People who want to make a difference in people’s lives and help them get better become doctors. But “becoming a doctor” isn’t something that happens once you get your medical license. It’s something you develop over the course of your training. Those early formative years in medical school shape the rest of your career and determine what kind of doctor you become.
It turns out that the most successful career doctors develop great habits while in medical school. Here’s what they do.
Habit 1: Learn About Learning
As a doctor, you’re bombarded with information on a daily basis. In fact, a large part of your work, especially in the early years, is spent studying in the library and going to lectures. Most doctors never think about their approach to learning and so never optimize their contact hours. But those that do can often cram more into their brains in a shorter period of time.
It’s a good idea, therefore, to think carefully about what kind of learner you are. Are you somebody who needs to bounce ideas off other people? Can you do independent research or do you need the guidance of educators like C3NY? Do you learn best with mind maps? Do lectures bore you to tears? Once you know what kind of learner you are, you can then apply what you’ve learned about yourself to the rest of the learning process.
Habit 2: Build Relationships With Experienced Staff
Becoming a doctor is, of course, about more than just learning and passing exams. It’s also about becoming a more robust person, able to deal with the daily struggles of the hospital or doctors office. Individuals who are going through life-threatening diseases are usually terrified. All those emotions can affect doctors themselves, and so they need a wide circle of support. Medical students need to begin developing relationships with mentors early on in their careers. Choose a variety of people with different backgrounds and get them to help you manage the ups and downs of medical school life. It is difficult: but it’s a heck of a lot easier when you have people around you who understand what you’re going through.
Habit 3: Be Confident And Adventurous
The medical world is full of opportunities for doctors in training. But getting to where you want to go in your career requires developing social skills today. There’s nothing wrong with being adventurous and exploring your opportunities while you’re in medical school. In fact, you should practice these skills as often as you can. You never quite know where they will lead.
Many ambitious medical students take advantage of research projects during the summer break. Ophthalmology and radiology departments regularly offer work for keen students to build experience. Use these opportunities to build your reputation.
Habit 4: Target Your Weaknesses
Being a great doctor requires so many different attributes. You need to be knowledgeable, likable and available to your patients. Few doctors are all three, and so start working today on your weaknesses and be honest about your limitations.