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Skills for a New Direct Care Supervisor

Direct care supervisors must have a set of specific skills to be effective in their positions. Depending on the work setting, direct care supervisors may perform different roles, such as managing an entire facility or supervising a specific department. Regardless of their exact role, health care supervisors need to possess certain personal qualities and demonstrate excellent management and communication skills.


Leadership is an important skill for a new health care supervisor. Leadership is not necessarily an inborn trait. But even if you don't yet feel completely confident as a leader, you can cultivate and hone this skill as you go along. Leadership means motivating your team while gaining acceptance and respect from your employees, not only for being a supervisor, but for being a leader. You show your commitment to the organization and effective supervisory skills. You demonstrate integrity, assertiveness and conscientiousness. Your employees may not always like what you have to say, but they understand who is in charge and respect your direction and vision.

Problem Solving

New direct care supervisors must also possess excellent problem-solving skills, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Problem-solving skills require making difficult decisions, dealing with employee grievances and customer complaints and finding solutions to other types of problems, such as staffing issues or administrative concerns. For example, direct care supervisors often deal with high staff turnover due to professional dissatisfaction, stress, burnout and the general nature of health care work. Direct care supervisors must retain staff through creative problem solving and working together, not just through finding replacements.


New direct care supervisors must possess outstanding communication skills. Communication skills are the most important, yet often the most difficult, skills for new health care managers to learn. Health care supervisors must communicate and convey their ideas and messages to employees and other health care professionals with clarity and professionalism. They should communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. They also need to remember patient confidentiality and legal issues when discussing specific cases with outside parties, such as health insurance representatives or other external health care professionals.

Computer Skills

Know how to use all current computer applications as well as internet skills. Computer literacy refers to the ability to use computer programs in an effective manner. Computer skills have become increasingly important as companies have started to depend upon computerized technology to get work done. Computer skills can mean that you can perform tasks that others in the work force aren’t able to, and you are familiar with and able to work with programs that businesses use. You will have a better chance of being successful in a workplace if you are able to navigate computers and use common or specialized computer programs.

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