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As faculty work with nursing graduates to obtain positions in a competitive market, or even to advance their own careers, we need to keep in mind that "soft skills" are important to job prospects and career advancement. We spend years of education mastering "hard skills" that are tangible and teachable skills that allow us to provide patient care. In nursing, we also need to proactively focus on our "soft skills." The Internet resource,, lists 7 ways "soft skills" can impact career advancement.


Not networking and not promoting our own abilities are the no. 1 way soft-skill deficits can harm our careers and job prospects. We are advised to engage the right people and subtly but effectively promote ourselves. Guiding others through coaching and mentoring is also a critical soft skill. Those we assist will willingly assist us. Other soft skills are needed to both get along with those with difficult personalities and to manage the inevitable office politics. Successful people learn to do both. Also, people who persevere through difficult times, encourage others, and motivate colleagues are viewed favorably.


Good communication skills, both giving and receiving, are integral to success. Typical managers spend 90% of their time involved in communication. Poor communication skills can destroy a career. Lack of self-confidence is also a problem. An old cliche[spacing acute] notes, "If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will." We are responsible for identifying the sources of lack of confidence and developing strategies to overcome those issues. Lack of emotional self-control is also viewed as highly problematic. Emotional outbursts are threatening to coworkers and colleagues.


A bit of self-reflection, self-examination, and even sharing soft skills with our students and colleagues can assist in advancing both our careers and theirs. While not neglecting the "hard skills," working on the soft skills has the potential to benefit both us and our students.


Source: Dugan D. 7 Signs you have terrible people skills: soft skills and emotional intelligence will help get you hired and promoted. Available at Accessed December 7, 2012.


Submitted by: Robin E. Pattillo, PhD, RN, CNL, News Editor at