Skills For The Future Of Healthcare

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The healthcare field is going through major changes with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the introduction of Health Care Exchanges, and the loss of private insurance policies for millions of unhappy Americans.  Add to that the rise in premium costs for a large number of insured and higher deductibles, and you have an unhappy customer base to work with.

The way health care is delivered and accessed is going to present challenges for those who are looking to make healthcare a career.  The basics haven’t changed.  Caring for those in need, helping to heal and comfort, providing long-term care for those who are in assisted living, nursing homes or hospice are still rewarding careers.  Healthcare providers still need training, skills and experience to do the job.  They also need a caring, customer-focused attitude.  They have to be able to work under pressure with changing priorities and strong, commanding personalities. 

What are some of the skills required of healthcare workers of the future?  NetPlaces listed several skills that may not be new, but are essential to a successful healthcare career. 

Leadership and persuasiveness topped the list.  In a hospital setting, doctor’s office or other care facility, healthcare professionals need all their persuasive skills to gain cooperation from patients who are dealing with a wide range of emotions.  There is a gentle but strong persuasiveness needed to get patients to comply with some procedures that are scary and uncomfortable.  It takes a strong and professional individual to be able to take control in a situation and quickly gain the confidence and trust of a stranger to do what is necessary.

Physical stamina and manual dexterity are essential to move patients from place to place and handle equipment and medications properly.  While a healthcare professional may work alone with patients much of the time, they are still an integral part of a team, and need to know how to communicate and work well together for the good of the patient.

The last skill on the list is the ability to teach others. It is important for healthcare workers to be able to explain and educate patients now that the Affordable Care Act has become a reality.  Healthcare insurance used to take the uncertainty and stress out of dealing with illness and other medical conditions.  Just knowing you had a safety net of medical coverage to take care of the cost allowed patients to concentrate on doing what was necessary to get better.  The uncertainty of costs, deductibles, eligibility, affordability and quality of care under the new health care laws have added new stresses along with the medical conditions themselves.

Add some other skills to the list. Detachment – not from the patients, but the ability to set aside your own feelings about the changes in healthcare law for the sake of the patients.  It’s the ability to remain a-political and focus on what is available instead of what may be lost.

Become a subject-matter-expert, or SME.  Patients will look to you for answers, and you can become a great asset to the hospital, practice or facility just by educating yourself on the ACA.   The accessibility of healthcare may be changing, but the basics never will.  Some positions will be lost, but many more will be opening up with advances in medical technology and changes in legislation.  Prepare for the best, for your own sake and for those you serve. 


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