My neighbor Ian Weisberg MD has been a doctor for over 30 years and he currently spends a lot of his time at the local school, helping young boys and girls who dream of such a career to understand what it takes to achieve it. In fact just last week we were having a conversation about how many gifted young boys and girls there are who just don’t have the right skillset to be a doctor. I asked Ian what the personality traits should be of a doctor and so if you want to be a doctor in the future, these are that skills that you should possess.
Patience plays an important part of both being a doctor and training to be a doctor and without it you will struggle to find success in this career. A medical student needs to be patient because of the sheer volume of work which they need to get through plus the never-ending years of study which they must put in. A practicing doctor must be patient because everything takes time from treatments to test results.
There is a school of thought that doctors should work on patients in the same way that a mechanic works on cars in order to do the best job but in the modern world this simply isn’t possible. A doctor must be empathetic to the patient and their family and they must show this. Many hospitals are rated for their standard of care and that means that a doctor should have a great bedside manner and should understand what their patients are going through.
We mentioned earlier about the number of years which one must study in order to be licensed to practice medicine, but the work doesn’t stop there. In fact Ian tells me that there is almost more studying to be done when you become a doctor because there are always new methods and approaches being discovered, and new treatments too. Ian says that he is so scared that he will miss out on something that he studies most days.
Doctors do not work alone and a good doctor must be able to work with all staff in the hospital. There will be some nurses and other doctors who they work with all of the time but there will also be others in the hospital with whom they need to work from time to time. A great doctor must be able o put any feelings and egos aside and work as part of a well-oiled team.
The most important characteristic of any successful doctor is that they must be focused, if a doctor is easily distracted then it is a dangerous combination. A focused doctor takes better decisions, performs to a higher ability and delivers time and time again when it comes to their patients.
If you have dreams of one day becoming a doctor, these skills are the very least that you will need.