Top 5 Characteristics Of An Incredible Doctor
- Dr. Andrew St. Bernard
There was a time I can remember very distinctly as a student. I was sitting at my desk, and the realization hit me that I was going to be a doctor. I remember there was a sense of dread as I contemplated all the responsibilities I would one day have, and how inadequate I felt I was at the time. Of course time would tell that I would go on to complete all the training I needed to prepare me well for such a title, but my impatience and creativity got me thinking, and I wrote down a mind map of what characteristics I personally look for in a doctor. I said to myself, “If these are attributes I would want in a doctor personally, then to be a great doctor, I must be these things for my patients”.
Now, my list was fairly exhaustive and included things like hygiene, bedside manner, and just being very knowledgeable. For the purposes of this blog post however, I would really just like to focus on the top 5. By no means am I saying I am an expert in all of these attributes myself, but at the very least I recognize the value, and I’ve dedicated my life to showing constant improvement.
- Demonstrates Active Listening
Is your doctor able to demonstrate that he/ she is listening by paraphrasing what you’ve said? Does the doctor interrupt you while you’re speaking, or do you feel rushed? This is one of the greatest complaints most patients have with their doctors – They don’t listen! I think we can all do better by hearing our patients out. After all, much of a patients’ diagnosis is found in the history alone.
- Responds Empathetically
Does your doctor show genuine concern for what you are going through? Obviously patients are in our office because they have concerns about their health. What they need from us as providers is to feel like we care.
This is where I believe most professionals in general, drop the ball. When a doctor accepts you as a patient, they are taking responsibility and liability for your health, so it is our duty to follow-up with treatment and the patients’ response. More importantly for the type of corrective care we provide in our office, it critical for patient care that we judge our results on the nervous system scans that we do because it gives us feedback beyond simply how a patient feels. Some of the most devastating diseases like cancer rarely cause pain until the later stages, so why wait until my patient feels bad to follow-up with them?
- Leads Strongly By Example
One of the greatest ways to influence people is living by example. Does your doctor practice what they preach? If not, why? While I certainly understand if there are limitations beyond a doctors control that may prevent them from living the lifestyle they teach, what does it say about a doctor with no real excuse who knows better, but does not follow his/ her own advice? Do as I say and not as I do is not a very good motivator!
- Tells the Truth
It’s no easy task, especially when there is difficult news to share with a patient. However, there are few more powerful positions to take that one based on honesty. This includes when a patient has a question the doctor doesn’t know the answer to. Honesty builds trust, and since trust is so incredibly vital in the doctor patient relationship, this needs to be kept sacred. An incredible doctor never violates his/ her patients trust by making their ego more important.