What makes a doctor not just good but great? Clinical knowledge and skills are important, but “after years of practice I often feel that the science has become incidental to doctoring,” writes Kenny Lin, MD, MPH. All other things being equal, what separates the good from the great is curiosity about others.
A curious physician considers what life is like in the other person’s shoes and seeks to know the details of their patients’ lives that aren’t strictly clinical — their character, culture, past, hopes, etc. Your curiosity turns patients, especially the most “difficult” ones, into people with whom you can empathize and share a common core of humanity, Lin writes.
Don’t let today’s pressures to be more efficient and productive keep you from taking the time to inquire about patients’ stories. It’s an important skill and one that can sustain you in your work.
Read the full FPM article: “What Makes a Doctor Truly Great.”
Sign up to receive FPM's free, weekly e-newsletter, "Quick Tips & Insights," featuring practical, peer-reviewed advice for improving practice, enhancing the patient experience, and developing a rewarding career.