6 essential skills for a successful career in healthcare

by Feb 2, 2023

There are many great reasons to land a career in the healthcare industry. The most significant advantage is that you get to help people live their healthiest lives and make the world a better place. On top of that, you get the chance to choose from many different job titles and areas of expertise. What you may not realise is that wherever you end up, everyone in healthcare shares a common set of skills.

Yes, there will be some specific skills that surgeons may have that a medical biller may not, but effective leadership in the healthcare industry requires a similar set of soft skills, including a sense of empathy and the ability to practice self-care. Today, we will talk about these and many other essential skills that you will need in healthcare.

1. The ability to work as a team

Regardless of what profession you choose, if you work in healthcare, then you will need to be able to work as part of a team. No one person can cure all of the health concerns of the world or help all of the patients that require care. It is essential that you can collaborate with other people and pick up the slack when necessary.

Being a team player also requires that you hone your communication skills so that you can adequately convey when you need help or when you have the solution to a problem. When everyone on the team does their part, the patients reap the rewards, and that is something you can feel good about day after day.

2. Stress management

Many jobs in healthcare can be very stressful if you let them get that way. Whether you’re a nurse, anesthesiologist, or anything in between, there will be times when you will be at your wit’s end, but you cannot let it affect your work. If you let your stress and anxiety get out of control, then it can affect your mental health, and your issues will only pile on from there.

There are many ways that you can manage your stress on the job. To start, don’t take on more than you can handle. You’ve heard the stories of nurses taking double shifts for a week straight, and while the patients appreciate your dedication, you also need to have a work-life balance, so you don’t stretch yourself too thin. You can also manage stress by taking a break when necessary to practice some meditation or deep breathing. The point is to find a way to refresh your mind.

3. Self-care

Another way that you can eliminate stress in the healthcare field is to practice self-care. That includes getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night so that you can wake up feeling mentally and physically refreshed so you can take on the new day. When you wake up, consider adding 20 minutes of cardio or light weights into your daily routine. In addition to fighting stress, these healthy habits will also help you to stay energised throughout the day.

You can also get the energy you need by eating a healthy diet rich in vegetables and protein, drinking water throughout the day, and taking helpful supplements like vitamin D and magnesium.

4. Flexibility and multitasking

While the healthcare field is very rewarding, it is also very fast-paced. Whether you are answering phones or prescribing medication, there will always be last-minute changes, and you may need to reverse course in an instant. Most careers in healthcare will also require constant multi-tasking, so you will need to turn from one task to another quickly without sacrificing quality work. Consider how good you are with multitasking before choosing your particular healthcare field.

5. Empathy

When you work in healthcare, you will likely work with many patients who are having a hard time, and you will want to be empathetic and understanding of their situation. Some patients may be dealing with excessive pain, others could be assisting a loved one in need, and others might be struggling to pay a bill. Whatever it is, you will need to show empathy and see the issue from their point of view so you can provide a proper solution.

6. Problem-solving skills

Since all people and patients are different, you may experience new issues that may not be found in a textbook. At that point, you will need to employ your problem-solving skills. You may be required to solve logic issues and math equations and use technology to find the answers that aren’t in front of you. Many days, you may also need to use outside-of-the-box thinking to come up with solutions while ensuring that you are staying in compliance with guidelines and doing what is best for the patients.


As you can see, there are many skills that you will need when working a career in healthcare, and not all of them can be learned in school. By mastering these skills, you can have a long and successful career.

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher

Freelance Writer

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees”- Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and search for the truth. You can follow her work at charliefletcher.contently.com