How to Teach and Learn Soft Skills

One growing concern in the healthcare industry is a desire to help nurses find ways to connect with their patients more. When nurses connect with their patients more, the level of care rises and patients feel as if they are truly valued.
nursing soft skills

One growing concern in the healthcare industry is a desire to help nurses find ways to connect with their patients more. When nurses connect with their patients more, the level of care rises and patients feel as if they are truly valued.

Connecting with patients can become easier through the use of soft skills. We have compiled a list of soft skills to both learn and teach, that will help young nurses connect better with their patients.

Why Soft Skills Are Important

Soft skills are important for every nursing professional in their career. Unfortunately, soft skills take some time to develop, but are vital in ensuring that you are an absolute professional in the workplace and truly set yourself apart from others.

Some of the soft skills that take time to develop include communication, leadership, professionalism, work ethic, and more. Essentially, soft skills can be broken down into your people skills – how well you interact with others in a professional setting.

Focus On Skills You Can Develop Over Time

There are nearly 30 soft skills to learn today, but many of them can be learned quickly if you dedicate your focus to them.

Some of the easiest ones to learn over time focus on communication, leadership, and professionalism. With a few changes in how you approach each daily task, you’ll find that you can master a few of the soft skills below with a little work.

Establish Motivational Guidelines

When learning a new set of skills or techniques, everyone needs a little bit of motivation. Learning soft skills is no different.

Take the time to write down some reasons as to why you should learn each soft skill. Start with a list of 3-5 reasons as to why you should learn each individual skill. For instance, if you want to learn how to communicate better, then take the time to write down 3-5 reasons as to why you should learn how to effectively communicate better and share them with friends and family for accountability.

Practice & Work Individually On Each Soft Skill

The next step to developing any soft skills is to practice each soft skill throughout your daily routine. Start small, and gradually work towards increasing the amount of practice you do.

For instance, if you find that you typically stay in the background during a group meeting, make an effort during the week to share your opinion on a topic or suggestion. In this way, you’ll gradually start getting more comfortable in group settings and sharing your opinions on topics for discussion.

Over time, you will go from someone who is quiet in the background, to somebody who actively contributes to discussions or meetings, and you’ll find that it eventually comes very natural to you.

Soft Skills You Should Consider Learning or Teaching

Make An Effort To Make Eye Contact

Nurses have plenty on their plate when they do their rotations. They have to ensure that each patient is taking their medication, record their vitals, record any comments, answer questions, maintain a positive attitude, and the list goes on.

Communication is absolutely critical in helping provide care to patients, and the hectic environment of a healthcare facility or hospital can make effective communication fall by the wayside. As a nurse, it’s important to ensure that a commitment to effective communication is made.

In this chaotic environment, nurses can sometimes tend to keep their head buried in the reports and tablet technology to record everything down to ensure they don’t miss anything important. As a result, one thing that is missing during these patient exchanges is eye contact at pivotal moments.

One way of figuring out how a patient is truly feeling is through the use of their verbal communication, but another valuable way is through the use of non-verbal cues like maintaining eye contact. Patients will say a lot through their non-verbal cues, and making eye contact with them can go a long way to showcasing you care about providing the best care possible.

When you take the time to connect with each patient at their eye level, you avoid poor body language that can send the wrong message like leaning against a counter or towering over them.

Group Tasks Together

One great soft skill to learn is to group similar tasks together. One common complaint from nurses is that they have so many tasks they have to complete in a short timeframe.

When they look at all the tasks, they can sometimes feel overwhelmed and worry that they’re not going to complete them all – which only adds to the anxiety they’re already feeling.

One effective soft skill to make this a little bit more manageable is to group similar tasks together. When you do this, you can effectively complete several tasks that require the same steps individually, instead of having to repeat the process later after completing each individual task.

One way to group tasks together is to keep your to-do list near you. When you write down what you have to do each day, you can have a visual aid that can help you connect activities and tasks together so you can complete them together without having to go out of your way for each individual task.

In addition, another helpful tip to make learning this soft skill a little bit easier is to use your downtime wisely. If you find yourself with a few moments to spare, take the time to review your to-do list and see if you can connect tasks together that you hadn’t considered earlier.

Learn Additional Conflict Resolution Techniques

As a nurse, one of the tougher aspects of the job is to navigate all the different personalities in a hospital or healthcare facility. Different personalities arise between coworkers, patients, and their families. Each one of these different personalities require careful navigation, to ensure that everyone gets along. To ensure that everyone gets along, you need good conflict resolution skills for when tensions arise.

Conflicts naturally arise in the stressful environment of the healthcare industry – which means tensions will undoubtedly rise between coworkers. Not only do tensions rise between coworkers, but in some cases patients and their families will create some of the stressors nurses are exposed to. Conflict resolution techniques will ensure that you can deal with difficult patients, their families, and your co-workers.


Learning soft skills is crucial to setting yourself apart from others in the professional nursing workforce. With a few changes in your daily routine and a little bit of motivation, you can stand out amongst your nursing peers. Placing a focus on developing your soft skills will help ensure that you become a more well-rounded professional and provide the best care to your patients as possible.

Guest Post: Ryan Bucci is a Content Strategist with HospitalCareers. HospitalCareers is a leading recruitment platform for hospital and healthcare job seekers with over 25,000+ hospital jobs, career advice, and career insights.




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