Medicine

Skills for medicine

In terms of the personality types, Supporter and Analyst are in whilst the Creative and Influencer are not conducive. The Supporter provides 'the good bedside manner' reaction we refer to when we are complimenting the good inter-personal skills of our GP.

However, many doctors will demonstrate the Analyst personality profile as their dominant trait and Supporter will be secondary. This is simply because the academic standard is so high within scientific subjects. Competition is fierce and only those who achieve high grades in science are selected for entry into medical schools. If this means that many doctors are lacking in great empathetic people skills, this is not a shortcoming on their part because they may be more of a scientist than a Supporter. But this can be an advantage. Imagine if you are about to undergo a serious operation and you can choose one of two surgeons. One is very sympathetic and explains the procedure in detail. This is their fourth operation. Your other choice is a leading professor with a world-renowned reputation in their field of medicine, but who tends to be abrupt, rude at times, arrogant and seems to treat the needs of patients as interruptions. I think most of us would swallow our pride and go for the rude option.

The fact that the profession is held in high esteem must create a caveat when students are choosing it as a career option. The societal recognition factor will fade when, as in any job, they are heavily into the routine humdrum and have just had a particularly hard run of ungrateful patients and have also to cope with an additional challenge of politics which is endemic within the NHS.
Medicine is becoming increasingly science driven. Diagnostics is becoming less the skill of the doctor and more the result of the lab test. This must be a good thing for the profession which is less reliant on a doctor having an elephantine memory.

IT plays a central role in patient management and drug prescriptions and when making a career choice you must be aware that, similar to teaching, much of your work will involve tedious administration.

Research

Research plays a very important role in the medical profession and some doctors will take time out to do a PhD as an adjunct to their career. Research is a foundation component for a large pharmaceutical organization's commercial success and is also funded by academic institutions either on a joint or stand-alone basis. In reality there are not many career choices outside the medical profession since the nature of study is so applied.

So think carefully about your choice of medicine as a career and make sure you gain as much experience as possible working in hospitals where you will be confronted with the less glamorous aspects of the profession first hand. When I hear parents say their son or daughter has always wanted to be a doctor from the age of 12, I wonder what the choice was based on, given the child's lack of any understanding at such an age of a doctor's duties and responsibilities. With this type of response I often discover that medicine is a parental choice for their son or daughter. But unfortunately they do not have to cope with the inevitable stresses and demands of a profession, which plays a critical role between life, well-being and death.

The period to qualification is long and onerous. To achieve the consultancy status requires ongoing, intensive study. You will need to be very focused, motivated and ambitious.
You may decide to study for medicine as a mature student when you better understand the commitment and work required.

Make up your own mind. It is you who will cope daily with the rewards, the challenges and the disappointments. If it is the wrong choice you will feel imprisoned and develop a negative attitude. If it is the right choice few careers can match the exhilaration of being instrumental in saving another person's life.

Its workplace

Medicine is a profession which carries a high status ranking in most societies. This status is based on the known academic rigour, which is necessary for qualification and the fact that it is relational to all. At some time in the past or future we have or will all require medical advice.

The profession is currently going through significant changes in the UK whereby general practitioners are being given more responsibilities in terms of extending their services. A General Practitioner's surgery will be seen as more of a destination where more services can be conducted on site, which would have been the remit of hospitals or specialist clinics.

These expanded units require greater management and commercial skills and though they can recruit these skills separately, inevitably doctors themselves will have to become business savvy as group practices more and more mirror image the profile of a commercial business, where performance targets and budgeting will be the order of the day.

Medicine is one of the few job choices that can offer a structured career path in today's volatile career market and the further benefit is that you do not have to choose your specialism until after you qualify. You will then have the opportunity to work in a hospital as a consultant or surgeon or you have the option to choose the General Practitioner (GP) route.

The National Health Service (NHS) is one of the largest employers in the world but doctors do have the option to set up their own practice and attend only private patients or they may combine the two activities.

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