As the healthcare industry evolves, workers must offer more than just a technical skill set. So-called soft skills are vital for delivering high-quality and efficient services at every level.

So what are some of the most important soft skills to look for when staffing a healthcare organization?


Healthcare workers absolutely must be good communicators. While some positions may require solid writing skills, verbal communication is essential for success in any role. Active listening is key, as is the ability to explain things clearly and respectfully.


Almost all healthcare staffers will be part of a team. They’ll need to be able to take direction and provide leadership when appropriate, offer feedback and support, deal with criticism, and get along well with diverse personalities.


Successful healthcare workers are good at managing their workload and their time. In the healthcare industry especially, employees may need to stick to tight schedules, while also dealing with unexpected interruptions or emergencies. Which brings us to…


Healthcare is a 24/7 industry. Depending on their position, staffers may be called upon to take irregular shifts, come in early, or stay late. And within shifts, they’ll need to be flexible in handling whatever comes up on a given day. (Or night!)

Reliability and beyond

Of course healthcare employers want people who will show up on time and accomplish their assigned tasks. The best candidates go beyond that to show a level of dedication and attention to detail that instills trust in employers and patients.

Stress management

The healthcare field can be particularly stressful, so staffing candidates should be able to show grace under pressure. The ability to be resilient and calm in demanding situations will help workers succeed day-to-day. And an ongoing commitment to stress management can help staffers avoid burnout and make them especially attractive for longer-term staffing needs.

Positive energy

A positive attitude is important generally, but even more so for staffers interacting with patients who may be feeling vulnerable, uncomfortable, or scared. When looking at staffing candidates, ask yourself: Are they empathetic and respectful? Considerate? Optimistic? These traits will get them far in the healthcare industry.


While it’s important that healthcare workers be positive and compassionate, it’s also important that they are professional in their relationships with colleagues and patients. Ideally, they should have the ability to maintain a degree of composure in difficult and sometimes emotional circumstances.

What soft skills do you look for? Share them with us on Twitter and Facebook.