6 Essential Traits

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Attentive

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 and build a bit of a rapport. This will help the patient to be honest with the doctor, making it much easier for them to diagnose any illness or ailment. 

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 by taking shortcuts. 

Q. Do you complete your homework to the best of your abilities or just enough to get it done and get a good mark? Doing more than may be required is part of the job of being a doctor - it's certainly no 9-5 office job and you shouldn't think of it as such.

doctor-traits-empathy

A great bedside manner relies heavily on empathy

Progressive (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 a whole generation 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 poor judgement and keep your knowledge up to date.  

Q. Could you be as enthusiastic about the latest medical papers as you are about your favourite band's new album? It's vital that you keep up to date with things like the British Medical Journal (BMJ) - you may discover a new procedure that could save your patients life, read about a case which inspires your diagnosis or discover a conference where you can develop in your specialist field. 

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