Medical doctors (M.D.s) diagnose patient conditions using examinations and tests. Based on their findings, they prescribe treatment and medications to attempt to heal any illnesses or injuries.
Specific responsibilities vary by specialty, but all doctors need to be able to perform the following duties:
- Assess symptoms
- Diagnose conditions
- Prescribe and administer treatment
- Provide follow-up care of patients, refer them to other providers, and interpret their laboratory results
- Collaborate with physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and other health professionals
- Prescribe medication
- Stay current on medical technology and research
In addition to graduation from medical school and licensure, doctors also need specific soft skills to succeed in this occupation. These are abilities with which one is either born or acquired through life experience. Among them are:
- Problem Solving:After evaluating a patient’s symptoms and making a diagnosis, doctors have to choose an appropriate treatment. To do this, they will need critical thinking skills to compare available options.
- Communication Skills:Excellent listening skills allow physicians to understand their patients’ symptoms and concerns. They need superior verbal communication skills to explain diagnoses to patients and their families and convey instructions and information about treatment to nurses and others on staff.
- Service Orientation:A doctor must want to help people. While there are some paths available in this field that do not involve working with patients directly, most research is driven by a desire to help people.
- Monitoring:Doctors need to be attentive to changes in patients’ conditions and respond to them appropriately. This can include anything from long-term changes in regular patients to short-term changes in patients recovering from a specific procedure or illness.