3 Personal Attributes That Are Just As Important As Academic Knowledge In the Medical Field

January 23, 2015

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Checking patients notes in Chiang Mai

A high degree of academic proficiency is a mandatory requirement for anyone who healthcareis considering a career in healthcare. This is plain to see from the above average academic grades that are required for admission into any medical school. But that’s not all. Being a successful healthcare provider is more than just about diagnoses and effective treatment of symptoms. To be successful as a medical professional, your personal attributes are just as important as your academic knowledge.

These personal attributes will hold you in good stead in the medical field.


#1 Good Decision-Making Skills In High-Stress Situations

In the healthcare field, emergencies and high stress situations are routine, especially in certain specialties. All too often you will be faced with life-and-death situations where you will be expected to make snap decisions and quick judgment calls. In high-stress situations such as these, it is even more important to be able to stay calm and make objective decisions that will save the patient’s life. If you tend to get stressed or nervous easily and are unable to make on-the-spot life-saving decisions, you may find it difficult to handle a career in medicine, especially in clinical care. If you are still interested in healthcare, consider a role in a non-clinical capacity.   

#2 Outstanding Communication Skills

As a healthcare professional you have to be able to communicate with your patients to elicit the necessary information from them and to inform them of their treatment options or update them on the progress of their treatment. However, in this role you are likely to come across patients from all walks of life.  Many of these patients may have limited health literacy either because they are unable to read or understand health information or they speak an alien language. Being able to rise above all existing barriers and communicate effectively with patients requires patience, perseverance and outstanding communication skills. This is not a career path for someone who is non-communicative to start with or someone who does not have the necessary patience to draw out essential information from patients. 

#3 Empathy & Compassion

Empathy and compassion are the cornerstones of healthcare. Patients may talk very highly about the brilliant doctor who saved their life but remained aloof and distant but it is the empathetic and compassionate healthcare professionals who will always hold a special place in their heart. Several studies that have been done show that being empathetic and compassionate with patients can produce unexpectedly positive results. Patients are less stressed and anxious. They also respond better and are more agreeable to participating in the prescribed treatment plan, resulting in higher success rates. 

If you are considering pursuing a career in medicine, it will do you good to spend some time and introspect as to whether or not you possess these three personal attributes that will help you go a long way in this field.