The Most Important Attributes to Look for in Healthcare Staffing

According to a 2018 Leaders for Today survey, 31 percent of American hospitals reported that they were understaffed. One of the major problems, the study found, was the inability to find good candidates.

With the current percentages of healthcare staffing lacking, it can be tempting to hire just anybody to fill these roles in hospitals and clinics. But the truth of the matter is, the wrong hire will cost your business (and reputation) in the short or long run. Because of this, it’s important to utilize staffing agencies such as ours who can find the right people.

Almost everywhere you read, resources and literature are going to focus on certain “ground level” things to look for when considering healthcare candidates. These will include work history, education, and a worker’s ability to work, oftentimes, long hours. But perhaps the most important and yet overlooked aspect of determining a good healthcare candidate is their character.

Character includes a worker’s patience, empathy, compassion, honesty, meekness, and genuine love for people (amongst other things). Without these key characteristics, there is no “healthcare.”

According to a 2016 Harvard Health report, people who are able to maintain emotional vigor and happiness during chronic illness and disability do drastically better than people who don’t, and also tend to outlive those with not-as-positive attitudes.

If attitude and outlook on life can affect health, then how much more should qualified healthcare workers demonstrate these positive attributes?

Let’s take a deeper look at the aforementioned character traits every healthcare organization should look for when healthcare staffing.


Let’s face it, every health patient is not going to come through a facility with the most accommodating attitude. This is why it’s very important for your healthcare workers to demonstrate patience and professionalism at all times. This is an attribute that has to already be in a person. Usually, bad attitudes in patients can begin to wane once the stress of whatever health scare they’re dealing with, is under control. So your workers are going to have to have the fortitude to deal with the rough periods.


Empathy is the ability to relate to others. This goes hand-in-hand with patience. The more your workers can empathize with patients, the less likely they are to demonstrate negative moods if they’re dealing with more difficult ones. Empathy leads to another important character attribute…


The core definition of compassion is to have pity on the misfortunes of others. This alone should be the basis of the healthcare industry. Those who need some sort of healthcare assistance are those who may be experiencing an unfortunate situation. Because no one is above needing medical assistance, a good healthcare team, whether they’re dealing directly with patients or not, should always strive to do their job with compassion for others.


Because health is a major serious issue, every candidate you consider should definitely have integrity. This is where it’s important to look into their background, work history, and references.


Meekness is not the same as humility, even though many people get these terms confused. Meekness is also not weakness. Meekness is essentially strength under control. It’s the ability to not use one’s position of authority to harm another. In the healthcare industry, this means knowing how to be gentle with patients and coworkers and exercising prudence in giving responses.


No one gets into the healthcare industry without having a genuine love for people. So when you’re sourcing out candidates for your staff, make sure you can discern who truly love people and love their career field. All the other character attributes lay on this foundation.