A job in the healthcare industry requires years and years of training and qualifications. However, that’s not all you need. You also require a multitude of personal skills that are essential for the job. A career as a doctor is emotionally challenging and draining. Of course, there are plenty of great moments too. Every doctor has their own personal story of the patient they saved from death. If you think this career might be for you, you’ve come to the right place.
Trying to figure out your future is never easy, especially when you’re a young person. Sometimes, it doesn’t come down to numbers, salaries or qualifications. Instead, it’s all about personal skills. Do you have what it takes to work in this environment? We’ve listed the ten most important personal skills required for a career in medicine. If they describe you, then you should probably be a doctor or a nurse!
You have excellent communication skills
Doctors spend up to nine years training to fully qualify. That’s a whole lot of scientific jargon and anatomy to learn! Your biggest challenge will be translating that knowledge and information to the patient. Not only that, but transferring it to a scared and worried patient. It’s your job to explain their condition and illness in a way that they can understand. You’ll have to lay out their choices and decisions and help them make the right one. Nurses are in a similar position. They need to interpret their patient’s needs in order to look after them. They’ll also provide a comforting and empathetic tone when dealing with patients.
You have emotional strength
Working as a doctor or nurse is emotionally challenging. You’re working with pain and even death on a daily basis. It’s a natural human response to feel sadness in this environment. As a doctor or nurse, you’ll have to ride above that and ensure it does not affect your job. You’ll have the emotional strength to focus on all the good you’re doing and use that to keep you going. Saving lives is an honourable profession, and you must never lose sight of that.
You’re not scared of blood!
It’s a simple point, but well worth mentioning. Doctors and nurses face blood on a day-to-day basis. Being squeamish is not the answer here! If you’re a phlebotomist, for example, you’ll be taking blood samples every day. It’s easier than you think to become one too. If you’ve ever asked yourself, ‘what tasks are phlebotomists legally allowed to perform?’ you’ll be surprised. There is always an alternative route into healthcare, and this is one path that requires less qualification.
You’re physically fit
Good physical fitness goes a long way in this career. Take surgeons, for example. It’s no easy feat to stand in an operating theatre for ten hours straight, in the same place. Nurses too are on their feet all day, walking from patient to patient. You’ll soon rack up the miles without realising. Good physical fitness will make you better at your job as a medical professional. It’s a lesson in practicing what you preach!
The best doctors understand that hospitals are terrifying places for patients. As a doctor or nurse, you’ll instinctively do everything you can to reassure patients and calm their nerves. You’ll understand how difficult it is for them. You’ll know that their life can change in an instant when you give the diagnoses. You’ll also know that giving a family member bad news is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. But, you’ll deliver it with empathy and sympathy.
You’re great at solving problems
Medicine is a complex and confusing world. The body is fascinating, but by no means simple! You’ll often find yourself putting together various pieces of a puzzle to diagnose a patient. This means you need excellent problem-solving skills. If you’ve ever seen an episode of House, you’ll know what we mean! Diagnosing a patient means solving any number of problems to find the solution. This is also the case during surgery where you’ll react instantly to life-threatening issues.
You have a desire for knowledge
Without an incessant yearning for knowledge, you’ll never make it through medical school. The training and qualification process is long and difficult for medical professionals. It all begins with a five-year medical degree. After that, you’ll go through up to five further years of residency training at medical school. This process requires a strong desire to learn everything there is to know about the body. You’ll always want to know more and push the boundaries further. That’s what makes a great doctor.
You have a cool head
Patients are rushed in with emergency problems every hour in a hospital environment. Your cool head is essential to treating the patient with care and attention. Anxiety and stress will cloud your judgement, and you’ll make poor decisions. With a cool head, you can put all the noise and pressure aside and deal with the case objectively. If you can approach a stressful environment with a level head and clarity, you’ll make a great doctor or nurse.
You have patience
This is particularly important for nurses and medical assistants. In this capacity, you’ll be tending to your patient’s every need. It can often be demanding, and even demeaning. But, with patience, you’ll deal with each scenario with a professional outlook.
You have a deep concern and need to help people
This is the most important quality of all. The best doctors and nurses wake up with a strong urge to help others. They feel a calling deep inside to care for the people around them. That is the quality that will keep you going as a doctor or nurse. That’s the emotion that will help you set aside the bad times and keep working towards something bigger. Every day brings a new chance to save a life or improve someone’s wellbeing. For the best doctors and nurses, that’s the real beating heart of the medical profession.
If these ten statements all describe you, then what are you waiting for? You are a doctor or nurse in waiting! Time to step up. Good luck!