Separating the Good Doctor from the Fakes or Bad Doctors
KevinMD.com writes “The majority of people if asked say that their health is the most valuable asset to them. How much time does the average person spend on researching or shopping for a good doctor?” There are plenty of lists that describe the signs of an incompetent doctor. However, we should also be asking what qualities belong to a competent one?
This might seem odd but empathy is one of the most sought after and important characteristics of a good doctor. If you haven’t had an experience with a bad doctor, then congratulations! You lucked out. At the age of 14, I became very sick one summer. My father took me to see a doctor who told me I simply had the flu and that it would pass. My father sometimes recalls that the doctor acted more worried about me covering my hands when I coughed than about me getting better. See, I was limped over a chair, dizzy and nauseous, and had been throwing up and dealing with diarrhea a couple hours beforehand. I didn’t get any better so we went to a different doctor who discovered I had pneumonia. He took the extra time to do an x-ray and check to see if there wasn’t anything the previous doctor missed, instead of jumping to an easier conclusion to get me out of his office. The second doctor had empathy and he helped conquer my sickness because he was actually concerned with my health, not just his paycheck.
A medical professional’s communication skills are extremely important on two fronts. The first is how they interact with patients and patients’ families. Effectively communicating to someone where they’re at in any kind of treatment and what lies ahead, as well as what precautions a treatment or surgery brings is necessary. The second front on which communication is important is how they interact with hospital staff. This includes doctors, nurses, and even receptionists. If they don’t communicate well with the people they’re working with, how can they be trusted to lead people or collaborate with others when it’s vital? It’s important that they speak directly and clearly when imparting information.
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Prideful and unwavering people don’t make good doctors. As people of science, their job is to follow facts where they lead in order to achieve maximum health for patients. This requires a certain amount of humility – to be attentive and listen to other people and to pay close attention to what new findings may come. There aren’t many red flags bigger than a doctor who believes in themselves but not anybody else. This kind of person is more worried about reputation than one’s life and health. Of course, attentiveness goes back to communication – being a good listener is crucial to being a good communicator as well. A doctor’s level of attentiveness is something one can pick up on just by watching them interact with others. Keep a look out.
Confidence in Expertise
There’s a difference between being cocky and being confident. A doctor is, after all, a licensed expert. They should have confidence in what they know and what they’ve learned. Confidence brings assertiveness – if one really believes in their abilities, they won’t hesitate to act when need be. They won’t be wishy washy or make decisions they don’t truly believe are good for a patient. If a doctor is not confident in their own abilities and knowledge, they will be less focused and motivated because unhealthy hesitance will be involved in important medical decisions. It doesn’t make them a bad person, but it will make them a bad doctor – so I recommend looking out for the timid ones and requesting someone else if someone doesn’t seem to have themselves together.
Ultimately, the way a doctor carries themselves tells a lot about what kind of a doctor they are. Someone can be well read and have the certification to say so. However, if they don’t have the character traits that enable them to do their job correctly, that information becomes useless. Did I miss anything? Feel free to e-mail me and let me know.