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Skills Needed to Work in the Medical Field

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People who choose careers in the medical field as doctors, nurses, medical and dental assistants or health aides often share a common characteristic – the desire to serve. This is what motivates them to put in the hard work that fetches them the necessary education and training. Qualifications help candidates procure a suitable job, but how well they perform their task depends on the skills they possess.

Communication Skills

People who work in the medical field need to interact with patients, their families, doctors and other members of the healthcare team. They have to listen carefully, understand what the other person is saying, seek clarification where necessary and give instructions in a clear and kind tone without losing patience if patients don’t understand something the first time it is told. They should also be discrete and not disclose any confidential patient information unless authorized to do so. Some workers in the medical field require written communication skills to write patient case histories or medical reports.

Problem-Solving Skills

When dealing with patients and their diseases, many situations deviate from the expected pattern. To deal with these situations, people working in healthcare need an ability to think calmly and thoroughly even under duress. They require the ability to gather information, identify what is most relevant, consider all available options and select the solution that is in the patient’s best interest. Problem solving in the medical field may sometimes even involve finding creative answers to unexpected circumstances by courageously taking calculated risks.

Computer Operation Skills

Whether it is the instruments used in diagnosis and treatment of patients or the electronic health record systems themselves, the medical field is becoming increasingly dependent on technology. Computers today perform many jobs that were previously done manually. Workers in the medical field therefore need to be familiar with computer operations and the software used for particular applications such as monitoring patient progress, maintaining their health records and other administrative functions.

Stamina and Endurance

Working in a healthcare facility calls for immense stamina to meet the physical demands of the job. The very nature of this discipline calls for employees to be on their toes, often working overtime, without time for relaxation. Besides physical stamina, medical field workers also require immense endurance to deal with workplace stress and criticism from patients and their families or supervising staff. They also need the ability to cope with the grief of knowing a patient is incurable or losing a patient to disease.


Hailing out of Pittsburgh, Pa., David Stewart has been writing articles since 2004, specializing in consumer-oriented pieces. He holds an associate degree in specialized technology from the Pittsburgh Technical Institute.

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