Life Skills Every Health Professional Needs


When working in any area within the health professions, there are skills that are required of you above and beyond what you studied when training for your position. In fact, these are the skills that most healthcare employers look for when hiring nurses, technicians and support staff. These are the skills that give you an edge when competing for a job.

Careers in nursing, for example, should be easy to find, but even with a shortage, if you lack certain skills many providers feel it’s better to go one short than to fill a spot with someone who doesn’t ‘fit.’ According to The University of Arizona, these skills that are so much in demand of nurses today are called ‘soft skills.’ When submitting a résumé, take the time to think about which of these skills you have and then highlight them. You’d be surprised at how this will improve your call-back ratio for that all-important interview.

Interpersonal Communication

Over time, it seems as though terminology we’ve always used somehow morphs into other words and although we are talking about the same things, there comes a gap in communication. What today’s professional calls one thing, previous generations referred to as something else. This is where problems can occur. This is extremely important within the field of health for a number of reasons, but mostly to avoid errors that could be life-threatening and to provide better patient/professional dialogue.

Well Organized and Punctual

If there is anything that can lead to medical errors it would be a lack of organization or being on time. It is imperative that nurses know exactly where something is so that they can access what they need in times of emergency. When a patient is coding, for example, there’s no time to stop and think where you left the crash cart. It needs to be exactly where it should be and just a few moments looking for it may make the difference between life and death. The same holds true with medications and treatments patients need. A few moments missing a dose is not usually dire, but a few hours or a few days could cost a life.

Must Be a Team Player

In every profession it is important to see yourself as part of a team, but it is even more so in nursing careers. Take, for example, a nurse on the floor of a hospital. Yes, you will be assigned a certain amount of patients and those will be in your charge for that shift. But what if one of your fellow nurses is dealing with a particularly difficult patient and isn’t in a position to step away when one of their other patients needs them in that moment? You don’t have the luxury of refusing to help that patient in need because you don’t like the other nurse or don’t work well with others. That patient’s life could depend on your ability to step up to the plate. That’s a team player and that’s what more hospitals need today.

Whether you are looking for your first job as a nurse or are submitting your nursing résumé to another hospital or physician’s office, it is vital that you list these important soft skills. These are what will set you apart from those competing for the same job. Want to excel in your profession? Focus on these soft skills and it’s a sure win every time.