The two Essential Soft Skills Needed to Be a Good Doctor, And EDU’s Unique Approach

Founding Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health

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What does it take to be a good doctor?  

According to EDU’s Founding Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health, Hoeft, a 40-year practitioner and medical educator, while a wealth of medical knowledge is important, empathy and communication are also needed to an effective practitioner.

Having Empathy for the Patient 

What is empathy in medicine? Dr Jodi Halpern, Chancellor’s Chair and Professor of Bioethics at UC Berkeley, defines empathy as understanding emotions experienced by the patient. It is imperative for doctors to comprehend that patients are not just a case to solve; they are not defined by their symptoms or health background but are real people. Patients need to feel that their physician understands their health issue and want to help, that they are in good hands and that their doctor is invested in their health. As a doctor, “you need to be able to talk to and communicate with your patients, and you need to love your patients,” says Prof. Dr. Hoeft.  

This involves being a good listener, making eye contact, asking questions about their feelings and concerns, being thoughtful and considerate when giving a diagnosis, especially if it is bad news. Showing empathy is an important way to build trust in patient relationships. Extensive research has shown the benefits of doctors who are emotionally engaged and empathetic, both for patient outcomes and the doctors themselves in their career. This updated outlook has shown leaders in medical education that re-thinking the model in which students were being accepted into medical school, as well as the tools and skills that should be highlighted during their studies.  

Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Hoeft on what it means to be a good doctor

Strong Communication Skills and Teamwork 

Being a strong communicator is the second essential attribute of a good doctor, according to Prof. Dr. Hoeft. Doctors are not running a one person show when practicing medicine, but rather working together in an entire healthcare system. An ecosystem encompassing researchers, nurses, technicians, other physicians and more, to provide the best patient care. This involves collaborating with peers on patient problems, keeping up with the latest medical research, and getting and giving sage professional advice and feedback. “Being a good doctor today is being a good team player,” according to Prof. Dr. Hoeft.  

Research shows that good communication amongst medical staff helps prevent serious errors such as injury, prescribing the wrong medication, treatment delays, misdiagnosis and even unexpected patient death. Therefore, fostering an environment of mutual respect, further establishing how teamwork and collaboration are essential for healthcare professionals.  

EDU’s Unique Approach to Admissions and Medical Curriculum  

While the grades a student achieves in high school are important, EDU focuses on a broader range of factors to determine if a student demonstrates the necessary qualities of a great medical student. These factors include the cognitive disposition as well as soft skills, to be a needed to become a good medical professional. Throughout the admissions process, EDU assesses these via personal video interviews, an aptitude test and a motivation letter.   

Successful applicants then undergo extensive training to build these soft skills during their studies at EDU. The curriculum combines medical factual knowledge with foundational science and clinical medicine, with non-technical skills. Combined, these teach future healthcare professionals how to collaborate and interact in appropriately in inter- and intra-professional settings. They learn about team dynamics, how to precisely exchange information, and to effectively manage their time, in order to prepare them for a successful medical career.    

In EDU’s online learning environment, these skills are built through ample teamwork in small group settings. This helps students learn how to solve medical issues that will arise in their professional lives alongside their peers while working collaboratively to find the best solution. This is achieved, for example, by solving patient cases each week in a problem-based learning approach. In this environment, students apply knowledge they have already gained in their self-study time to real-world clinical scenarios and examples. EDU teaches skills on giving and receiving feedback which helps to nurture a culture where open peer-to-peer feedback is encouraged. Together serving students by best preparing them for a variety of real-life professional situations. 

If you are interested in learning more about EDU’s admissions and learning approach, visit one of our Virtual Open Days. Take this opportunity to meet current students and faculty to have all of your questions answered. Or, if you already feel ready to apply, visit our website and apply now



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