Traits Every Great Physician Has

Physicians have a highly respected career and it takes a huge commitment and hard work to achieve a future in medicine. Besides IQ, what qualities are needed to be a great Doctor?


Doctors need heart, they aren’t robots. Patients respond better to Physicians who are empathetic and engaged. Compassion and communication skills are part of a good bedside manner, something that medical schools should strive to teach. According to The Washington Post, compassion has been a challenge for doctors because of managed care, large patient volumes and electronic medical records. A good technique for showing compassion, is simple: 3 T’s. Talk or listen, take time and touch. Taking the time to talk and listen to a patients is as comforting, as a doctor’s touch.


As one patient noted in a Mayo Clinic survey, “the doctor’s confidence gives me confidence.” Most people approach doctor visits with some degree of fear and trepidation. They want reassurance that their doctor knows what they’re doing, has faith in their own abilities, and has the knowledge and experience to treat patients competently.


Dr. John Madden, an Emergency Physician and Director of the Office of Career Guidance and Student Development at St. George’s University School of Medicine believes that communication is critical to being a good doctor. “Patients will tell you what’s wrong if you just let them speak.” Physicians often rush to interrupt patients in about seventeen seconds, Dr. Madden explains. But if they’d just sit back and listen to what their patients reveal, they may find the answer they’re looking for. After all, good communication isn’t just for being friendly with patients. It’s also a vital skill for doctors to understand their patients’ concerns and explain a diagnosis.


Medical school applicants don’t want to become physicians because of the salary. They apply because they have a passion for the study and practice of medicine. Their passion makes them disciplined and willing to sacrifice other opportunities to better their career. Passion is what drives great doctors through long and difficult shifts.

Attention To Detail/Thorough

A patient wants to know that their doctor hasn’t overlooked an aspect of their healthcare. Thoroughness and attention to detail will instill confidence in a patient that the physician’s diagnosis is accurate. This trait also helps the physician to schedule the appropriate follow-ups or necessary extended care. Being thorough the first time can prevent the patient from future ailments or the discomfort of having to come back for additional visits.


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