Skills are sometimes categorized in two different ways: hard skills and soft skills. Soft skills are defined as personal qualities that people can learn and/or naturally possess that allow them to work better with others. On the other hand, hard skills are skills that are necessary to perform a specific task or job, and each job industry has a set of specific hard skills that workers must possess to do their job effectively. Because healthcare is a field that directly affects everyone in some way (even if they’re not working in this field), it’s good to learn some of the hard skills associated with healthcare.
#1: Vital Signs
Everyone should know what the vital signs are and how to measure them, if possible. Some of the most basic vital signs that can be measured at home are:
- Blood pressure
- Body temperature
- Pulse rate
- Respiration (breathing) rate
Cholesterol is another vital sign to be aware of, but this information is gathered through blood tests and can’t be measured at home. Also, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of emergency medical conditions, such as stroke and heart attack. You should also be aware of your family’s history of certain medical conditions.
#2: Medical Terminology
Everyone should also be familiar with basic medical terms, such as:
- Abrasion vs. contusion (cut/scrape vs. a bruise)
- Acute vs, chronic (abrupt and short vs. recurring and persistent)
- Bening vs. malignant (non-cancerous vs. cancerous)
- Inpatient vs outpatient (care inside a hospital vs. care outside a hospital)
It’s also good to understand medical abbreviations, including:
- ALS (advanced life support)
- BMI (body mass index)
- CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
- EKG (electrocardiogram)
- HDL and LDL (high- and low-density lipoprotein)
- Rx (prescription and/or treatment)
Knowing these terms won’t leave you completely clueless during your next doctor’s visit.
#3: HIPAA Knowledge
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a federal law that protects the health information of patients. This prevents any health information about you from being disclosed to others without your permission. The rules also ensure that you can get a copy of your personal records upon request. All healthcare workers have to understand the rules of HIPAA, but it’s good to know this as a patient as well.
#4: Data Entry
Data entry is a technical skill that usually requires a strong understanding of Microsoft Excel and similar database software. Simply put, it’s electronically entering data into a computer or other device. Other skills associated with data entry include:
- Attention to detail
- Database structure knowledge
- Fast typing
- Verbal and written communication
- Working well with others
Office workers in healthcare typically have the most proficiency in data entry, but everyone can benefit from this skill.
#5: CPR and First Aid
CPR is a valuable, life-saving skill that everyone should learn. Some experts say that there is no wrong way to perform CPR if you don’t have proper training, but it’s best to have the proper CPR training. You can get CPR certified in person or online with websites like protrainings.com. Other life-saving techniques to learn include:
- Setting a splint for broken bones
- Stopping excessive bleeding
- The Heimlich maneuver
- Treating first and second-degree burns
All healthcare workers must be CPR and first aid certified, but you don’t have to work in healthcare or a related field to become certified.
#6: Business Administration
This includes business operations, such as Human Resources, finances, accounting, and marketing. Understanding business administration gives you the skills to oversee and keep a business running smoothly. So if you’re wanting to start your own business someday, this will be a useful skill to have. Even if you don’t plan on starting a business, it’s likely that you work for a business, and this knowledge can help you better understand your role within the business. Healthcare is also a business, so it employs HR managers, accountants, operations managers, and many more in addition to medical professionals.
Knowing these hard skills from the healthcare industry can be beneficial to both your daily and professional life, even though they’re specific to healthcare (and other industries). Just remember that possessing these hard skills alone isn’t enough— it’s also important to possess certain soft skills as well, as they can help you be a better person and professional. Examples of essential soft skills include adaptability, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, time management, and critical thinking. Both are equally important to have, as soft skills will assist you in developing hard skills.