What skills does a doctor need?

What skills does a doctor need?

It takes many years to train to be a doctor. And a lot of that time involves the procurement of medical knowledge. But there are certain skills that are essential, whether you have the knowledge or not. The skills might seem innate, but most can be learned. So, what kinds of skills does someone need to become an effective and successful doctor?

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Communication skills

The ability to convey complicated information in a simple way is an essential part of being a doctor. But the real key to effective communication is the ability to listen, and properly comprehend what someone is saying.


It may be all in a day’s work for the doctor, but for the person having surgery, or watching a loved one in pain, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime situation. Doctors need empathy, to be able to put themselves in the shoes of every patient and family member they meet.


A good doctor can recognize when something didn’t go to plan, or when their level of care could have been better. The ability to be self-critical, as long as it involves improving and not simply fault-finding, is the sign of an excellent doctor.

Decision making

This is just as important for hospital doctors as it is for general practitioners. Doctors have to make incredibly tough decisions, and they need the skills to do this.


Answers are not always binary in medicine, and sometimes you need to think outside the box. As a doctor, you will be faced with unusual and unique problems every day.

A good doctor will have the ability to solve problems, rather than rely on a textbook answer for every situation.

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Commitment to ongoing learning

A good doctor will brush up on basic training every few years, even in things like the administration of medical training, through courses such as this one:https://www.tidaltraining.co.uk/health-and-social-care-courses/safe-handling-medication-training.

Many of these skills are necessary for those working across the medical sector, from HCAs to nurses. But doctors especially need vital skills like listening and empathy to be the best doctor they can be.

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