Talents You Can Exploit – How Health Care Professionals Can Capitalize on Soft Skills

Talents You Can Exploit – How Health Care Professionals Can Capitalize on Soft Skills was originally published on HospitalRecruiting.

"Soft Skills" word cloud made up of terms such as leadership, teamwork, communication, problem solving, work ethic, etc. The common question is, how do you do what you do?

As the answer to this question is initiated, it’s rapidly followed by —I could never!

Interruption ensues, even before any cogent rendering of any semblance of an answer.

No blame or labeling is assigned, but rather an acceptance of simple human subconscious defense.

The result is a mutation of the ‘I want to’ into a “should” and ends in one ‘shoulding’ all over oneself. Without intervention, the final result is finding oneself wired in place.

As a physician-entrepreneur-coach-consultant, being faced with resistance is part and parcel of daily life.

Those healthcare professionals who are committed to making a change and transforming their professional life adopt a COULD philosophy and remove should from their vocabulary.

This short piece is geared to expose a few concepts to encourage the willing readers to capitalize on their skillsets, often much broader and deeper than realized.

When I talk to physicians, nurses, or pharmacists about their desire for career transformation, the inevitable first words rendered are —BUT I don’t/ can’t / won’t…..

Let’s pause and take a quick step back. Begin by shifting the perspective a few degrees to look at the situation from a different vantage – a subconscious reprogramming of sorts.

Start by asking better questions to receive better answers.

What, Who and How

The bedrock premise is that healthcare professionals have a solid core of soft skills that go ignored, unrecognized, or minimized when contemplating a career shift. It’s these very skills that can propel open-minded seekers into the spotlight of hiring managers, startup founders, and fellow entrepreneurs.

Pause For Analysis

What skills, experiences, talents, and gifts do I already possess?

What is my track record, and what results can I show?

What is the ultimate goal I envision for my career?

What impact do I want to make?

Who do I want or need to become?

Who do I need to reach out or up towards to take the next step?

Who do I need to shed that’s holding me back?

Who can help me accelerate my progress?

How can I begin now?

The following are a list of highly desirable skills that the majority of readers already have mastered, but likely discount as average or not valuable.


Everyone plays a roll in driving patient care. Teamwork, combined with leadership and hard work, generates results. Medicine, like the corporate world, has a hierarchy with many levels of responsibility and accountability. These characteristics are sought after in industry, startup culture and are in demand. A track record of being part of a winning team, playing well with others, and contributing to positive outcomes are easily translated into non-patient care roles.

Teamwork & Communication

No single person can do it all in the medical arena. Cooperation, clear communication, and fostering a team attitude are critical for achieving desired metrics. Nurses supervise, manage, delegate, organize, and coordinate the efforts of other nurses, assistants, techs, and aids. Pharmacists share information with physicians and patients, educating and helping drive therapy decisions. Physicians’ roles vary from directing the entire show, to being a valuable supporting cast member or hard-charging care deliverer in the clinic or wards.

The point is that the best systems are held together by clear communication and leadership with concise directives and measurable outcomes. Everyone is accountable. When well-honed, it’s predictable.

The high stakes high pressure of medicine demands the best from its players. Failure is not an option. Dedication and determination are much needed in the corporate space as data show that only 34% of current workers are engaged in the work they are doing. Healthcare professionals by culture and training are taught to perform at a much higher level – patients and disease processes demand it. In short, you show up to play full out every day.

Problem Solving

Treating a medical condition is frequently only half of the battle. Patients bring unique circumstances of every flavor to the equation. The healthcare professional is called to do far more than spoon out medicine and dialed in to solve the often impossible problem.

Creativity, perseverance, and divergent thinking in solving complex patient and system-related problems separates the victorious from the rest. Innovative thinkers are abundant in medicine, and this ability can easily be applied to solving marketplace problems outside of the walls of the hospital.

Work Ethic

Medicine is a demanding occupation. One cannot sort of play. It’s full speed ahead for decades. While this can lead to burnout if not managed appropriately, the ability to generate energy and output by physicians and healthcare practitioners is staggering. The sheer commitment to getting through training is a testament to resiliency and stamina. This same energy applied to entrepreneurship, consulting, coaching, writing, or any other creative avenue will produce results.

Flexibility – Adaptability

No two days are alike in the clinic or hospital. Best laid plans are often dismantled. Patients and diseases don’t follow the prescribed course of action. The skilled flow effortlessly with the dynamic nature of medicine. Others decompensate, yell, throw things, or berate staff. It is those who flex, adapt, and grin when things don’t go as planned while bringing a positive solution-oriented mindset to the game that win the day.

Interpersonal Skills

Individual personalities span the spectrum and communication on an intimate level is a critical skill most healthcare professionals have honed over time. The ability to quickly read people and situations is a superpower that translates well into the corporate arena.

Step Forward Into Growth

More than a few reading this will have an itch to try something new or know someone who does. The first step is just that, a step forward into growth. Carve out time and inventory your skillset. Take a Strengths Finder assessment. Ask colleagues where your strengths lie. Block an afternoon or weekend for deep reflection about your true professional desires.

Congratulate yourself for today, but don’t waste another moment if you seek something more.

By HospitalRecruiting
HospitalRecruiting is an online healthcare job board for physicians, advanced practitioners, nurses, and allied health professionals. Visit our site to view current medical practice and employment opportunities or navigate to our Healthcare Career Resources Blog for more great articles like this one!