The Most Surprising Facts about Careers in Healthcare

Photo of two healthcare professionals.

Healthcare careers vary widely, of course, and the skills required to become a nurse practitioner, an orthopedic surgeon, or a hospital administrator don’t tend to overlap in very many places. But as different as these careers may be, and as little as their training programs may have in common, there are some universal skills and positive traits that can help you get ahead no matter which branch of this field you choose. Keep these pointers in mind as you complete your education and step into the world of professional healthcare.

The Traits of a Successful Healthcare Employee

  1. Entry-level healthcare employees need to be able to follow instructions well. This means putting your ego aside and doing what needs to be done, including apologizing for and correcting your mistakes. When your supervisor issues an order, you’ll need to comply quickly and with strong attention to detail. In addition to a well-managed ego, this often requires fast learning skills and a strong memory — or at the very least, a habit of writing things down. 

  2. Healthcare employees need to see beyond the needs of the moment. There’s always a big picture at work in healthcare, and a simple spur-of-the-moment intervention can often conflict with the circumstances, the needs of the patient, or a treatment plan that’s already underway. Good healthcare workers always consider the whole patient when making a decision, and they never fail to put that person’s health — body and mind — first. 

  3. Great healthcare workers are efficient, but compassionate. After an employee has been working in this field for a long time, he or she can easily develop compassion fatigue or fail to fully empathize with patients or coworkers. The best employees try not to let this happen. 

  4. Great healthcare workers find ways to navigate competing demands and multiple stimuli at the same time. If you can keep your cool in the presence of loud noises, chaos, and conflicting orders and simply execute the tasks in front of you without missing a beat, you’ll do well in this industry. 

  5. Healthcare workers need to show strong leadership when necessary. This may mean standing behind your decisions and speaking up for direct reports, patients, or other stakeholders who may have little influence. 

  6. Great healthcare workers are often great teachers, speakers, and communicators. Whether you’re giving an order to another employee, clarifying orders that have been given to you, instructing a patient on how to care for a wound after surgery, or suggesting a workplace improvement, you’ll need to speak up and speak clearly in this profession. You’ll also need to express yourself clearly and persuasively in writing. 

  7. Great healthcare employees are also strong listeners. Speaking and writing make up only half the balance of effective communication. Reading and listening are just as important, if not more. 

Launch Your New Career in the Healthcare Field

If you have a passion for healing and offering assistance to those in need, and you possess most of the skills listed above, chances are you’ll do well in the healthcare field. Once you know this career path is right for you, visit to learn more about available positions in your area.

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