Your knowledge and aptitude landed you a good job. But those likely weren’t the only assets that got you hired. Chances are your enthusiasm and attitude played a role, too. In an economy with lots of job seekers, employers are looking for people who can bring first-rate skills to the table, with a personality to match. In health care, this is especially true — a positive attitude in health care really counts. Your attitude, as the care giver, can make a difference in how your patients feel. It’ll help them feel they are being cared for with compassion. A positive attitude can be infectious!

A positive attitude in health care professions can also impact your actual job performance. From dealing with stressors of the job, to crafting creative solutions to problems, to managing your interpersonal relationships with co-workers, having a positive demeanor is advantageous on many levels. We tend to be more productive and inclined to do our best when we have a positive attitude—even towards undesirable assignments. What employer doesn’t appreciate that?

And, if you’re self-employed, you know how significant a positive attitude is to the success of your business. It’s key!

But let’s be fair. Maintaining a positive and upbeat attitude at all times is hard to do—and that’s fine—as long as bouts of distress or negativity aren’t your norm. If you find yourself feeling negative more often than not, it’s time to analyze the situation and find a solution.

What’s causing that bad attitude?

Your first step is to get to the root of what’s causing your unhappiness at work.

  • Are you constantly disagreeing with a co-worker, or vice versa?
  • Do you have job burn-out?
  • Did a patient say something that bothered you and you’re having a hard time shaking it?
  • Are you dealing with a personal issue that has nothing to do with your job?

Try to isolate the causes of your poor mood and seek ways to change those instigators.

Your expectation versus reality.

You might discover that health care is definitely where you’re supposed to be, but you just haven’t found the perfect job fit yet. More than likely, when you began your schooling to become a health care professional, you knew exactly what you wanted to do upon your graduation…or so you thought. Hopefully you did your homework and investigated the specifics of the job environment and where that job would take you. If you didn’t, you could find your expectation was a bit grander than the reality turned out to be. Before you accept a position in a health care facility, it’s important to be sure that you clearly understand the expectations and requirements of the job. Some variant from your initial expectation is acceptable, but it’s possible that other differences will be harder to accommodate. In these cases, you could end up with a strained working relationship with your employer, a bad attitude, and the potential to have a negative effect on the care you give to your patients. To overcome the challenge, you’ll have to speak with your boss to resolve the issues. Only you will know what adjustments will help ease your discontentment.

If you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum and have been working for years, job burn-out can easily be the culprit. You need to be recharged! Set yourself a goal to achieve. Take a continuing education class or attend a seminar to enhance your expertise, or learn something new. Look for ways to improve upon a process that could benefit your team and determine how to best implement those changes. Finally, talk with your boss or Human Resources about the possibility for advancement or openings in another department. Sometimes it only takes a small change to get back on track and motivated.


Benefits of a positive attitude

Regardless of what allied health profession you work in, a positive attitude can make a big impact on your career and your success. It can help to:

  1. Increase the probability of optimum and consistent performance. When you perform at your best, you’re able to achieve the ultimate goal in health care—helping your patients find healing and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  2. Reduce accidents or unintentional incidents. If you’re in a bad mood, there’s a good chance that you’re mentally distracted by what’s bothering you, and you may not even realize it. When you aren’t focused, you’re more likely to give less-than-your-best care. This can invite errors, injury or even accusations that you’ve not delivered the care the patient expected.
  3. Earn a good reputation and advance in your career. People with good attitudes are better able to handle job stress and are more constructive in approaching difficult situations. These are fundamental characteristics employers look for when considering employees for promotions and advancements. It’s also a surefire way to get a glowing reference if you decide to change jobs.


Ultimately you are in control of your attitude, and can choose to be an optimist or a pessimist. You have to decide how you will let the world around you influence your attitude. Hopefully, you’ll find joy in what you do so that a positive attitude is the rule, not the exception. Because a positive attitude in health care really does matter.