Beyond the Clinical: Integrating Soft Skills at the Jacaranda Hospital

When we think of clinical skill building, the first things that come to mind are probably medical training, hands-on simulation, or research. Rarely does it occur to us that some of the most important skills for a provider go far beyond the clinical. At Jacaranda, we believe that safe and respectful maternity care is about more than direct medical service — it’s about taking the psychosocial background of each client into account, from partner support to financial means and family makeup. It’s about communicating to each client with patience, humility, and respect while attending to her medical needs.

With this in mind, this month we initiated a new type of training program for the Jacaranda clinic staff. We’re calling it “Soft Skills,” and it will center on the other stuff of clinical care, especially interpersonal capabilities and good customer service. It will also focus on productive communication, because we know that in order for Jacaranda to become a sustainable enterprise, clinic staff must be well trained on communicating the value of our services. Soft Skills will be a monthly session for all the clinic staff – from nurses and patient care assistants to janitors and cooks – and will incorporate active role playing and real-time feedback.

This past week, we held our first Soft Skills training session on customer service and how to talk about MamaKiba, our mobile phone-based pre-payment tool to help expectant mothers save for delivery. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on future trainings as we roll them out.

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