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What Skills Are Needed to Be a Doctor?

What Skills Are Needed to Be a Doctor?

It takes years of serious studying before you can even enroll in medical school, so becoming a doctor is certainly a major commitment that requires patience and effort. After a medical school accepts your admission, you will begin a rigorous theoretical and clinical education to prepare you for the upcoming years.

Medical students spend a significant time trying to learn specific skills and mastering knowledge about diseases and treatment, but it didn’t stop here! Indeed, these students must acquire other important soft skills. There are some aspects of becoming a doctor that even the greatest medical school cannot teach you. To be a successful doctor, you’ll need the ideal mix of personality, talents, and knowledge. Let’s show you some skills that you need to be a skilled doctor.

Communication Skills

Every profession requires a good level of communication, but medicine requires a special set of communication skills because as a doctor, you will deal directly with people of different backgrounds. In fact, you will deal with patients and coworkers every day. If you don’t have good communication skills, your daily work will become tougher and unbearable.

Communication is important when you try to diagnose a patient. You must be able to ask the proper questions and read between the lines as you observe the responses of the patient. Although diagnostic tests and scans can provide important clinical information, you will not get the big picture without communicating directly with the patients. You must also be able to comprehend what other healthcare professionals try to convey to you, including nurses and pharmacists.

Technical Skills

To do your duties as a doctor, you need to learn the conventional technical skills of a doctor. When people consider employment in this sector, they tend to focus heavily on these skills because they are the essential pillar of the profession. This is understandable, but as doctors continue to specialize in their respective fields, they will need to improve these skills and develop them further. The following are technical abilities that a doctor should prioritize:

  • Physical examination and treatment
  • Lab results interpretation
  • Symptoms evaluation
  • Correct drug prescription
  • Follow-up care


Another important skill to have as a doctor is to show empathy when dealing with patients. It’s not only helpful to feel empathy for your coworkers or patients and their families but also to express your empathy by using the right expressions. Listening to people’s worries and confirming their viewpoints is going to help you win their trust and create long-term friendships.

Unfortunately, the work that you will have will require you to disclose terrible news to patients or their families. Often, the news you will carry may not resonate well with the recipients, so you will need to stand on stable emotional ground and remain professional while explaining this news to them.

Problem-Solving Skills

Detective work is an important part of medical diagnosis because the process requires data gathering and searching for cause and effect to reach the right treatment. As a doctor, you must be a problem solver who can easily identify the problem and search for the right solution.

Your ability to break down problems and build an internal algorithm is not something you will learn directly in medical school. Therefore, it is a skill that you need to develop by yourself. You should think creatively, bring new insights, and fill up the gaps that you will encounter during your interactions with patients.

Sharp Attention

As a doctor, it may become a common thing for you to overlook the small details when prescribing medications or when dealing with patients of different cultural conventions, medical histories, allergies, or physiological variations. However, every medical expert must be able to pay attention to detail to prevent catastrophic incidents that can cost the lives of people.

Decision-Making Skills

Doctors are usually responsible for making the final clinical decisions for patients. Therefore, you’ll need to be prepared to make difficult, quick, and sensitive decisions. You must design careful treatment programs for patients and decide the right method to convey your ideas to them and their family members.

 Decision-making skills are crucial for doctors who work in emergency departments as they commonly receive patients with fluctuating conditions and unclear histories. You need to stay calm and professional under pressure and make justifiable clinical decisions when needed.

Teamwork Skills

The ability to collaborate and work as part of a larger team is one of the most important skills for any medical practitioner. As a successful doctor, you need to collaborate with other doctors, such as cardiologists, urologists, and even psychiatrists.

Some hospitals establish a dedicated team to deal with traumatic or urgent cases. These teams require a great level of collaboration among their members.  In any case, the ability to form professional relationships with peers and coworkers is critical not only for patient care but also to maintain a good workplace.


Leading people is one of doctors’ common roles. In fact, some doctors are hired to be in charge of entire departments and sections in hospitals. Others become experienced enough to open their own clinics. You must be able to provide your team members with the support and incentives they need to drive growth and success. Leadership experts and coaches recommend doctors adopt a democratic leadership style.

Stress Management

Doctors are exposed to high levels of pressure because they interact directly with people and try to save their lives. To avoid burnout, you need to learn how to handle stress and bring positive feelings to yourself regardless of the situation. Indeed, the most successful physicians know how to deal with pressure and thrive on it in the face of all odds. They are, however, aware of when to stop and take a break when things become too stressful to manage.