Skills, knowledge and years of experience will make you a good doctor. However, to become a better one requires you to have a great personality and interpersonal skills. As a doctor, you not only deal with the patient, but also other colleagues such as fellow doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and so on. Developing a good rapport with your colleagues and your patient will help to foster a conducive and supportive environment. Becoming a great doctor does take more effort than just accumulating knowledge and experience, and below are 10 habits you should adopt:

1. Trust, but verify

Doctor and patient should trust one another to achieve the best possible outcome of their treatment. However, humans are not perfect, so mistakes, carelessness and misinformation can happen. Thus, you should verify any unclear or ambiguous statements. This extends to your fellow colleagues; while they may be highly proficient in their profession, it does not hurt to double-check with them to avoid any mistakes which may have potentially disastrous consequences.

2. Be available

Making yourself available means making sure that you are contactable and easy to approach, such that patients will feel comfortable contacting you if they need immediate advice. Sometimes, fellow colleagues or nurses need to confirm the work you pass to them, or they need your approval on something urgent. Being available would help to ensure that such situations are resolved as soon as possible, potentially leading to a better healthcare outcome.

3. Communicate clearly

If your patient has no medical background, try to explain their conditions to them in a simple and understandable manner. Avoid using any medical jargon so as to not confuse them. Make sure that they are fully informed of their conditions, risks and consequences of the treatment you will be administering, and other alternative treatments available.

4. Keep up to date

There is always new information, a new drug or a new study published in the medical field. Thus, to be a great doctor is to adopt a life-long learning mindset and be sure to stay abreast of current developments and updates in the medical field, particularly with regards to your area of expertise. The easiest way to do so is to subscribe to a journal of your expertise and read them from time to time.

5. Be healthy

Keeping your health in check not only makes you more efficient in your job, but you will also inspire your patient to do so by being an example to them. Researchers at the University of British Columbia and in Israel have found that patients are likely to follow preventive healthcare practices if their doctors do likewise. A great doctor should not only promote wellness and healthiness, but also represent them as well.

6. Value your patient’s time

A great doctor values their patient’s time. Avoid doing unnecessary tasks such as replying messages, checking Facebook news or chatting with a colleague when there is actually a patient in front of you. You need to be fully engaged with your patient, and it is bad manners to ignore them while they are here to seek your help.

7. Be observant of details

Being observant will help to prevent careless mistakes and also help you to build a good rapport with your patients. By anticipating their worries, concerns and difficulties, you can plan a more approachable management for them.

8. Be organised

This is a must for a great doctor, especially if you are a senior doctor with a lot of commitment. Being organised will make your job more hassle-free and less stressful. Setting an appointment a few weeks before or keeping a record of your patients may seem a bit tedious at first, but such measures will surely benefit you in the long run.

9. Be attentive

Being attentive means focusing on your patients' needs so that you can do what is best for them. By looking them in the eye and properly listening, you are demonstrating your attentiveness. It also makes them open up to you and helps in formulating a solid plan to manage their problem.

10. Respect everyone

Be it your staff, your colleagues or more importantly your patients, show respect to whomever you are dealing with. Making them feel respected and valued is important to improving your relationship with them, and this goes a long way in helping you do a better job as a doctor. MIMS

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