If you’re considering studying medicine, you need to know that you are going to be the best doctor you can be. We’ve compiled this list of six essential traits you will need to be a great doctor to help you to see if you are you cut out to study medicine! This is by no means all that you will need, but it is a step in the right direction if you feel that you already possess some of these traits. 


  1. Professionalism

It is of the utmost importance that you behave professionally in all your conduct. Your medical education will probably involve a discussion about what professionalism means and what you need to do in practice, but there are a couple of key concepts which are universal.

Doctor/patient confidentiality is extremely important. It is a fundamental strand of medical ethics. This also involves maintaining a professional distance from your patients. They need to feel safe in your company to disclose information at their discretion, and they need to be sure that anything they say will not leave your office.

Equally important is respect and fairness. A good doctor must be able to treat all patients equally, regardless of their ethnicity, lifestyle choices or conduct. Your job is to treat your patients, not to judge them.

  1. Empathy

Research has shown that patients who feel that their doctor has made a genuine empathetic connection – an attempt to understand how they feel and how their condition is affecting their everyday life – will actually experience a reduction in pain.

If a patient feels they are being cared for by the right doctor who has taken an interest in their well-being, their body will suppress their awareness of the pain and they will experience a faster recovery.

Conversely, the stress of having a bad doctor who doesn’t show an interest can actually prolong the patient’s suffering. Empathy is a very powerful thing and is an essential part of any doctor’s bedside manner.

  1. Attentiveness

Some doctors will try to get as many patients through their door as possible. They will rush appointments and make quick decisions. This is often because they are trying to reach targets or avoid long queues in their waiting room, but it’s not always best for the patients.

A good doctor will ask a few more questions than they need to and spend longer with their patients.

You might find that you have a rough idea of what is wrong with your patient within the first minute of their visit, but until you’ve dug deeper and got a real understanding of their situation, you will not be able to treat them to the best of your ability. Going the extra mile and treating each patient as an individual rather than a statistic is a key part of being a doctor and is something that will help you to avoid any complications caused through taking shortcuts.

  1. Forward Thinking

The medicine industry is changing all the time and it’s important that you are prepared to keep up to date with new findings, innovative research and emerging theories at all times.

Even once you have graduated, you shouldn’t stop learning.

You also need to be analytical about everything you read. There are a few famous examples of medical discoveries which have changed the way a lot of professionals operate, which have later gone on to be discredited. The impact of these mistakes are huge and, in some cases, are still being felt 30 years later.

Nobody expects you to be perfect or right all of the time, but it is essential that you are able to understand the impact of mistakes or bad judgement and keep your knowledge up to date.

  1. Composure

Medical professionals work with the human body every day and it isn’t always pleasant. There can often be unfamiliar situations and it can sometimes be quite gruesome too: this is especially true for medics working in an accident and emergency ward or surgeons working in an operating theatre.

It is important that you are able to cope with these situations to deal with situations calmly and thoughfully. It is important that you have a clear head and are able to make good, quick decisions. By doing this and by staying calm, the patient and their family can see that you are in control of the situation and they will find it easier to trust you. If you find yourself to be indecisive, or conversely quick to jump to rash decisions, this is something to work on before considering a career as a doctor.

  1. Industrious

People always need health care; no matter what time of the day or what day of the year, someone will need medical attention. Working in the medical profession often means working long hours, weekends and holidays. You may frequently face understaffing issues and odds are that most days you are going to have to work extremely hard. However, in addition to good job prospects after university and a reasonable starting salary and package for junior doctors, studying medicine at university is a very interesting, engaging and fulfilling way to spend your time, where you will learn a lot about yourself and how you work, even if you do not decide to pursue a career in the area of medicine. A 5-year course is a serious commitment but it could set you up for life with the skill required to join the honourable profession of medicine.


i-Student global    6/12/2015