Skills to Become a Doctor


Anyone who has been sick and in need of a doctor’s care has an idea of what the ideal doctor should be like. Many of the skills doctors need are apparent to their patients, but the National Health Service Corps has identified others that may not be as obvious.

Concern for People

  • Compassion is the foundation that creates concern and respect for people. Combined with knowledge, compassion empowers doctors to communicate effectively with a patient. Where there is compassion, there is an ability to comfort, whic can stimulate a patient to stay engaged with the treatment plan. Compassion and communication enable a doctor to develop a bedside matter that may make a patient more willing to listen to what the doctor has to say.


  • The body of knowledge called medicine has been growing since the dawn of civilization. Advancements in medical research and an increase in knowledge associated with the information age require a lifetime of learning. And learning becomes more meaningful when it can be applied with imagination. A doctor who uses imagination can help find answers when medical symptoms are unusual and tests are inconclusive.

Patience and Humility

  • It can be said that humility is a prerequisite for the virtue of patience. A doctor who is aware of the limitations of medical science and the often slow pace of medical bureaucracy is less likely to be frustrated by them. A doctor’s willingness to wait and awareness of human limitations can help patients appreciate a doctor’s humanity and hard work. Humility and patience are also powerful aides in stress management.

Academic Skills

  • Premed courses facilitate the acquired skills that are necessary for a doctor. The Association of American Medical Colleges gives the following list of prerequisite courses in its Medical School Requirements Progress Report for Applicants: inorganic chemistry; behavioral sciences; biochemistry; biology; zoology; calculus; college English; college mathematics; computer science; genetics humanities; organic chemistry; physics; psychology; and social sciences.

Additional Skills

  • A physician also should be emotionally mature, have excellent written and verbal communications skills and be able to think clearly when under pressure.

    Computer literacy, Internet-search competence and comprehension of basic information science help doctors keep up with changes in medical practice after they complete their medical education and residency training.

    Fluency in more than one language, as well as awareness and respect for cultural diversities, can enhance a doctor's ability to communicate with patients.

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