When you apply for a position in healthcare, potential employers are looking at more than your training and employment history. While your clinical experience and skills are obviously important, your “soft” skills or personality traits are just as important. These are essential attributes that you will use to work with your patients, colleagues, and peers. In some situations, the soft skills can be just as important, if not more so, than your technical skills.

What personal skills should you have for a job in healthcare?


Whether you chose to work as a medication aide, a home care assistant, or decide to become a phlebotomy technician after training at PhlebotomyU, having empathy is vital. Your patients will likely experience anxiety or feel overwhelmed from time to time. Therefore, being able to empathize in uncertain situations your patients face is essential.

An Effective Communicator

Superior healthcare centers on effective communication. Whether you are communicating with colleagues from different departments, leadership, patients, or their families, positive communication matters. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that a strong positive relationship and communication between patients and healthcare workers correlates with improved outcomes among patients.

Be a Team Player

Very rarely does a patient interact with just one member of the healthcare team. Rather, patients tend to rely on networks of individuals working together. For example, a patient who is scheduled for a minor surgery, will work with their primary doctor, a surgeon, an anesthetist, nurses, and many other medical professionals during their course of treatment. These healthcare professionals must have the ability to collaboratively work together to communicate, pool ideas and resources to determine the best path for treating a patient.

Managing Stress

Stress management is critical as almost every position in healthcare has the potential to be stressful. Just consider the Coronavirus pandemic and the distress experienced by nurses, doctors, and respiratory therapist currently faced with providing treatment for extremely ill patients. Without proper techniques and strategies to help you manage your stress, you may find that you are at risk of burning out.

A Positive Attitude

You will likely care for individuals with complex medical conditions. In fact, over time you may find that you are experiencing distress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions. Therefore, maintaining a positive attitude is vital to your mental well-being.

Be Flexible

Healthcare is generally not a 9-5 job. You may not always clock off at the end of the shift. In some roles, if a patient is admitted two minutes before your finish time, you may need to stay to help. A demanding patient or short staffing may mean that you do not have a scheduled break. It is important that you can be flexible, especially when your shift does not go as you planned.

There are more soft skills that are important should you decide to work in healthcare. Can you add anything to the list?