Upskilling as a Healthcare Professional and Ways You Can Do It

April 1, 2024


Megan Bebout

UpskillingForHealthcareProf“Our workforce is our most precious resource,” said Rick Pollack, President and CEO of the American Hospital Association (AHA). “The people who work in hospitals and health systems are truly the heart of healthcare.”

While you may already be a healthcare expert in your field, it’s still important to grow and refine your hard and soft skills. Here’s what upskilling is and how to do it as a healthcare professional.


Upskilling as a Healthcare Professional and Ways You Can Do It


What is upskilling?

Upskilling is “the training that helps an individual become better at the job they’re already doing.” This could be informal training like shadowing a colleague in another department to more formal training like educational opportunities and anything in-between.

Upskilling is a guaranteed way to take your healthcare career to the next level. By upskilling, you’ll gain greater knowledge and new skills in your field of expertise, and in turn, be better prepared for healthcare industry changes and supply and demand challenges, such as staffing shortages.

Even better, by upskilling, you’ll not only enhance your ability to provide quality patient care but also stay relevant in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape. It allows you to adapt to new technologies, procedures, and protocols, contributing to your professional growth and career advancement.

Hard skills vs soft skills

To become a working professional, you must have a certain set of skills. What exactly that looks like depends on the industry, seniority level, and job requirements. For example, registered nurses must go to nursing school to learn what nurses do and how to do it. The skills that are learned in nursing school are hard skills.

Hard skills are the teachable, job-specific skills that help professionals be successful in their field. For healthcare workers like yourself, hard skills may include knowledge of regulatory practices and chart requirements, as well as proficiency in health systems and databases, the ability to monitor vital signs, and analyzing patient data, amongst other things.

While hard skills are necessary to be successful in a job and can typically be measured, soft skills are how you relate to and interact with other people. Hard skills are what help you perform the basic abilities of your job. Soft skills translate to the things that make you you.

In other words, soft skills are your “people skills” or “interpersonal skills.” And they’re much more difficult to quantify. But still important. According to LinkedIn’s “2019 Global Talent Trends Report,” 89% of recruiters say that lack of soft skills is one of the main reasons an applicant wasn’t hired.

There are soft skills that employers want to see in all employees — things like the ability to effectively communicate or work on a team. Then there are more specific soft skills that are preferred in certain job types and not as much in others.

For instance, healthcare workers not only have the professional knowledge and ability to provide patient care but also have soft skills such as efficient time management, compassion for patients, stress management, and a strong work ethic. For a successful career in the healthcare industry, it’s vital to have a combination of both hard and soft skills.

Patient outcomes

Benefits of upskilling

Builds confidence

Just like your education and experience improve your confidence, so does upskilling. Experts even say that upskilling is one of the “best ways” to boost confidence at work.

With more confidence, you may be quicker to identify and resolve problems before they become crises and communicate more effectively with colleagues, patients, and their families. Plus, when you feel more confident, you may find your job satisfaction increases with it.

Boosts productivity

Not only does upskilling do favors for your confidence levels, but it also enhances professional productivity. Studies show that eight out of 10 employees say upskilling has made them “more productive.” Wondering why?

It’s because through upskilling, you’re able (and encouraged) to brainstorm and share fresh ideas and solutions, you feel more confident to take on more challenging tasks, and you’re better equipped to do more in less time. Think about it this way: boosted productivity leads to better results, which means happier and more engaged allied health and travel nurses like yourself.

Leads to higher patient satisfaction

Usually, as patients move through a wide variety of healthcare settings, soft skills are what stick out the most to them. Their perspective or satisfaction rating is directly tied to the way you carry yourself as a healthcare professional.

Oftentimes, hospitals and other healthcare facilities conduct patient questionnaires or surveys to measure your soft skills. They ask things like:

  • Were you treated with respect and dignity?
  • Were all procedures explained to you in a way you easily understood?
  • How well did the staff work together?

Learning and development opportunities get you more engaged and motivated in your role, which translates to how you interact with and treat patients. Your patients deserve the best quality of care, and you deserve to feel good about what you do. 

