Are You Considering Soft Skills When Recruiting Physicians?

Are You Considering Soft Skills When Recruiting Physicians?

A good physician doesn’t just treat illnesses but possesses an incredible range of soft skills, such as communication and compassion. These skills enhance healthcare and allow physicians to empathize with patients more deeply. More than 61% of professionals say soft skills at work are just as critical as hard skills, and more employers are considering these talents when recruiting physicians. You can learn more about this topic below. 

What Are Soft Skills in Healthcare?

Soft skills are positive attributes that allow employees in different industries to interact effectively with others. In a healthcare context, soft skills allow professionals to develop relationships with patients and team members.

Specific soft skills that are important for physician-patient relationships include being able to speak clearly and communicate complex medical information. Listening to what patients say is another highly desirable skill. These talents can put people at ease in a healthcare setting and make them feel more comfortable. 

The Benefits of Soft Skills in Healthcare

When a physician has adequate soft skills, they can improve patient outcomes. For example, communicating a diagnosis properly allows a patient to understand their condition and take the right steps to address the issue. Not communicating crucial medical information can lead to misunderstandings and patients not following treatment plans. 

Soft skills also enhance patient satisfaction. Take listening, for example. If a physician comprehends what a patient is telling them, they can make the right diagnosis and prescribe the right medication. A patient will have a more satisfactory healthcare experience if a physician listens to and addresses their concerns. 

Physicians might feel more satisfied in their jobs by improving patient outcomes and satisfaction. That can lead to more motivation and productivity in the workplace. 

What Soft Skills Should Physicians Have?

When hiring a physician, you want to ensure they have the right soft skills. These include:

  • Empathy — the ability to understand patients and identify their emotions
  • Problem-solving — finding a solution to an issue or overcoming a healthcare challenge
  • Time management — organizing time and managing tasks effectively 
  • Adaptability — being able to adjust to changes in a healthcare environment quickly
  • Emotional intelligence — the ability to perceive the emotions of others and sympathize with them 
  • Communication — conveying information to patients and team members in a clear way so that everybody understands

Other physician soft skills include critical thinking, teamwork, and openness to feedback.

The Relationship Between Soft Skills and Patient Care

Soft skills impact patient care in multiple ways. Here are a couple of examples:

  • A physician who lacks empathy might not understand a patient’s feelings, resulting in them feeling undervalued. However, a compassionate physician will comprehend a patient’s emotions and better address their medical needs. 
  • A physician with poor time management skills might be late for an appointment. That could increase wait times for patients. However, a physician who manages their calendar properly will see people on time, leading to higher patient satisfaction.

Evaluating Soft Skills When Recruiting Physicians

Here are some of the ways to assess a physician’s soft skills during the hiring process:

  • Standardized assessments — asking a physician to evaluate or rank their soft skills, typically during the interview process
  • Observation — Assessing a physician’s soft skills in a real-life clinical setting and finding out how they communicate with patients
  • Behavioral interviews — asking an applicant to share experiences where they have used soft skills in a healthcare setting
  • Peer reviews — asking team members for feedback about a physician’s soft skills
  • Reviewing written communication — asking a physician to write down their soft skills and then evaluating them
  • Role-play — testing someone’s soft skills in a hypothetical high-conflict situation 
  • Assessments — asking a physician questions about how they use soft skills in different workplace scenarios 

What Are the Challenges of Assessing Physician Soft Skills?

Soft skills are often subjective, making it difficult to measure them properly, especially if evaluators lack adequate training. That’s why you might want to create standardized tests with specific criteria. 

There are also limited assessment tools on the market. So it’s a good idea to evaluate a physician’s capabilities through behavioral interviews and role-play exercises. Peer reviews and observation can solve the challenge of physicians not identifying or reporting their soft skills properly. 

It’s important to balance soft skills assessments with technical evaluations of a physician’s medical knowledge, which are far less subjective. That will help you find the right person for the job.

Get Support With Assessing Physician Soft Skills 

Soft skills enhance the patient experience and improve healthcare outcomes. However, it’s difficult to evaluate these talents during the hiring process. Consider working with a recruiter who does the hard work for you. MRINetwork will help you find top talent for your team and streamline your entire recruitment workflow. Find your local MRINetwork office.