Professionalism is a crucial trait that any successful healthcare provider (HCP) must possess. How can these traits be developed? In what ways can they be demonstrated, over the course of a regular shift? This article will tackle all this and more.
Why does professionalism matter?
Professionalism is defined by Queen’s University as “the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior expected of someone who is trained to do a job well.” While these qualities matter greatly in several different professions, it is especially important for healthcare professionals. HCPs provide difficult, lifesaving care to patients.
Everyone admitted to a hospital entrusts their wellbeing and sensitive information to the facility and the professionals in charge of their care plan. It may not seem like much, but carrying yourself with professionalism is extremely reassuring to the people under your care. When they see that you are kind, put-together, and composed under pressure, they rest assured knowing that you will oversee their treatment and recovery.
How can I develop professionalism?
There is no “one” all-encompassing way to display professionalism. Instead, it is a trait that should radiate from every aspect of how you conduct yourself. Just to list a handful of examples, these are some of the best ways that any HCP can display professionalism:
It is no secret that healthcare work can take its toll on you. Hospital hours are long, and HCPs are first hand witness to a lot of physical and emotional suffering. This environment can also take a massive toll on patients who are already coping with conditions that hamper their everyday life. This is why projecting a positive disposition is so important.
Keep calm under pressure
Even when faced with adversity, healthcare professionals are expected to provide emotional support and counsel to those in need. It may not seem like much, but seeing an HCP stay positive can be a galvanizing force for both HCPs and patients alike. It displays a level of resilience and reassures them that everything will be fine, regardless of what happens.
Hone your communication skills
Communication is a vital skill for any HCP who wants sustained success. Within departments, HCPs from various levels and specializations have to communicate with each other, to coordinate care plans and stay on the same page. HCPs also have to communicate with their patients, to educate them on their current condition or provide much needed emotional support. By learning how to communicate with the people around you, you will establish yourself as an asset to healthcare facilities for years to come.
Pick up on non-verbal cues
Though important, communication is not just speaking clearly and articulately. There are verbal and nonverbal dimensions of communication, and both inform each other. A patient’s body language can convey a lot of information that they may not be willing to share, for whatever reason. On the other end, proper body language on your part may be the key to setting the right tone. Maintaining eye contact and speaking in a relaxed, empathetic manner will help you build a connection with your patient, and earn their trust as a result.
Dress for success
This is another aspect of professionalism that may seem minor, but can make a major difference. HCPs are expected to follow strict dress codes for a reason. A clean and collected appearance will effectively project a sense of professionalism and composure, to your patients and co-workers alike. It is not enough for you to simply comply with the bare minimum, as well. Go above and beyond with a personal grooming routine, maintaining good hygiene, and even maintaining straight posture. First impressions are everything, and “looking professional” is a crucial step towards being professional.
Contribute at a high level
Every point mentioned above relates to how you present yourself and how you interact with others. While all this is important, it is for naught if you do not actually provide high level healthcare services. Great HCPs take extra lengths to provide the best care possible to patients in need. They are up to date with the latest evidence-based best practices. They do their best to accommodate any questions or concerns a patient has, regarding their care. World-class HCPs also use an astute eye for detail to catch symptoms, follow physician orders to the letter, and more. Being the best healthcare provider you can be, and consistently offering top-of-the-line quality care may be the most important way that HCPs can establish professionalism.