Patient satisfaction

3 ways to upskill and advance your healthcare career

Keep up with healthcare technology trends

From wearable technology to healthcare apps to portable monitors, healthcare technology is constantly evolving. One of the main ways to upskill is to keep up with the ever-changing healthcare technology trends.

The HIMSS Future of Healthcare Report shows that 80% of healthcare providers plan to invest even more funds in digital solutions over the next five years. In 2020, the healthcare technology industry generated more than $250 billion and is expected to exceed $880 billion by 2030.

To make yourself even more valuable, you can upskill and master the many different types of healthcare technologies. We’re talking artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, the internet of things (IoT), and more.

Enroll in continued education units (CEUs)

Sure, CEUs are typically required for state licensure. But they’re also a sure-fire way to advance your healthcare career.

Related: Travel Nurse Licensing Guide: Everything You Need to Know

“With accelerating advances in health information and technology, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals must maintain their knowledge and skills throughout their careers,” said Dr. Med. Janina Beilner, Siemens Healthineers Services’ Vice President of Application Services. “That’s the only way to provide safe, effective, and high-quality healthcare for their patients.”

According to The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), CEUs are a “vehicle for spreading best practices and how to improve patient outcomes.” They provide a learning platform that helps you evolve your wealth of knowledge, as well as personal and professional growth.

Perhaps most importantly, CEUs are almost always required to maintain a valid healthcare license. So, if you want to keep doing what you do, attend conferences and seminars or online courses and webinars to earn CEU credits to propel your travel nurse or allied health travel career to the next level.

Obtain multiple state licenses

It’s no secret that the state licensing process can be lengthy. Do yourself a favor and apply for multiple state licenses at once. That way, you’re not left waiting and without a job at the last minute. Depending on the state and healthcare specialty, it can take anywhere from 48 hours to three months to receive a state license.

If you’re a nurse, look into the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). The NLC is a multi-state nursing license that allows you to legally practice your nursing skills in all participating states. For therapy workers, there’s the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact and soon, the Occupational Therapy Compact. Same concept, different healthcare fields and specialties.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between reskilling and upskilling?

Reskilling and upskilling are both essential strategies for career advancement and adaptation to changes in the healthcare workforce, but they’re not quite the same.

Reskilling involves acquiring entirely new skills or knowledge that’s different from your current job or profession. Usually, this happens when you transition into a new field or role because of changes in the industry, technological advancements, or shifts in job market demand.

On the other hand, upskilling is enhancing your current skills or acquiring additional information within your current career. This aims to deepen your expertise, stay updated on current trends, and improve your job satisfaction and performance.

While reskilling prepares you for a new career path, upskilling helps you excel and remain competitive where you are. Both are important for staying relevant and adaptable in today’s job market.

What are some strategies for effortlessly integrating upskilling into my busy schedule?

One of the best (and most convenient) ways to integrate upskilling into your routine is by attending conferences and workshops throughout the year. These events provide valuable insights, trend updates, and opportunities to learn from industry experts.

For example, the annual Traveler’s Conference (aka, TravCon), is one of the most popular healthcare traveler conferences where you can earn CEUs, expand your knowledge on certifications and licensing, and more to advance your career. Stay tuned for TravCon 2024 details!

How can Fusion Medical Staffing help me upskill in my career?

Fusion Medical Staffing support team

We know how important it is to grow. That’s why we prioritize upskilling for our travel nurses and allied health travelers.

One of the ways we support you in your upskilling journey is by offering certification reimbursements so you can pursue additional credentials in your field. Our dedicated team provides personalized guidance and support to help you identify learning objectives and navigate your career path effectively to get where you want to go.

Another way we advocate for your advancement is with discounts for classes at Capella University. This partnership makes it easier for you to enroll in flexible degree programs from certifications to bachelor’s to doctoral programs. When you study at Capella University and travel with us, you can get 50% off your first 12-week session tuition, plus a 10% tuition discount for each subsequent session. With us, you don’t have to break the bank to level up in your career.



You’re the healthcare industry’s “most precious resource” because not many other people can do what you do. As such a specialty area, healthcare is also one of the fastest-growing sectors in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As the industry grows and more workers enter the profession, it’s important to set yourself apart from the competition. And what better way to do that than by upskilling with us?