A doctor is a professional who practices medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments.
Doctors may focus their practice on certain disease categories, types of patients, or methods of treatment known as specialist medical practitioners or assume responsibility for the provision of continuing and comprehensive medical care to individuals, families, and communities known as general practitioners.
Medical practice properly requires both a detailed knowledge of the academic disciplines (such as anatomy and physiology) underlying diseases and their treatment—the science of medicine—and also a decent competence in its applied practice—the art or craft of medicine.
Also known as: Physician, Medical officer
Doctors typically do the following:
1. Take a patient’s medical history
2. Update charts and patient information to show current findings and treatments
3. Order tests for nurses or other healthcare staff to perform
4. Review test results to identify any abnormal findings
5. Recommend and design a plan of treatment
6. Address concerns or answer questions that patients have about their health and well-being
7. Help patients take care of their health by discussing topics such as proper nutrition and hygiene.
Communication skills. Physicians need to be excellent communicators. They must be able to communicate effectively with their patients and other healthcare support staff.
Compassion. Physicians deal with patients who are sick or injured and may be in extreme pain or distress. Physicians and surgeons must be able to treat patients and their families with compassion and understanding.
Detail oriented. Physicians must ensure that patients are receiving appropriate treatment and medications. They must also monitor and record various pieces of information related to patient care.
Dexterity. Physicians must be good at working with their hands. They work with very precise and sometimes sharp tools, and mistakes can have serious consequences.
Leadership skills. Physicians who work in their own practice need to be effective leaders. They must be able to manage a staff of other professionals to run their practice.
Organizational skills. Some physicians own their own practice. Strong organizational skills, including good recordkeeping, are critical in both medical and business settings.
Patience. Physicians may work for long periods with patients who need special attention. Children and adult patients who fear medical treatment may require more patience.
Physical stamina. Physicians should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as lifting or turning disabled patients. Surgeons may spend a great deal of time bending over patients during surgery.
Problem-solving skills. Physicians need to evaluate patients’ symptoms and administer the appropriate treatments. They often need to do this quickly in order to save a patient’s life.
Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods
The following specialists are some of the most common examples:
1. Allergists (specialists in diagnosing and treating hay fever and other allergies)
2. Cardiologists (heart specialists)
3. Dermatologists (skin specialists)
4. Gastroenterologists (digestive system specialists)
5. Ophthalmologists (eye specialists)
6. Pathologists (specialists who study body tissue to see if it is normal or abnormal)
7. Radiologists (specialists who review and interpret x-ray pictures and deliver radiation treatments for cancer and other illnesses)