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Non-medical knowledge for a doctor - Part 2

Tengku Hanis, 21 Mar 2017
This is the second part of the two-part series on non-medical knowledge for doctors. Here we look at two more skills that doctors can make use of to help them to be great at the profession.

Being a doctor is an arduous and hectic job. You need to commit physically, mentally and emotionally to deliver excellent services. Apart of handling a patient, doctors also need to do their part in the administration and paperwork.

Meditation and relaxation skills

There are a lot of meditation and relaxation techniques available, some of it have been practiced by the ancient community such as yoga and tai chi. These skills and techniques have been established to improve general health including reducing stress, ergo it will be beneficial for doctors to incorporate it into daily life.

According to a systematic review published in 2014, meditation programmes can result in small to moderate reductions of multiple negative dimensions of psychological stress. The review also found that a mindfulness-based stress reduction reduces pain severity to a small degree, although the evidence was moderate.

There are many types of relaxation techniques starting from a simple method such as deep breathing and visualisation techniques to a more complicated one such as yoga and tai chi. Each technique may benefit you slightly differently. For example, mindfulness-based techniques and meditations such as yoga, tai chi and qigong may help reduce burnout among doctors. Researchers also found that higher trait mindfulness was well associated with greater emotional stability, better self-rated control of emotions and behaviors and lower pre-sleep arousal (a measurement of cognitive and physical symptoms of anxiety).

Therefore, it is important that doctors adopt at least a few simple techniques to help them in their daily life or work-wise. However it is important to note that whatever methods that you may choose, it must be practiced consistently to enjoy the full benefit of it.

Administration and management

Another good skill set to be mastered is administration and management. Since doctors are one of the backbones of the health industry, developing good administration and management skills will benefit the healthcare sector directly. Doctors including other healthcare professionals such as nurses and pharmacists work in a team. So, proper instruction and task allocation should be meticulously planned and executed, to avoid job overlapping and to ensure that the workload is shared equally among team members.

Knowledge in management will help doctors to be more efficient and systematic in their work. A physician with both of these techniques can also get a different perspective and a bigger picture of an issue or a problem. For example, a good doctor not only focuses on the treatment but also educates the patient and his family. So, they are aware of the risks of the disease and will know what to do when the patient experiences the symptoms of the disease in the future. Thus, the earlier patients seek treatment, the better the outcome is.

Being a great doctor does not happen overnight, it is a journey that requires a serious commitment throughout your career. It requires the doctor to adopt a lifelong learning attitude and an eagerness to improve so that he can be great at what he does. MIMS

Read more:
3 misconceptions medical students have about becoming a doctor
Are Singaporean doctors being overwhelmed by local medical demands?
3 more doctors with great contributions to the advancement of medicine