Undertaking a career as a doctor is not one to be taken lightly. Becoming a doctor requires that you commit a great deal of time and study in order to practice medicine. Once you graduate, the hours can still often be long, the work can be physically and emotionally stressful, and the field is very competitive. On the other hand, a career as a doctor has many positives. Not only will there always be a demand for doctors, overtime doctors are very well paid and enjoy a high status, and there are many areas of specialisation. Perhaps most importantly the work is very rewarding. A career as a doctor also offers one of the widest choices of options of any profession. You can choose to become a GP or a specialist in different diseases and parts of the anatomy.
Some of the qualifications to be a doctor are very clear-cut. Others are a bit more subjective.
In many ways, the most important qualifications for becoming a doctor are those relating to your personality. While by no means exhaustive, to become a doctor you must have most of the following traits:
- A commitment to helping others – Few jobs require neither the daily time commitments nor the commitment to study as required of doctors. The commitment and desire to help others is often a prime motivator for one to wish to become a doctor.
- An interest in science – Doctors study a wide range of sciences. A natural interest in science makes the studies far more enjoyable.
- The ability to work under pressure – Not every day of a doctor’s life is full of stress, but they do occur frequently. You have to be able to handle the stress and to make quick informed decisions.
- The ability to make others feel at ease – For many, visiting a doctor is a stressful experience. You have to be able to communicate clearly and explain patient choices carefully. At the same time, you have to inspire the patient’s trust and confidence. If you inspire trust and confidence, patients are more likely to follow your instructions but may also seek help earlier and provide you with more information.
- Possess Leadership and Management Skills – As a doctor, you have to be able to lead the other health care providers that work with you in an efficient and effective manner.