When Samantha Plasner, DO, was a teenager, her first job was as a waitress in a busy restaurant where she had to juggle a variety of tasks and a variety of people. From that experience, she gained three practical skills that she says have become integral to her effectiveness as a physician.
1. Relational skills. “Above all, I learned how to read people — how to assess body language, tone, and other nonverbal cues to pick up on what the guest was trying to tell me. I became adept at making angry people calmer and soothing an unhappy customer. I learned to see things from others' points of view,” she writes. “And I realized some things can be fixed just by showing that you care.”
2. Time management skills. “Where I used to think about getting the drinks to table two then checking to see if table five's meal came out OK, now I was thinking about seeing the person with the sore throat in room two while the medical assistant prepped the patient for me in room five,” she says.
3. Communication skills. “I also found I could make small talk easily with patients, which made them feel more comfortable, which in turn made the office visits easier,” says Plasner, crediting her years of “talking with people from all walks of life who simply sat down at a table in my section to get a meal.”
Read the full FPM article: “Three Essential Skills for a Doctor That I Learned From an After-School Job as a Youth.”
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