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The personality traits of the ideal doctor

Many people dream of being a doctor. Go to any elementary school, and you’re bound to find a couple of aspiring physicians. The profession has a great range of appeal to many people. Some want to do it because of some altruistic sense of duty to their fellow man. Others do it because of an insatiable thirst for knowledge and understanding of the human body. And of course, many are also drawn by the many perks that come with the job: good pay, job security and a certain prestige that comes having someone else’s life depend on you. But, as we all know, medicine is no walk in the park, and not everyone is cut out for the job. So what are the traits that all successful doctors have in common then? What makes for an ideal doctor?

A study, which appeared in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, tries to answer just that. Researchers interviewed nearly 200 patients of Mayo Clinic and asked them to describe their best and worst experiences with a physician in the Mayo Clinic system and to give specifics of the encounter. After analyzing these 20 to 50 minute interviews, the researchers were able to pinpoint 7 key traits shared by good doctors. According to patients, the ideal doctor is confident, empathetic, humane, personal, forthright, respectful, and thorough.

  • Confident: “The doctor’s confidence gives me confidence.”
  • Empathetic: “The doctor tries to understand what I am feeling and experiencing, physically and emotionally, and communicates that understanding to me.”
  • Humane: “The doctor is caring, compassionate, and kind.”
  • Personal: “The doctor is interested in me more than just as a patient, interacts with me, and remembers me as an individual.”
  • Forthright: “The doctor tells me what I need to know in plain language and in a forthright manner.”
  • Respectful: “The doctor takes my input seriously and works with me.”
  • Thorough: “The doctor is conscientious and persistent.”

However, each doctor was once an aspiring med student. And had to work hard and study harder to make it where they are today. They all had to take pre-med and the MCAT and survive through the grueling years of medical school and residency to make it where they are today.



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  1. Joe Deep
    added on 4 Feb, 2016

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