The need for soft skills among health related professionals (specifically doctors and nurses) has been making headlines for the past few years. Fortunately, such news is no longer just talk – many facilities have begun to implement soft skill evaluative measures and training options.
According to an article on Forbes, “Social Skills And Leadership In Healthcare: The Case For Boosting Doctors’ EQ”, in the UK, the National Health Service has included leadership and collaboration as key competencies for engaging staff and improving patient satisfaction. Even in the U.S. there has been an increase in Social Intelligence related skills programs introduced to doctors and nurses. The Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) included a workshop on SOCIAL STYLE as part of its 2014 annual meeting in Boston. Read more about this session here.
But how important are soft skills when it comes to providing care? Many people argue that if they have to undergo open heart surgery, they want the doctor who is operating to be the best of the best – even if he or she is lacking any sort of interpersonal skills.
Doctors and nurses as well as other healthcare professionals have the extremely hard task of working with people whom, everyday are facing their own mortality, the mortality of a loved one, or life-altering illnesses or injuries. It’s hard to imagine someone working in such a career without the necessary skills to be optimistic, empathize, regulate their own emotions, understand what others’ behaviors mean, as well as regulate their own happiness and mindset. Many times, it seems that the best doctors are those who are passionate about what they do. They demonstrate interpersonal competencies because they really do care about their patients’ health.
According to the Forbes article “…physicians’ social skills or ‘EQ’ are related to their job performance… In a review of 485 independent studies, higher EQ was positively associated with ‘more compassionate and empathetic patient care’ (…), ‘higher-scoring assessments of knowledge’ (…), ‘and effective coping with organizational pressures and leadership’ (p. 762).”
Having soft skill training is imperative to the success of doctors and nurses as well as the outcome of patient health. Whether it’s behavioral style training, emotional intelligence training, or resiliency training, we can always get better – it just takes practice.