment. What was it about the nurse, lab technician, or office receptionist that made the experience easier for you? The person or persons who come to mind probably have many of these characteristics, giving them a great “bedside manner.” If your personality is a fit for your career choice, you will have the same impact on people you meet and work with throughout your career.