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Whether you’re planning to pursue a medical degree, there are necessary skills that you need to develop to be a better medical student and future medic. You may have already acquired some of them during your life journey, but you need to know the precise skills you need in your chosen career and how they help.
While there are various disciplines and majors to study in medical school, they all share a standard set of skill requirements that enable you to perform well when entering the industry. Hospitals and health facilities will present you with diverse challenges and circumstances in which these skills will come in handy.
This article discusses the four top skills to develop to pave your career pathway in the medical field:
1. Communication Skills
Pre-medical students often underestimate the number of interactions a medical professional has with patients. But it’s important to expect many interactions with different kinds of patients. Some will be distressed, in pain, or unable to express themselves adequately. You’ll have plenty of situations where you must communicate with colleagues, hospital key people, and patients family members.
As a healthcare professional, you should try to be sociable and know how to communicate to be understood. Remember, you’ll also need to prepare personal statements and essay prompts to help medical schools see reasons to admit you over other applicants. You can research and learn more about secondary essay prompts and why they’re essential.
However, besides oral and written communication skills, you must also develop skills for effective nonverbal communication. Your mannerisms and body language speak on your behalf, and you should be able to pass a positive message using them.
2. Time Management Skills
Time management skills are necessary for any professional and working individual. Being punctual and managing your time well will help you immensely during the pre-med school period. Your application, personal statement, work activities, and secondary essay prompts have a timeline.
However, in medical school, you’ll have early opportunities to hone your time management skill as you face multiple theses, projects, and assignments all at once. Maintaining your Grade Point Average (GPA) is also required to remain in medical school. All these demands will train you to manage your time better.
But as much as your academics are essential, it’s also crucial not to feel burned out during your medical studies. You must make time for every aspect of your academic and personal life. Your time management skills will be tested as you try to balance everything.
Medical students put a lot of time and energy into their studies, but it doesn’t mean you can’t partake in extra-curricular activities and hobbies. With proper planning and the right approach, you can develop time management skills and succeed in life’s demands as a medical student.
The job of a medic and the interactions you’ll have require you to have a remarkable ability to understand and share other people’s feelings. This skill is called empathy. Before entering medical school, you must develop this unique and essential skill. Remember that today the medical field has no shortage of specialists, and patients tend to be quite selective of whom they trust with their conditions.
In your pre-medical career, you need to learn how to practice compassion, active listening, and the ability to relate to others on a personal level. In your interactions with lecturers, doctors, nurses, and fellow students, strive to understand how to practice the skill effectively.
4. Leadership Skills
As a medical professional, you’ll be open to experiencing being a follower and being a leader. While it’s easy to be the former, the latter requires you to be patient and have a teachable spirit. To develop your leadership skills, you must know how to deal with people at different levels. Find the proper technique for delegating tasks, setting goals as a team, and communicating with others.
As a strong leader, you must be approachable, open-minded, and a good listener of suggestions and criticism. In medical school, you will have many instances of working in groups. And you’ll have to organize scientific research, studies, and events where leadership skills are often required. Medical students need leadership skills, but you can develop these skills through experience.
The importance of resilience in medicine cannot be overstated. Developing resilience is a skill that you’ll earn as you go through med school. This pertains to how you respond to different challenges and unprecedented situations. In order to improve one’s initial reaction to a bad or unwanted situation, it is important to develop an adaptive mode of thinking gradually.
Throughout your career as a physician, you will find yourself needing to adapt to unpredictable changes in situations. You need to react positively and proactively in the face of obstacles and challenges. And resilience is the primary key to allowing you to survive these constant changes. Whether you have a weak or strong mental condition, there will be lots of opportunities that will teach you to learn more about being resilient.
6. Collaboration Skills
In order to provide the best possible patient care and treatment, physicians will need to collaborate with a lot of key people in the hospital, clinic, or other work settings. The same goes for you as a med student. You will need collaboration skills during your time in med school and you can apply this even to real-life situations.
In complex medical situations, you must be able to work with different clinicians and different team members. You must have the talent to work with a team, respect others’ views, share your own, and compromise with everyone in order to have the best outcomes. Collaboration with people of diverse backgrounds and understanding the perspective of your team are essential skills. The development of this key skill is recommended early on in the education process for premedical students.
7. Scientific Competence
Aside from earning soft skills, you should also be equipped with hard skills like scientific competence. As you level up in your medical studies, you will be able to become familiar with different clinical procedures by participating in clinical rotations in different medical specialties. Some of the technical skills you’ll learn are Intravenous Therapy (IV) drip placement, reading apparatus and medical devices, insertions, venipuncture, and many more.
By volunteering in hospital settings, like the wards, emergency department, and labs, aspiring physicians will be equipped with so many practical skills and technical skills intended to be performed according to your medical role.
There’s more to medical school than achieving that high GPA. It requires different skill sets that you will utilize in many real-life situations and during medical studies. By deciphering the skills you need to develop in preparation for medical school and your career, you now know what to expect and put more effort into acquiring them. You can cultivate these skills with the right attitude, approach, and strategy.