7 Soft Skills for Medical Students

Why are soft skills important for medical professionals?


No matter the industry you work in, the job you have, or the location you reside in, soft skills are always universal.


Soft talents go much beyond providing for patients. They are intangible traits like character traits, behaviors, social skills, and even attitudes.


The patient’s and his caregivers’ mental state is often extremely intense in any healthcare setting.


A great doctor will always communicate during the procedure in a way that makes the patient feel more at ease.


Even patients with modest illness might experience anxiety and worry in a variety of circumstances, which can result in medical depression. And then there are instances where a patient can recover from severe ailments such as cancer, merely by maintaining a good outlook and a supportive atmosphere. 


Empathy among doctors enhances patients’ clinical outcomes, according to research.


Soft skills are complementary to hard abilities, so you usually won’t find them on a resume, but you can know they exist by the way a candidate describes their work.


For the same reason, a lot of medical schools now give their medical students courses in literature and art. To assist medical students to develop as observant and empathic doctors, Harvard started a new project in 2015 that makes greater use of drama, dance, and literature.


What are some hard skills for doctors to master?


“Hard skills” are teachable, easily quantifiable aptitudes or skill sets. They frequently learn from books or other educational resources in the classroom. Almost everything you will learn while pursuing a degree in medicine is regarded as a hard skill.


The following are a few illustrations of a doctor’s challenging skills:


  • Conduct CPR
  • Monitoring patients’ vital signs
  • Review the outcomes of laboratory tests
  • Revise the patient’s medical history and charts.


“Soft skills” are more akin to character traits. These include teamwork, communication, and leadership abilities. The crucial moment in a doctor’s career is now. Excellent bedside manners and high-quality medical care can be ensured by a doctor’s combination of soft and hard talents.


Here are the Top 7 skills important for medical students –


  1. Communication


Communication is at the heart of all organizations, but it is especially crucial for those who work in healthcare. In addition to routinely speaking with coworkers, healthcare personnel often need to communicate with patients and their families.


Research shows that there are strong positive links between a patient’s ability to follow through with medical advice, self-manage a chronic medical condition, and adopt preventive health practices, and the communication abilities of a healthcare team member.


  1. Initiative


“Once you stop learning, you start dying,” Albert Einstein.


No matter where you are in your job, being open to learning new things is a terrific soft skill. The healthcare industry is always changing, whether you’re expanding your research, learning from past errors, or making discoveries through trial and error. Taking initiative to learn more and do more is an outstanding trait.


There are countless sources of learning, from seminars to self-taught information. Continuous learning can result in many good things, including self-improvement and an open mind.


  1. Teamwork


A willingness to operate as a team is an essential quality in healthcare professionals. With numerous people contributing to patient care, many health care professions resemble teams in team sports. You must understand how to work together with these colleagues for the benefit of the patient. According to a study, better patient outcomes are related to higher team functioning.


  1. Compassion and patience


For medical students, gaining empathy and compassion is essential. Your patients will, after all, be subject to the adage “Treat others as you would have them treat you.” Being able to put yourself in another person’s position is the only way to determine how you would want to be handled in a certain circumstance. That’s empathy. The higher form of empathy is compassion – where you treat your patient’s emotions delicately and with kindness.


  1. Flexibility, adaptability and emotional stability


The ability to adapt to change, commonly known as flexibility, is one soft talent that isn’t highlighted nearly enough in the medical community.


The boundaries of what is feasible are continually shifting in the healthcare industry due to the rapid advancement of technology. You will inevitably come upon new technology, fresh diagnoses, fresh patients, and a never-ending evolution of beliefs and approaches.


Flexibility is essential for teamwork because many occupations in the healthcare industry don’t follow the conventional 9 to 5 schedule. Your coworkers can require you to take a shift or remain late. A difficult patient could consume more of your day than you anticipated.


You must be adaptive to handle new, diverse, or changing circumstances in addition to managing your schedule. Every day, fresh issues are dealt with in the healthcare industry. You can have trouble in your work if you can’t readily break out of a pattern.


  1. Proactive, ethical and responsible nature


Healthcare professionals have a moral and legal obligation to safeguard the individuals they look after. Being ethical is a crucial skill to possess. Patients suffer when these duties are neglected. Healthcare professionals may also be held accountable for similar actions. 


Doing what is right for the patient is an example of ethical action or obligation. There are numerous codes of ethics that practitioners in the healthcare industry are supposed to follow.


  1. Decisiveness


A healthcare role requires the capacity to make decisions under great pressure. You have to make hundreds of decisions every day, ranging from how to convey a diagnosis to the medications a patient needs. The results of the decisions made by healthcare professionals are also their responsibility.


In a medical context, being indecisive can result in lives being lost in addition to being a frustrating mental struggle. Additionally, patients who are unable to make decisions for themselves may trust you to make the best choice for them under certain circumstances. Making difficult choices can distinguish you as a leader, which is a characteristic that each healthcare practitioner should possess.


How are these skills developed?


It’s crucial to first evaluate your current skill set before determining whether you possess the necessary soft skills for the healthcare industry. You might be a terrific communicator now, but your time management skills could use improvement. You may be more aware of your ability to maintain a happy attitude and tolerate criticism but you might still show more empathy. 


Utilize your resources next. At The Confident Communicator, we can assist you in determining the areas to focus on to have a successful career in healthcare. We coach our students to hone these life and career building skills. 




Healthcare professionals must unquestionably possess medical knowledge to excel in their employment. Soft skills, however, are just as crucial in affecting patient satisfaction and care outcomes. Patients share more (and sometimes information vital to their wellbeing) when they trust you and trust is built through connection and communication. Additionally, these soft skills enable medical professionals to go beyond conventional textbook treatments. Healthcare organizations and professionals will have higher rates of success only if they have excellent communication skills, trust building, compassion, empathy, authenticity and creativity thinking outside of the typical text-book box.


Deepma is a co-founder and trainer at The Confident Communicator, and is having the time of her life empowering children, teenagers, women, corporate executives, friends and family live their best life. She helps people become effective in the art and science of communication, build their self esteem, and conquer their deepest fears. She conducts training programs in Communication Skills, Leadership and Assertiveness for young adults and corporates, and has co-developed several products in line with the Company’s mission of Empowerment. "Our kids are grappling with the pressures of social media, stalking and seeking instant gratification, and it is our duty to help them rise above these influences and empower them to build positive self worth, and resilience."

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