What Does it Take to Be a Doctor?


Physicians are incredibly skilled professionals who have an incredible amount of medical knowledge. They also work in a very sensitive and vulnerable position with patients and must be able to deliver difficult-to-hear information. The combination of these skills makes Doctors a very unique and valuable occupation.

It takes more than passing the MCAT and getting through med school to be a great Doctor. A great Doctor has a certain passion for the profession and is willing to sacrifice parts of their personal life to make it happen. It’s that passion that drives doctors to study through the night, skip their social lives and work on weekends to ensure they’re ready to tackle any medical issue in front of them.

In addition to their medical knowledge and ability, great Doctors have compassion, resilience and strong leadership skills. Doctors often work in teams with a range of other health care professionals, and their guidance is critical to patient outcomes. The best Doctors can communicate clearly and effectively with their colleagues, ensuring that all necessary information is relayed in the right way.

Detailed Patient Examination and Diagnosis

Doctors are responsible for thoroughly examining their patients to identify any underlying issues. This involves asking relevant questions, taking a full medical history and conducting physical examinations. This process helps to determine the cause of a patient’s symptoms and may involve diagnostic testing such as blood tests, X-rays or MRI scans. Doctors then explain the diagnosis to their patients, explaining the potential risks and benefits of each treatment option.

It’s not uncommon for Doctors to have to give bad news to their patients, especially if the treatment isn’t successful or if it will be a long-term condition with no cure. Great Doctors are able to relate this information in a clear, concise and non-patronising manner, building trust with their patients. They are empathetic and compassionate, yet can remain unbiased when discussing the medical information with their patients.

Developing Treatment Plans

Depending on their patient’s diagnosis, Doctors are responsible for creating and implementing treatment plans. This can include prescribing medication, recommending lifestyle changes, advising on surgery or referring patients to specialists. Doctors then monitor their patient’s progress and making adjustments to the treatment plan as required.

Administration and Management

Along with their clinical responsibilities, Doctors are often involved in administrative tasks such as managing hospital staff, overseeing budgets and resources, and ensuring that healthcare regulations are adhered to. Doctors who demonstrate exceptional management skills may be able to move into supervisory roles, such as a Chief of Surgery or an Attending Physician.

It’s important to understand that not all Doctors display each of these qualities to a high standard at all times. However, the majority of Doctors possess at least some of these traits and they are all essential for the job. If you’re thinking about becoming a Doctor, it’s worth considering which of these skills you can improve or work on before applying to med school.