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Doctors, medical students and desirable personalities

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by stmclovin, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. stmclovin

    stmclovin 2+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2008
    I always hear on SDN about people: "Oh, he has a personality of a rock" or "That person has zero personality and should never become a doctor." So what is the most desirable doctor personalities? How about movies analogies? Dr. Cox or JD?

    While I believe that one does not have to be a chatterbox to be a great doctor. I have seen some applicants at interviews who could not shut up for a second. I also met people who did not say a word unless being asked a direct question. It seems that the patient doctor interaction always often goes along very similar lines in order to give a correct diagnosis. I am not sure how social and interactive does a doctor have to be.
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  3. fireflygirl

    fireflygirl The Ultimate Blindian 7+ Year Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    I personally think you need a little House and a little Dr. Greene (from ER) in you. You need to have the knowledge and be able to take chances but you also have to know how to play nicely when it comes to politics. Finally, you need to have the leadership skills, compassion and good bedside manner to be able to relate to patients like I thought Dr. Greene did. On another note, being foolish and too involved with your patients, and always bending the rules like Dr. Ross (from ER) doesn't help anyone - no matter how HOT you are :laugh:
  4. Colbert

    Colbert 7+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2007
    I had never watched ER until this year and I just got to the point in the show where Dr. Ross gets the boot. It was really a shame, especially after he carried that kid out of the sewer during a thunderstorm while wearing a tux with the helicopter lights shining on him. What a spectacular episode that one was.
  5. AwesomO

    AwesomO 2+ Year Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Social charisma doesn't carry over to patient interactions. Besides most patient interactions are practically scripted. ie "How are you feeling today Mr Jones?" You'll always have something to say to the patient and vice versa. As long as you have the social skills to not respond like an ass you'll be fine.

    All this gobbledy gook schools and the lay public feed you about what it takes to be a doctor is nonsense. All you need is the bare min social skills, an above average IQ, and the ability to not fall apart when working for 30 hours.
  6. endocardium

    endocardium 2+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2007
    I apologize in advance for the possible sexist remark I am about to type below, but I think it is quite germane to the question.

    I recall an old middle school science teacher once telling me:

    "It should be like a lady's skirt: short enough to catch your attention, but long enough to cover the subject."

    What I mean by this is that you have to be receptive and social enough to earn the patient's trust and to get the pertainent aspects of your patient's story, but you should remember that you are doing a medical history and be brief, but also professional and exacting. Your goal is to get the necessary facts so that you can come up with a good differential diagnosis, order the necessary studies, manage the patient's condition, make the necessary referrals, etc. You get the point. It's not a social call, but a professional one. You have a job to do.
  7. MJB

    MJB Senior Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 12, 2005

    Perhaps I'm misreading you, but to me being a chatterbox does not mean someone has a good personality. A-holes can talk a lot too.:D
  8. DrWBD

    DrWBD Formerly 'wanna_be_do' Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    May 2, 1999
    Long Island, NY USA
  9. Punchap

    Punchap Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Common sense, courtesy, acknowledgement, compassion.

    I would agree with the above poster who said "great social skills" cannot make up for academic shortcomings. I would say most people have the ability to demonstrate the above.

    It also kind of reminds me of those people who claim to have "experience with diversity." This is such a lame if three weeks in Peru, or a stint at an underserved clinic is going to make you an expert on all diverse peoples.
  10. It'sElectric

    It'sElectric 10+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2005
    I couldn't agree more with Tired and others who have expressed similar sentiments, but I still wanted to point out that there is at least one major study that showed communication was the #1 determinant as to whether a doctor would be sued or not. Clearly, if you're an idiot doctor, then you're an idiot doctor, and all the sweet talk in the world wouldn't buy your way out of a lawsuit.

    I just wanted to quickly point out that people shouldn't ignore their ability to at least clearly and concisely communicate with their patients.
  11. st. pius v

    st. pius v Member 5+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2005
    I have a classmate whom I think is very pretty but she has ZERO personality. I swear that girl could pass for a wax figure. I dont know how she got into medical school- she got the interviewers all fooled. I'm sure she's smart and all but ZERO social skills = a lot of hurt patients. She looks so sullen and lives in her own realm. I've never met anyone like that since grade school.

  12. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me 7+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2006
    Tally/Willkillya County
    It is a complete balancing act. No matter what you do, there will be a patient somewhere that hates you. The most successful people are the ones that take a legitimate interest in each person, or are good at feigning it. (Not many are as good as they think) You have to have the knowledge and skills to backup everything. While people might like you as a person, they'll avoid you as a doctor if they don't think you are on the talented side. There is the whole generic "3 A's" to being a doctor that one guy told is probably applicable to most things in life. Supposedly it is in this order:

    1.) Availability
    2.) Affability
    3.) Ability

    If you have those attributes in any order, then you're probably going to be fine.
  13. roc

    roc 2+ Year Member

    May 25, 2008
    from my personality: I think I am pretty good at talking it up with patients but i am the type of person that doesnt know how to say "no" at work and always want to lend a helping hand when I see someone fall behind or struggle. I will be that guy, if nurse hasnt gone around to my patient med or start an IV, I will go ahead and help him/her out.

    I dont want physicians to fit into some cookie cutter personalities, otherwise hospital would be a boring place and no one to gossip about with nurses:sleep:
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2008
  14. DrWBD

    DrWBD Formerly 'wanna_be_do' Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    May 2, 1999
    Long Island, NY USA
    She'll probably be the one who discovers the cure for cancer. :laugh:
  15. stmclovin

    stmclovin 2+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2008

    lol. That's exactly my point. It seems that doctor-patient relationship is pretty dry for the most time. It is all standard questions to establish the history and give a diagnosis. It is pretty much like having the same conversation with different people.
  16. Cp22kjer

    Cp22kjer Bottom of the Food Chain 5+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    Great read and thread. I must say I agree with a lot that is said but I think it's critical to have a good bed side manner as it seems the better you are at it the MORE information a patient will give. It just seems that making them feel comfortable allows them to open up more and thus gives the physician more to work with. I've seen this first hand through shadowing, but hey if you don't have that personable side you can always do research or focus on a specialty that has minimal conversation/need for it.
  17. andexterouss

    andexterouss 5+ Year Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    I'm shadowing a very busy family doctor whose patients LOVE him. I mean he has the same patients coming back to see him for over 40 years. The reason was very simple: he has a great sense of humor and very knowledgeable in his field. Due to high volume, he only gets to spend 15 mins with each patient but they leave with smiles on their faces and the best care possible. Most of his patients are old and so it's really helpful to keep them happy and take their minds of their illness, even if it's only for 15mins. Just watching him is really inspiring me to do FP even though my first love is something else......
  18. AwesomO

    AwesomO 2+ Year Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    You have no idea how many times I wanted to say this back in undergrad.
  19. IgE

    IgE Histamine is my homeboy. 2+ Year Member

    May 5, 2006
    My hope would be that they try to identify potential doctors who would actually listen to their patients and try to understand what could be causing symptoms rather than sending them off with free samples of uncalled for medications or worse, antidepressants because someone somewhere along the line must have told them that patients must just be depressed if you can't diagnose them in 5 minutes. How do you screen interviewees for that?
  20. Lamborghini1315

    Lamborghini1315 Sleep deprived 7+ Year Member

    Jun 7, 2006
    If there's one ideal personality or approach to everything, this world will be one boring place! Medical world is no different..doctors come in all shapes, sizes and attitudes hehe

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