Soft skills shape perception of career advancement among health professionals | Latest news for Doctors, Nurses and Pharmacists | Multidisciplinary –

Some components of leadership competency are associated with the perception of career advancement of allied health professionals (AHPs), according to a Singapore study.
“The fast-paced and complex nature of an AHP’s job makes it challenging to meet the needs of their patients, and it takes a myriad of skills and values to be successful and advance in one’s career as an AHP,” said the researchers led by Jeremy Meng-Yeow Koh from the Allied Health Division, Singapore General Hospital.
“While hard skills remain important, soft skills may play an equally (or more) important role in influencing the perception of career advancement,” they added.
This ecological, cross-sectional study examined the relationship between leadership competency of healthcare professionals and perceptions of career advancement.
The researchers generated Poisson generalized-estimating-equation models to estimate the adjusted rate ratios (ARRs) for the associations of the AHEAD* items with the number of favourable responses on the career advancement items. They accounted for clustering by departments and controlled for length of service as a confounder in each model.
The following skills were significantly associated with the perception of career advancement: motivating (ARR, 1.31, 95 percent CI, 1.10‒2.16), mentoring (ARR, 1.30, 95 percent CI, 1.08‒1.13), and interpersonal (ARR, 1.53, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.12‒2.96). [Proc Singap Healthc 2022;doi:10.1177/20101058221138834]
Two values also significantly correlated with career advancement, namely compassion (ARR, 1.37, 95 percent CI, 1.17‒3.40) and collegiality (ARR, 1.31, 95 percent CI, 1.00‒1.99).
Hard vs soft skills
“An individual’s professional competency forms the foundation of a successful career in healthcare, and research shows that increasing one’s professional knowledge, skills, and education level (ie, hard skills) is a strategy for success in advancement in healthcare organizations,” the researchers said. [Nurs Open 2010;16:314-325; Equal Oppor Inter 2006;25:251-271]
For these AHPs at Singapore General Hospital, soft skills emerged as significant predictors of the perception of career advancement. Specifically, interpersonal skills, motivating, and mentoring showed a positive relationship with such perception.
“Our findings suggest that apart from hard skills, the ‘softer’ components of leadership competency could also play a part in the perception of career advancement,” the researchers said. “As leadership skills and values can be cultivated and improved with education and practice, AHEAD items are actionable components of leadership competency.” [Acad of Manag Learn Educat 2003;2:54-67]
Furthermore, the researchers recommended directing resources into the development of leadership competency among healthcare professionals, focusing on both hard and soft skills. This could help form strong healthcare leaders and create an “engaged and productive workforce, which can positively influence health systems and patient outcomes.” [Healthcare Finan Manag 2010;64:80-84]
“Indeed, the competencies demanded from healthcare professionals are as complex and multifaceted as the ever-evolving healthcare landscape and go far beyond just the scope of clinical skills and domain knowledge,” they noted. [J Health Adm Educ 2004;21:419-440; Leadership Heal Serv 2010;23:115-129]
*Aspiring leaders in Healthcare-Empowering individuals, Achieving excellence, Developing talents


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