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Medical School Nurse Interviews

Non-medical knowledge for a doctor - Part 1

Tengku Hanis, 20 Mar 2017
Being a doctor is more than just treating a patient. Although you spend many years in medical school, reading and studying all the essentials, however, in reality, it seems inadequate. When you are dealing with patients, many variables come into play. Here we look at the 5 non-medical skills that you need to master.

Soft skills

A doctor needs to build up good soft skills such as empathy, a positive mental attitude, flexibility and good time management. A study has shown that there is a correlation between physician empathy and patient satisfaction, and a direct positive relationship with strengthening patient enablement.

Moreover, a doctor who possesses good soft skills can handle various types of patients, such as one with an embarrassing medical complaint or an ignorant patient who refuses a medical treatment. Each patient needs a different approach and explanation which requires good interpersonal skills. Another study also found that empathy among physicians lowers patients’ anxiety and distress and delivers significantly better clinical outcomes.


We live in a modern world where technology advances in every minute. It would be a shame if we did not fully incorporate medical technology in the field of healthcare. If every doctor made it a point to be technology-savvy, it will improve many aspects of the healthcare system in terms of efficiency and quality of treatment. For example, through the use of specific softwares, the World Health Organisation has been able to classify illnesses, their causes and symptoms into a massive database that encompasses more than 14,000 individual codes.

Doctors also should utilise technology to their advantage. Using video calls or Skype to communicate with patients at a different location saves a lot of time and cost. It is also a hassle-free option for patients with a hectic schedule.

Another good use of technology is a recording of important real-time patient data and then sharing it instantly within their updated medical history. This will ensure that other doctors can access it immediately, which can further expedite the process in clinics or hospitals.

Statistics and probability

Mathematics, in general, has been used in many fields including the medical field. In fact, the use of statistics and probability is quite fundamental in medical epidemiology. Both have also been widely used in medical research. Thus a doctor should have a basic knowledge of the subjects, if not master it to have a better understanding of medical literature. A survey of 130 doctors had found that statistic and probability are relevant to their career and improving the undergraduate teaching of them will better prepare medical students for their career.

Researchers also use statistical tests to determine results from experiments, clinical trials of medicine and symptoms of diseases. So, statistic provides generalizations for the public to understand their risks for certain diseases better. So, a doctor with a better understanding of statistic can give a better and reliable explanation to patients regarding risk and benefit of illness or treatment. MIMS

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