How to Get a Job as a Physician
Your ability to land a spot in a quality medical school partially depends on earning exemplary grades. Still, Cutler says you could be the smartest pupil in the class and still become an abysmal doctor. To him, the doctors that truly go far are good listeners. “You have to be willing to take the time to listen to patients with a sympathetic ear,” he says. “Working in primary care, many of the symptoms and concerns that patients describe to you have an emotional overlay ... You have to hear all the patient has to say and be willing to connect with them.”
Similar to other healthcare practitioners, a good doctor should have plenty of empathy and patience. Good problem-solving skills are also valued: “That doesn’t mean you need to have the right answers and find the right diagnoses,” Cutler says. “Get help to determine the right thing to do, the right diagnoses, and treatment.”
What is the Job Like?
Making a generic statement about the day-to-day responsibilities of a physician is impossible, because there is a vast spectrum of specialities, work environments, and patients. Some might find themselves sitting during most of the workday, while others might be on their feet for irregular periods. One doctor might face a low-stress day of advising those in good health, while another might treat terminally ill patients. Work environments also vary. A pediatrician working in a private practice has a little more independence and control of his or her schedule than an obstetrician who is regularly on call to deliver babies. And a psychiatrist stationed in a hospital might face a different work schedule (and environment) than an anesthesiologist within the same hospital.