What Healthcare Providers Can Teach us about Business Leadership

Healthcare doesn’t have much to do with business leadership. Or so we think. In reality, many healthcare providers possess the same skills as our most successful business people. After all, hospitals really are just one large industry.

Healthcare facilities are responsible for the care of the sick and injured, meaning employees must have great communication skills to work with worried families and other health professionals. Furthermore, they must work together and learn from each other to fill needs within the workplace. With this in mind, there is a lot doctors, nurses, and health administration professionals could teach us about leading a successful company.

Communication is Key

Communicating with upset patients and their families is arguably the most challenging day to day activity for healthcare employees. Doctors and nurses are often responsible for delivering directions for treatment, explaining difficult conditions, reassuring hysterical visitors, or even discussing very grave news with patients. All of this must be done in an extremely professional and open manner, which makes for a powerful case study for business leaders.

Often times, communicating effectively is one of the most difficult skills for new managers to learn when they step into a leadership position. Poor managers are frequently cited by their employees as dictators, bad listeners, and lacking empathy – all things that a healthcare professional cannot be in his or her job. Emulating the communication style of good doctors and nurses can help prepare you for a position leading employees, and help prevent company blow-outs down the road.

Hospital Entrepreneurship

It may come as somewhat of a surprise, but a number of entrepreneurs have started out as healthcare professionals just looking to fill a need within their niche. For example, Cyndie Colarusso, RN, BSN, CPTC, CTBS founded the tissue and organ donation awareness organization, Pathways, in order to spread awareness about the serious need for many people in our society. Because of organizations such as this, more people in need of life-saving organs are getting a second chance at life.

The majority of healthcare professionals don’t set out in their career looking to become entrepreneurs and open businesses. Rather, they typically see a serious need within their workplace and seek to find a beneficial solution. This lesson can be applied to the many company employees who notice things in their company that could be improved every day. By following the lead of healthcare professionals turned entrepreneurs, they can make significant improvements in their niche as well.

Mentoring for Success

As young healthcare professionals begin their careers, they are often assigned a mentor to help them adjust to the stresses of hospital life. These mentors show them the ropes, offer support in difficult situations, and act as a role model of these new employees to grow from. Ultimately, these mentors can help to shape the career of the people they are working with.

Whether we are aware of is or not, the people we interact with greatly influence our workplace behavior ranging from how we manage our time to the types of relationships we build. Because of this, it can be really beneficial to identify a workplace role model or mentor whether they are assigned or not. Look for patterns and behaviors that make them successful, model your behavior after them and inquire for their opinions on important tasks. Their insights could help to shape your career now and further down the road.


Healthcare professionals have a lot to teach us about business leadership. They are often some of the most impressive communicators around, many seek to fill important needs in their workplace, and many new employees are mentored by experienced ones. All of these qualities can be powerfully translated into the world of business and taking a leaf out of their book can help to make you a better leader within your own company.

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Brittni Brown

Brittni Brown is a current Masters candidate at the University of Idaho. In her free time, she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including biking, hiking, and camping.


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