Ten essential elements of a good doctor: A message to the next generation

A – Attitude – You are not doing any favor to the patients. Human body is the nature’s best creation and only we are privileged to deal with it. Patients do a favor to us by having trust in us. Give your best where ever you are. Attitude trumps attributes.

B – Balance – World is full of temptations that constantly distract us. Strike a balance between too much or too little. Don’t worry if you are not the best but avoid being a failure.

C- Compassion – Doctor without compassion is like a flower without fragrance. When in doubt, put yourself in the patients position and you will always get the right answer. Hugs can do what drugs can’t.

D – Dialogue – Communication skill is not only important for being a successful doctor but also for being a good teacher and a good leader. Dialogue impacts patient more than our degrees.

Documentation – In a litigious society, proper recording and storage of important information is imperative.

E – Ethics – Doctors are treated as Gods. One of the elements of Godliness is being honest to yourself, patients and colleagues. Beware, you are a role model for others around you. Work ethically, wealth and respect will follow.

F – Fitness – Fitness of your own mind and body is essential to your ability to heal others. Be the best to bring out the best from you. Medical profession is like a marathon race, don’t sprint. Eat well. Sleep well. Think well.

G – Garment and Get Up – Our appearance and clothes make a lasting impression on patients. Clean look, neat apron, nice clothes, nice body odor, good footwear are considered as essential elements of a good doctor. Quality matters more than qualifications.

H – Hear more and speak less – Patients appreciate doctors who listen to them patiently. Good listening alone helps in diagnosis of common ailments that avoids unnecessary investigation and medication.

I – Inquisitive – In the era where knowledge is freely accessible, it is a challenge to know more than our patients! It is not only beneficial for our patients but also essential for our self confidence. Having said that, patients are our best teachers.

J – Jovial – Being jovial brightens the otherwise gloomy world of ours. Our friendliness and smile brings hope to the patients and invigorates our team.

Prof Pankaj Chaturvedi

Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai

Published by Chaturvedi Pankaj

Deputy Director, Center for Cancer Epidemiology, Tata Memorial Center, Mumbai. Professor, Department of Head Neck Surgery, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai

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