CHA News Article

Community Colleges Emphasize Key ‘Soft Skills’ in Health Care Training Programs
Hospitals apply curriculum to nurse residency, volunteer programs

The CHA Workforce Committee has long advocated for the need to develop industry specific “soft skills” training that can be embedded in health professions training programs, as well as used by employers with their existing workforce. Critical skills such as problem solving, teamwork, professionalism, ethics, compassion and communication are necessary for health professionals and are central to patient-centered care, regardless of an employee’s position in the health care setting.

To respond to this need, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office awarded a grant to the Statewide Sector Navigator to develop soft skills training programs for health care workers. As a result, six categories of skills have been developed for community college training curriculum that can also be used by hospitals. Titled Hi-Touch Healthcare: The Critical Six Soft Skills, these competency domains contain individual modules determined by industry and education to address the soft skills needed to meet industry expectations.

The curriculum, free and available online, is now being used by the CHA Workforce Committee’s hospital members in nurse residency programs, as well as by volunteer departments in Northern California. Community college campuses have begun to embed the training in their nursing and allied health programs. The community colleges are also hosting a train-the-trainer event in Southern California for those interested in learning how use the modules; see the attached flyer for more information about the training. 

Each competency domain — communication, workplace ethics and professionalism, team building, compassion, embracing diversity,  and critical thinking and problem solving — includes activities and engagement opportunities for students and employees to practice and demonstrate competency in these areas. The training is based on the recognition that awareness, training and practice are the key to raising the soft skills competency of both students and existing employees.

To view the curriculum in its entirety, visit