Should healthcare employers be providing training to improve soft skills such as communication? If so, when?

According to a study conducted by global staffing firm Robert Half, 84% of companies are willing to hire and train a candidate who lacks required skills. Healthcare is unique in that demonstration of technical skills and knowledge through certification is vital, and often required. However, soft skills are an area in need of growth that training does not necessarily cover.

In response to this need, healthcare employers are becoming increasingly invested in providing training to build their teams' essential soft skills and improve the patient experience. The top five most common training methods used, according to our 2020 Industry Outlook, are shown in the graph below.

Screen Shot 2020-06-28 at 9.45.14 PMSoft skills training can benefit healthcare workers at any stage of their career, but the type of training that may be most effective for someone early in their career may vary from that of someone with years of experience. Implementing training efforts both for new healthcare workers and seasoned professionals can make for highly effective communicators. Here's how.

New Healthcare Workers

Providing essential soft skills training early in employees' careers is optimal. Instead of reframing the way they've "always done things," they'll establish a strong foundation as a valuable member of the healthcare team.

Soft skills to address early in one's healthcare career include:
  • Communication skills (verbal, nonverbal, written)
  • Teamwork 
  • Active listening 
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Professionalism and personal brand
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Taking initiative 
  • Adaptability/flexibility

NHA's PersonAbility™ helps build these essential skills and drive behavior change that can help form stronger relationships and build trust, both with patients and within internal healthcare teams. Although this training resource is not exclusively for new healthcare workers, as even those with years of experience can benefit from the training, it covers a broad range of topics that makes it ideal for this population and sets them up for success.

Seasoned Healthcare Workers

Healthcare professionals with more experience, particularly those that have a lot of patient interactions, may benefit from a training that takes a deeper dive into specific patient communication strategies. Perhaps they work great with others, and patients generally have positive interactions with them ... but they struggle in more challenging areas such as health coaching, when the goal is to get chronically ill patients to make lasting behavior changes. 

Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 9.59.55 PMNHA's Principles of Health Coaching provides a simple, innovative way for educators and employers of clinical care professionals to help their clinicians build the necessary skills for better patient communication, education and engagement. Using motivational interviewing, healthcare professionals learn how to effectively serve as a health coach, empowering patients to improve their health outcomes. 

A Strategy for Building Highly Effective Communicators

We recognize that soft skills training in healthcare is highly important right now. That's why we've decided to bundle PersonAbility™ and Principles of Health Coaching™ together, so healthcare institutions can create a team of highly effective communicators who not only demonstrate essential soft skills for healthcare, but can also effectively motivate patients. 

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