“He is a good doctor.”
“She treated me really well; she is one of the best doctors I have ever witnessed.”
These are some commonly used phrases that we encounter whenever someone visits a doctor. Doctors are often compared to god for saving people’s lives. The COVID-19 pandemic was an eye-opener about how important it is to have a sturdy medical system as well as ‘good doctors. But what makes a good doctor?
When one graduates from medical school, consistent training and hardcore learning evolve one as a person, and that’s when they earn the title of “Doctor” in front of their names. But just classroom learning and clinical training are not enough. One can be the most skilled person with a plethora of medical knowledge but still not be a good doctor! The real test starts when a doctor starts practicing. Here are the skills that are needed to be a doctor and be tagged as a ‘good doctor.’
Essential skills and qualities needed to be a good doctor
Always looking out for patient details
While suggesting any treatment or giving a prescription, a good doctor will always ask for a medical history or any allergies. Why? For instance, Suggesting drinking milk to a lactose intolerant person will do more harm than good. So to avoid any such error, it is important not to neglect any detail.
Prescribing the right amount of dosage along with keeping in mind the ingredients of those drugs and how they might affect the patient is important. And carefully checking all patient details makes it happen.
Passion for care
Passion is the skill that builds the base of all the other skills. Being a doctor is not ‘just’ a profession but a passion as well. One of the top skills of a doctor is having the passion and willingness to help others. A patient visits a hospital when they are in dire need of help. So as a doctor, passion should come from within to treat the one in pain as early as possible.
You might be very intelligent and skilled in what you do, but at the end of the day how well you care about your patients is what makes all the difference.
Decision-making with compassion
When juggling duties as a doctor, there would be places when you have to make a tough call. As a doctor, your main goal should be to figure out what will be the best for the patient. Sometimes a decision might seem like a bad one to a patient but as a doctor, it would be your responsibility to show the patient things from a different perspective. You will sometimes have to take charge and the responsibility so that your patients get what is the best treatment for them.
However, taking charge does not mean pushing any patient to a point that they feel uncomfortable around you. That is where compassion will come into play.
Keeping personal and professional life separate
One of the most crucial skills needed by a doctor is professionalism. Being a doctor means witnessing a lot of new medical issues on a daily basis, finding solutions to those, and making sure that the ailment does not become worse. But all this needs to be done with utmost professionalism since attaching emotions will do more harm than good. Good doctors will never put themselves in a position that compromises their ability to treat the patient with the care they deserve.
As a doctor, even if you are facing any issues personally, it is your responsibility to keep those issues out of the workspace to avoid chaos.
Intrapersonal and interpersonal communication skills
Both intrapersonal and interpersonal communication skills are necessary soft skills for a doctor. Intrapersonal communication skills come into play when a doctor has to take a hard decision or take the leadership of how they will be treating a patient. Interpersonal communication skills are necessary as a doctor has to communicate with the public every single day and needs to communicate the problem the right way.
Consider this example, if a patient has been diagnosed with a long-term ailment that has no cure to it then it will be the responsibility of the doctor to convey it to both the patient as well as their family. In such situations, a doctor has to be polite and empathetic yet put their stance clearly so that no false hopes are imparted to the patient or their relatives.
The next in line when it comes to talking about the skills of a good doctor is the ability to rectify mistakes. Sometimes patients are unaware of the allergies they might have, for example. In such situations, if any prescription is affecting the person then a doctor ought to not avoid the red flags and dig deeper into it. Human errors might occur while treating a patient, but as a doctor, one should be able to rectify the mistakes made instead of overlooking them.
Taking the lead
When a doctor treats a patient, that patient becomes their responsibility and they are accountable to the patient. That doctor will be the go-to person for that patient, especially if they have undergone a huge treatment or a long-term treatment is going on. This is where the leadership skills of a medical doctor will come into play.
When you will become a doctor one day, then you have to take the responsibility for several patients and also take care of all their queries in a way that they feel supported.
Handling stress and pressure with grace
It is not a hidden fact that being a doctor is a stressful career. You have to put your patients first and deal with not one but many on the same day. Everyone with different health concerns and you have to find a solution for each one of them. Indeed sounds very stressful and that is why stress management is one of the core skills needed to be a doctor.
As a doctor, there will be stress and pressure, and sometimes you will feel exhausted as well but nothing should cloud your ability to treat a patient. Along with keeping your patients healthy, you should focus on your health as well. We say a healthy doctor resides in a healthy body! Keep your body and mind healthy and feel free to take breaks whenever you feel burnt out.