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A workforce that delivers quality care is the key objective for any health organisation, however obtaining the right ingredients for the perfect system has always been one of the key challenges. The term “quality” is also very subjective as every consumer has their own perception of what the perfect health sector would look like.
However, this concept of quality develops with time and often changes more rapidly than anticipated, maybe because of an improving economy, evolving political structure, or the influence of developed nations.The health training institutions, schools, universities and training colleges, which provide students with the knowledge and competencies for the jobs they will be required to do have often failed to capture the reality of the workforce.
Nevertheless, the desire for more convenient, affordable, accessible and available health systems has become a highly discussed topic.
Ultimately, none of this is achievable if clear goals are not set right from the beginning: it is crucial to provide health care professionals with the right training to establish the right skillset to develop the right attitude in order to create an effective workforce for the delivery of quality health care.
Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking website, says the biggest skills gap is not coding. Rather, most employers are now looking for soft skills like written communication, oral communication, team-building, and leadership skills.
In terms of the health workforce, the soft skills that every health worker should attain during their training are reported to be teamwork, adoptability, communication, time management and empathy. Achieving these will in turn help ensure quality patient care.
Teamwork: Health sector comprises of many cadres and being able to effectively work in teams and contribute to a greater goal is essential for improving level of care and patient satisfaction.
Adoptability: Due to advancing technology, rapidly changing disease patterns and increasing industry demand, it is extremely important for the health workers to be prepared for unexpected situations. Knowing how to handle difficult tight-cornered situations will not only improve job satisfaction but it will also increase staff retention.
Communication: Health workers mostly remain quiet when it comes to expressing their opinion, concern and ideas due to workplace or leadership culture. However the best suited candidates are often those who demonstrate effective communication skills and are able to remain controlled, calm and competent.
Time management: Once again workplace culture dominates this component. Due to respect for the hierarchy, the junior officers normally end up shouldering most of the daily responsibilities. Nonetheless, it is very important to be able to quickly re-prioritise and manage one’s own tasks before volunteering to take up some last-minute nominated assignments by superiors.
Empathy: Health is always one of the few key items in a person’s life. No matter how technical the situation may be, it is crucial for health workers to be able to feel the needs of the patient and develop a relationship of trust and respect. Being able to understand clients needs improves interpersonal effectiveness and satisfaction.
The soft skills gaps often create a deficit in the expected competency of entry-level employees. This affects the overall quality of the care and patient satisfaction. However, providing motivation and personality development skills that are critical for thinking abilities may not be possible through curriculum. Hence, in many countries due to the incoherence between education providers and service industry, the graduates are expected to learn more before being able to work independently.
In light of contemporary expectations and skills shortages, healthcare providers have a greater responsibility to ensure that they maintain a highest level of patient care and satisfaction by carefully screening candidates to ensure those of best fit are hired. Other than specific technical knowledge, it is essential that healthcare professionals acquire exceptional soft skills.
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