5 key skills you need to become a doctor
Becoming a doctor is no easy path - it takes dedication and education.
Doctors go through rigorous study, medical exams, and training making medicine a collective of some of the best minds in the world.
Once you pass all your exams and begin your in-hospital training you'll discover that patient care and the way you interact with your team are integral to being a great doctor.
Here are the five key skills you will need to get through your medical training and then go on to provide the very best in patient care.
1. Communication skills
The ability to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills a doctor can possess. Good doctor-patient communication has many benefits including increased patient satisfaction, better collaboration between medical teams, and improved patient support.
Physicians should be agreeable, great listeners, and empathetic to the concerns of their patients
Communication plays a part in the diagnosis, liaising with the team to provide treatment, and helping the patient get an understanding of why you have decided on that treatment and how it will affect them.
As a doctor, interacting with patients and colleagues will be a large part of your day-to-day duty, and if this skill is lacking it could make it very difficult to perform at your very best.
2. Decision-making skills
Doctors will often have to make decisions quickly and ensure they are the right ones! That is why the ability to make fast accurate decisions is a very necessary skill set for a doctor.
When it comes to taking care of your patients, most of the decision-making is under the remit of the doctor. This means you’re going to need to be ready to take responsibility and make tough calls.
Kindness is an important skill set to have in medicine because it creates a sense of psychological safety and this improves doctor-patient communication.
Studies have proven that compassionate caring is associated with improved patient moods and stronger doctor-patient relationships.
Kindness is so important because it improves trust and fosters stronger relationships between a doctor and their patient. That being said it also plays a role in fostering a great relationship between a doctor and their team.
4. Attention to detail
A career in medicine is highly detail-oriented. When administering treatments and drugs, recording patient details, and reading patient detail doctors need to ensure they pay attention to detail, because if they don't, it could result in a loss of life.
Seemingly small details can make a huge difference when it comes to diagnosing a patient properly.
5. Ability and willingness to always be educating one's self.
Your training will provide you with the technical knowledge you need to start working as a doctor, but medicine is always changing; there are always new treatments being discovered and always ways that patient care can be improved.
It is important for a doctor to be willing to keep educating themselves. This could include keeping up with CPD time, and learning from colleagues.
For example, with the rise of artificial intelligence, it is important for doctors to start educating themselves on how they can work with the machine.
The ability to think outside the box or research new conditions helps too. Not every patient's diagnosis and treatment is going to be clear-cut, and the test results might not align with your assumptions. In such instances, don’t be afraid to ask for help, do further research, or think of innovative ways to solve the problem.