Hospitality skills transfer well to many health care positions

Healthcare professional

Are you a leisure and hospitality industry service provider whose job has been recently impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Our health care industry needs you!

Many people working in restaurants, hotels, casinos, event planning, theme parks, and other tourism- and travel-related jobs have been laid off and are looking for work. If you were among those leisure and hospitality workers laid off, you have a set of skills that can easily be transferred to help meet the needs of health care employers across Minnesota. Here are seven skills common to hospitality service providers – and how they’re needed by health care employers right now: 

  1. Focus on the customer: In the leisure and hospitality industry, it’s extremely important to zero in on your customer’s needs and wants quickly. You’re used to ensuring that customers are happy and feel cared for, and then ushering them through to make room for your next customer. The same is true in the health care industry. Health care employers need employees who can assess the needs of their patients by asking the right questions while building rapport and making them as happy and comfortable as possible. 
  2. Attention to detail: You know the specific requests of your customers and exactly how they like things done. You’ve learned the questions to ask to uncover the details your customers wouldn’t even think to tell you. You know that missing one of these details can affect your customer’s entire experience and, in some cases, could possibly be life threatening, as in the case of food allergies. This is an extremely important skillset for every position in health care. Tracking details and maintaining proper documentation is an important part of any position in health care and someone with these skills already in place is of great value to employers. 
  3. Excellent at multi-tasking: You’re used to managing many things at once. Depending on your position, you know how to handle customer needs on the phone, by email, and face to face – often simultaneously and with an eye to balancing multiple peoples’ interests and needs. And you do this with a smile on your face. Health care employers also rely on strong multi-tasking skills and are often serving more than one patient at a time – people with differing needs and a variety of variables that impact their ability to communicate these needs. Someone adept at taking care of what needs to be done with a positive attitude is invaluable to any organization. 
  4. Team focused: You know the importance of everyone understanding their role and how it impacts the person next to them. You’re committed to collaboration – and often share in the rewards of the success. Think of the server who shares tips with everyone on their team, from the host to the person washing the dishes. The same holds true for those in health care. It takes a team of professionals to ensure a positive patient experience, from the person who writes the prescriptions to the person who administers medication, all the way to the person who brings the hot lunch and ensures that the bedding is clean and fresh.   
  5. Relationship builder: You know the importance of a “hello,” and what it means to someone to remember their name and their favorite place to sit. You have customers who will wait all day to work with you, because they know you, and they trust that you’ll take care of them the way they want. You know this because you’ve learned the art of listening and the importance of paying attention to the small details. The health care industry thrives on people who have this skillset. A foundation of patient care is establishing a relationship of trust and connection. This is a skill that cannot always be taught, and it’s so important to the quality of care, especially when working in long term care facilities. 
  6. Conflict resolver: The good news is that you’re already used to navigating the art of working with all kinds of people. You’ve seen it all, done it all, and you’ve probably cleaned it all up. You’ve developed the skill of managing your emotions, and deescalating the emotions of others, and you’re able to compromise and offer solutions. These are skills that those in health care positions use every single day. Someone who can remain calm while serving people in this capacity is in very high demand. 
  7. Strong work ethic: You’ve put in 16-hour days, on your feet, sometimes without breaks and sometimes without knowing ahead of time that you’d be doing so. You put all your effort into ensuring that those you are serving are enjoying their activity, having a nice warm meal, and creating memories with their family and friends. You do this because it’s important to you and you care about your customers. 

Minnesota's health care system needs people like you. If you’re interested in putting your skills to use by pursuing a career in health care, visit the job search page here on to find opportunities that are available to you, right now, in your own back yard. If you need assistance, go to Virtual & Interactive Services

You’ll find many health care job openings that may entail on-site training, but don’t require certification or state licensure. Among them are home care aides, resident aides, and direct support specialists, as well as jobs in medical coding/billing, food service, and housekeeping.  

Visit the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development COVID -19 Updates page for additional information and resources for workers.

Many health care employers would love to have you on their team, to put your talents back to work in their facilities, serving the people of Minnesota. 

Jessica Miller is a Workforce Strategy Consultant with DEED for the South Central/Southwest region.