Soft Skills for Physicians

Having the technical skills and knowledge to successfully execute your job duties is only one part of being the best physician you can be. In addition to these “hard” skills, we also need “soft” skills. Soft skills are those skills which allow you to effectively work with others. No matter what your position, organization, or specialty, you work with people. Taking the time to build effective soft skills can contribute to a more efficient, more harmonious, and more productive medical workplace. At the same time it can improve your own happiness and satisfaction as a physician.


What are Soft Skills?

What are soft skills? Simply put, soft skills are the personal attributes that allow us to effectively relate to others. These skills enhance our personal interactions and lead to greater physician performance and satisfaction. Unlike hard skills that were learned in medical school, residency and fellowship, which are the technical and knowledge skill set we bring to our work, soft skills are interpersonal and can be applied in a broad array of situations.  Soft skills encompass both personality traits, such as optimism, and abilities which can be practiced, such as empathy. Like all skills, soft skills can be learned.


Definition of Soft Skills

Soft skills are personal attributes that allow us to effectively relate to others. Applying these skills helps us build stronger work relationships, work more productively, and maximize our career prospects. Often we place the focus of our medical and surgical career development efforts on hard skills — technology skills, knowledge, and other skills that specifically relate to our ability to get work-related tasks done. This means we neglect to develop our soft skills. However, soft skills are directly transferrable to any job, organization, or specialty. As a result, they are an investment worth making. 

 

Soft skills include:

  • Communication 
  • Listening
  • Showing Empathy
  • Networking
  • Self-confidence
  • Giving and receiving feedback
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