So, you want to jump into healthcare? Millions like you have already grabbed positions and opportunities throughout the country.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the skills you’ll need to have in order to have a successful career in healthcare.
- Education and certification
- Empathy and compassion
- Time management
- Stress management
- Flexibility and adaptability
- An open mind
- Strong ethics
- Critical Thinking
Nurses go through multiple steps in order to get certified and licensed.
Working in healthcare can entail many different positions and opportunities. With such a broad field, there is a position in healthcare that is a perfect for everyone.
Getting your degree is only the beginning of your career pathway in healthcare.
Let us help you in your journey into a career in healthcare.
Expert advice from nurses like you
1. Education and certification
Working in healthcare requires specialized education. For example, if you want to become a nurse you have to you have to get an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Then you must pass the NCLEX exam in order to become a registered nurse.
If you decide to get into specialized nursing careers, certifications may be required. It is important for you to check the requirements of the job you are applying to. Check out our guide to writing a killer resume and acing the interview once you find a job you are interested in.
2. Empathy and compassion
In healthcare, being there for your patients is a number one priority. In your patient’s time of need, having an empathetic ear and a compassionate work ethic can make all the difference. When a someone displays compassion, it shows in their body language and tone. Naturally, patient’s can pick up on these things as well, so it can also help establish trust between you and the patient so both parties are more likely to have a positive experience.
Having empathy and compassion not only puts your patients at ease, but it can also help you excel in the workplace. Studies show that nurses who maintain a sense of empathy are less likely to experience nurse burnout.
Being able to be an effective communicator can make all the difference, in and outside of the workplace. Clear communication benefits your team, as it can lead to better collaboration and help avoid misunderstandings.
Being a good communicator can also help if you are looking to move into supervisory roles such as a charge nurse and nurse practitioner. Also, as an effective communicator you’re also more likely to ace the interview for the role, too.
4. Time management
The skill of time management is paramount in almost any workplace. This is especially true when working in healthcare.
There are certain positions in healthcare that will require you to be time management pros. For example, emergency room nurses have to be able to thrive in fast paced environments and must have great time management and multitasking skills.
Another factor about being a nurse is that you must always maintain your nursing CEUs. With having to constantly keep your education up to date, nurses must factor this into their already packed schedules.
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5. Stress management
There’s no question about it – most jobs in healthcare can be pretty stressful! So, to avoid becoming overwhelmed at work and even bringing some of the stress from work back home, it’s important to learn some stress management techniques.
A happy nurse equals happy patients. It’s true!
6. Flexibility and adaptability
Working in healthcare can be an unpredictable and demanding field with jobs that require long and varied hours. If you’re on the night crew, that usually doubles the challenge of finding a good work-life balance.
The only way most people are able to achieve some sort of work-life balance is through flexibility and adaptability.
Being flexible will help prepare you for unexpected changes of plans (which will happen). Also, being able to adapt to new situations will help in the ever-changing environment of the healthcare industry.
7. An open mind
Even if you have ample education and training for your position, there are still times where an unconventional solution may be the answer. It’s more than likely you will run into a problem with a patient that may be tricky to pin down. You may have to ask several colleagues for their input and run tests or try a few methods you wouldn’t have originally considered. This requires an open mind to trying new techniques to deal with complicated situations.
Working in healthcare presents you with many opportunities to work with a lot of different people who have various roles. Whether you are working in a hospital, clinic, care facility, or any other healthcare setting you will be a member of a team. In hospital settings, you will likely be working directly with certified nursing assistants, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and doctors.
Even when you are reporting to someone and having your duties assigned to you, it is still important to have leadership qualities. As a healthcare professional, you’ll likely have to make decisions at the spur of the moment, and you won’t always be able to run it by your supervisor. Having leadership skills ensures you will be prepared to handle situations where you may need to step up and act as a leader.
It has often been said that to serve others is the highest honor. It’s easy to forget that when you’re doing it for a living! Healthcare can often seem like a thankless job, and it can be a challenge to avoid getting frustrated. But it’s important to remember that despite some of the bad shifts, you are helping people every day. Being able to be of service to others takes a special person!
11. Strong Ethics
Having an ethical mindset is a trait that most employers look for. However, ethical working practices look much different for people working in healthcare than it does in most other fields.
There is the matter of privacy laws such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and PHI (Protected health information). Some people accidentally violate these laws unknowingly by doing things like posting on social media.
There is also a nursing code of ethics to keep in mind to ensure you are ethically serving your patients without bias.
12. Critical Thinking
As a nurse, your patients will rely on you and trust that you will make the right decisions for their health. However, when it comes to providing healthcare to people things are rarely ever as cut and dry as most people assume. There will be certain situations where you will have to exercise critical thinking. Whether it’s thinking quickly on your feet or dealing with an abnormal case, nurses will exercise this skill multiple times daily.
Having these qualities won’t make or break your career in healthcare, but they will certainly help you succeed! And the good news is that these soft skills can be easily learned with a few lifestyle changes.
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“American Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Nurses.” nursing.rutgers.edu. Accessed March 4, 2022.
“NCLEX & Other Exams.” ncsbn.org. Accessed Feb. 18, 2022.
“Happier Nurses = Better Patient Care.” pphas.org. Accessed Feb. 18, 2022.