Let’s face it, the undergraduate course is a 5-year long commitment; therefore, it requires limitless dedication and energy as you will be endowed with the responsibility of another person’s life. Not only does a sharp intellect define a doctor, but also a sense of empathy and an overview of human psychology.
“I urge you to engrave this on the
template of your memories: there are
thousands of diseases in this world,
but Medical Science only has an empirical
cure for twenty-six of them.
The rest is … guesswork.”
This is the opening line of the much celebrated Erich Segal novel (No! It’s not the Love Story.) This statement could be an inspiration in itself, not only does it convince you to kickstart a bright medical career but also urges you to be motivated enough to convert the guessworks into tangible results.
Here’s a sneak peek into the most desirable traits of a medical student:
Genuine interest and love for the medical profession:
Studying medicine is not child’s play. Years and years of extensive learning and practice go into it.
You need to be well-aware of what you are getting yourself into because backing out and freezing in front of the patients is not an option at all. You will be facing a variety of cases and several patients at once. Hence, you need to prepare yourself accordingly.
Scribbling and digital documentation:
No wonder a doctor’s handwriting has turned out be the world’s most signature joke. Well, there’s a reason behind it.
You need to familiarize with this as it requires completing assignments, making medical reports and jotting down the patient’s history. During your classroom days, you also need to scribble down the much-needed notes.
Communication is key:
Developing listening and speaking skills is imperative for any profession.
Particularly in the field of medicine, this is obligatory because there will be discussions on medical treatments, ethics, code of conduct with other medical colleagues and patients along with explaining the patients and their relatives, the diagnosis and prognosis of their disease in layman’s terms and developing an empathic approach.
Be a team player:
You will probably be grouped in medical/health care teams headed by an expert, you need to understand your responsibility and play your role well by interacting with members of every level, from the ward boy to the head doctor in that multidisciplinary team.
Amidst all that, learn to be a good leader because as you progress and gain experience a lot of aspirants will be looking up to you for guidance. And you do not want to disappoint them.
Keep your observing eye open:
This is the most crucial aspect. Because most doctors have admitted that sometimes they overlook a sign or a symptom that later turns out to be the root cause of the disease.
Therefore, in order to be the best, do pay heed to the small and minor details.
Do not let pressure get the better of you:
There are going to be difficult days ahead of you. A positive mental attitude with just the right amount of tolerance will take you a long way. There is a load of high expectation on your shoulders; you need to deal with the grievances of the patient’s’ family and the disease diagnosed, in addition to the pain of learning the subjects.
Amidst all this stress, you need to come up with the most suitable solution. Train yourself accordingly and design a strategic plan to combat the stress.
They say “Time flies”, grow wings instead:
Manage to manage time, yes, you need to develop a flair for time management. Too many subjects, too less time. Set priorities. Organize your workload. Perfect timing is everything in a doctor’s world.
A doctor’s life is not restricted to the standard nine to five corporate hours, you are required to do night shifts, work at odd hours, stays back in the hospital or medical center or medical camps for an undefined period. You need to be mentally prepared and willing to live the hard life, especially in your early days.
I will not say that you need to be Einstein, but you are expected to have a better intellect than the other kids. It’s pointless to mention but medical subjects are stuffed with the theory that needs to be memorized and matter that needs to be imprinted inside your head.
Critical analysis and synthesis of information through simplification needs to be practiced. Problem solving and deducing correct solutions is part of the package.
This will require a little work but once you conclude on this factor, the operation theater is your stage. Know your strengths and weakness and get an insight into your own psyche before dealing with your patients. This is will help you get a better understanding of their needs.
Having said all that, I hope this article covers all that you were looking for and it helps you to evaluate everything carefully before taking the Hippocratic oath!