Soft skills are a crucial component to a patient’s consultation with their doctor. We have previously highlighted 5 Important Soft Skills Every Doctor Needs and wanted to dig deeper to emphasise the importance.
Soft Skills Every Doctor Needs – An Overview
The previous Soft Skills we explored were:
- Solid Interpersonal Skills
- Time Management
- Self Confidence
- Constructive Feedback
Here, we would like to further expand into the topics of Interpersonal Skills and Time Management, as well as the importance of having Curiosity and Self-Care for doctors.
With the Future of Health report released this year by CSIRO, the below shifts are discussed in the health system:
1. From treating illnesses to managing health and wellbeing
2. From one-size-fits-all solutions to precision-based health solutions
3. From a reactive system to a more holistic and predictive approach
4. From trying to extend life to improving the quality of life over a lifetime
Solid Interpersonal Skills (Expanded)
Interpersonal skills will include a wide variety of topics such as Listening, Questioning, Usage and Understanding of Body Language and Awareness of Emotional Intelligence.
Adding to that, the importance of Listening, Motivating, Educating and Non-Verbal Communication is also key to understand how it helps to strengthen the relationship with your patients or in other areas of life.
The reason these can be important enough to grasp in the long run is that they can help to offset the negative impacts of some barriers to communication that naturally tend to happen among humans. It can be tough, we know – barriers like language can inevitably happen in a multicultural city, but also a stressful environment, a lack of time, tiredness or a lack of knowledge into certain ailments and treatments.
The importance of good listening skills is beneficial, for doctors but also the nurses and managers.
Being prepared about the patient, greeting them first on their way in, showing interest and involvement into what they are saying and allowing them to speak without interrupting are important in the beginning. So is maintaining appropriate levels of eye contact and confidentiality.
Dynamically providing the information the patients needs and involving them in some of the decision making can help to put them at ease. There are even subtle and non-verbal ways of using mannerisms like patting shoulders and nodding along in conversations to help convince the patient they are being understood.
Motivating and Educating often are helpful and go hand in hand under the umbrella of a doctor’s interpersonal skills. Often times, a change in a patient’s life can become a barrier itself and with the right and simple education and emotional intelligence from the doctor this patient will feel stronger about breaking through this barrier. Not using technical jargon helps and so does empathy and engagement.
Time Management (Expanded)
As one doctor once wrote on GP Online, what constitutes as a high quality consultation and length of time strongly depends on a wide range of communication skills.
One could argue there is a certain Structure to the consultation. Whereby most of the key interpersonal skills we mentioned earlier can be combined with a smart approach to progressing through the consultation, smart and inclusive decision making and in a lot of cases also allow for a safety net (i.e. explaining the red flags or what to do if symptoms worsen to patients).
A key part to building the right rapport with your patient, having the right examination, providing the right information and appropriately going through your consultation in a timely manner is Prioritising. Having the key bits of information and most effective activities in mind and well-prepared will help the right doctor to help their patients. In the long run the benefits of prioritising will positively impact your stress levels and happiness.
This is one of our favourite topics for discussion in the office. It is an area where even the medical recruiters can find common ground with doctors because a great recruiter should also display levels of curiosity.
The benefits of being curious coupled with strong communication skills will ensure you probe the right kind of information when needed, it means you will think outside the box and look for unlikely solutions to problems, it can lead to an increased learning spirit where you learn from your day-to-day activities and find ways to improve.
It helps to nurture relationships as you are always open to finding ways to help. And generally it will help you with critical thinking and having your own views and thoughts.
Walk it like you talk it. Adopting the habits and advice doctors usually give to their patients should be a part of their own rituals.
We previously also mentioned the 5 Benefits of Working as a Rural GP, and one of the benefits is Quality of Life. Australia is lucky to have diverse and largely populated cities across its states and beautiful inland cities and towns worth exploring.
A doctor has the option to work in a large city and also work in rural Australia if they had the right drive. But the Self-Care aspect can be daunting as the working conditions can be tough. Especially for the Emergency-related doctors. But the reward of Self-Care is a fulfilling life that doctors can share with their families and friends.
In the end we hope you choose to do what is right for you and your situation. And our team of Senior Consultants are there to help you navigate.
Schedule a time and find out what the right jobs and career advice are for you.
This week’s Gorilla Update also includes news for our Pharmacy and Medical Imaging divisions. We also have more information and useful tips on our Blogs page.
The latest GP Jobs can be found on our website and by signing up below for our mailing list.