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7 Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Doctors



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People become doctors for all sorts of reasons. Whether it’s the appeal of big money, job security, a love of helping others, or a desire to use deductive reasoning skills to solve complex medical problems, there are many types of doctors out there. As a doctor, you’ll be expected to be able to figure out what’s going on in someone’s body. You’ll be the one who gets to determine whether it’s pneumonia or bronchitis, whether the patient needs surgery or just needs time to heal. You’ll be expected to know how much medication to prescribe and how long it will take before they see results. Here are some words of wisdom as you embark on this journey.

Take Your Time in Your Studies

Your studies are important, and it’s ok if you need to take your time. If you feel like you’re not ready or are struggling with the coursework, don’t rush through it just because other students seem to be doing fine. Ask for help if needed. This is especially true when you’re getting ready for tests like studying for the different MCAT sections. You’ll find that some topics you can breeze through, while others you might need to linger on before you move on.

Be Prepared to Not Know Everything

Doctors do not know everything. They know a lot about a certain topic, but don’t let your pride keep you from admitting that you are still human.

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Get input from other doctors if you have puzzling symptoms presenting in a patient. Read through research from other countries as well. You’ll find that mistakes are how we learn and that your lack of knowledge is simply an opportunity to learn something new. Your patients themselves may even present new information to you that you can consider. They can teach you too.

Stay Humble and Willing to Learn

It is important to always be humble and willing to learn. If you are too high on yourself, if you think that your knowledge is greater than anyone else’s, then it will be difficult for you to learn new things and be a better resource for your patients. Be open-minded in your approach. If someone suggests an idea or way of doing things differently than what has been done before, do not dismiss it immediately. Get curious and see how you could incorporate that new thing into your practice.  

Your Patients Know More About Their Bodies Than You Do; Listen to Them

Your patients are experts in their own bodies. They know what’s normal for them and what isn’t. They can be a great source of information about their health that you don’t have access to, but it’s important to listen carefully when they speak up. Don’t rush them or brush off their concerns just because they don’t look too concerning to you. Be willing to run tests even if they are ones outside of the norm, especially if they offer options that others have suggested to them. You work for them, so be on their side when it comes to their health.

Stay Flexible on Your Career Goals

As you embark on your medical career, it’s important to remember that doctors are not all the same. There are many different specialties and subspecialties within medicine, each with its own unique challenges and rewards.

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You may find yourself changing your mind about what type of doctor you want to be several times along the way. This is normal and to be expected. Not everyone will become a world-class surgeon, but all doctors can make a big difference in the lives of others.

Interpersonal Skills and Communication Matter

Interpersonal skills and communication matter. As a doctor, you’ll be working with people at their most vulnerable. You’ll need to be able to listen carefully and communicate effectively with patients, other healthcare professionals, family members, and friends of patients. Each of these requires a different approach. It’s important to focus on your communication skills throughout your education to ensure that you are approaching people with kindness and compassion.

Keep a Therapist on Speed Dial

The medical field is a demanding one, and it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of studying and working. Additionally, you may experience a lot of heartaches depending on the type of medicine you go into. It’s normal for healthcare providers to regularly meet with a therapist to ensure that the trauma they witness is being processed effectively. Therapy is also great for learning more about yourself as an individual, including what makes you happy and how you interact with people around you.

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