8th April 2023
You may be thinking of applying to medical school or that a career in healthcare is for you but you should also take time to think what makes a good doctor? Do I have the character traits of a good doctor?
This is also a very typical question asked at medical school interviews, its not designed to catch you out, rather just to see if you have given the question some thought.
When it comes to healthcare, the quality of care provided by a doctor can make all the difference. Patients rely on doctors to help them manage their health, diagnose and treat illnesses, and guide them through the complexities of the healthcare system. A good doctor possesses certain qualities that make them exceptional in their profession. Today, we will explore what makes a good doctor.
Clinical competence is a crucial trait that every good doctor should possess. It refers to the doctor’s ability to diagnose and treat medical conditions correctly. A competent doctor must have a strong knowledge base in medicine, be up-to-date on the latest medical developments, and be able to apply that knowledge effectively. The doctor must also be able to conduct a thorough physical examination, interpret test results accurately, and provide the right diagnosis and treatment plan.
Another critical trait of a good doctor is good communication skills. A good doctor must be able to explain complex medical information in a way that patients can understand. This requires excellent listening skills, the ability to speak clearly and concisely, and the capacity to adjust communication style to the patient’s needs. A good doctor must also be able to empathise with the patient’s concerns and show compassion and respect for their emotional well-being.
Good doctors uphold high ethical standards and professionalism in their practice. They prioritise the patient’s welfare above their own interests, avoid conflicts of interest, and maintain confidentiality. They also adhere to the established medical standards and codes of ethics, follow best practices, and maintain a commitment to continuous learning and improvement.
Cultural competence is the ability to provide healthcare services that are respectful of and responsive to cultural and linguistic differences. A good doctor must be able to recognise and respect different cultural practices and beliefs and adapt their communication and care accordingly. This requires excellent social skills and an understanding of the ways in which culture, language, and other factors influence a patient’s health and well-being.
Patient focused care is an approach to healthcare that puts the patient’s needs, preferences, and values at the centre of the decision-making process. A good doctor must be able to engage with the patient, listen to their concerns, and involve them in their care plan. This requires an understanding of the patient’s goals and priorities, as well as the ability to coordinate care across different healthcare providers and services.
Empathy and compassion are essential traits of a good doctor. Patients often seek medical care when they are feeling vulnerable and afraid, and a good doctor must be able to offer emotional support as well as medical treatment. A compassionate doctor listens to the patient’s concerns, acknowledges their feelings, and offers reassurance and support. They also show empathy by being present and engaged during the patient’s visit and following up after the appointment to ensure that the patient’s needs are being met.
Healthcare is a team effort, and a good doctor must be able to work effectively with other healthcare colleagues, such as nurses, pharmacists, and specialists. This requires the ability to communicate clearly, share information, and collaborate on treatment plans. A good doctor must also be willing to seek input from others and work together to achieve the best possible outcome for the patient.
A good doctor must be committed to continuous learning and improvement. Medicine is an ever-evolving field, and doctors must stay up-to-date on the latest medical developments and best practices. This requires a commitment to ongoing education and professional development, as well as a willingness to learn from mistakes and seek feedback from patients and colleagues.
If you think you have or could develop these skills then a career in medicine could be