Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
There is a perceived soft skills problem within the medical assistant program (MAP) at a 2-year technical college in the Midwestern United States. Soft skills refer to relational skills such as practicing self-management, communicating with various groups, adapting to change, negotiating, and resolving conflict. The purposes of this intrinsic case study were to (a) understand the perspectives of faculty, staff, and leadership regarding students' soft skills ability within the study MAP and (b) identify important soft skills needed in the workplace. An integrative conceptual framework that drew upon vocational and organizational theories was used as a theoretical framework for the study. Fourteen participants, comprised of program faculty, program leadership, and staff members from local healthcare clinics, participated in open-ended interviews. Documents were also collected, including the college mission, class syllabi, and attendance records. The interview transcripts and documents were analyzed through Creswell's 6-step process of data preparation/organization, data sorting, developing description codes, narration/visual representation of findings, reflective interpretation of results, and finding validation strategies. Findings confirmed a perceived need for soft skills instruction in communication skills, professionalism, work ethic, interpersonal skills, and good judgement. Positive social change could occur from the organization improving students' workplace success through a deeper understanding of these needed soft skills. Further, MAP students at the study site would be better positioned to provide an increased quality of patient care.