Dr. Iris Li (www.lgpediatrics.com) answers the two most common questions from students interested in a career in medicine: “Why did you decide to become a medical doctor?” and “What is the daily life of a doctor like?”.
Dr. Li answers that there are several core qualities that are essential to being a good doctor. The first is a passion for science and the second is a love for continuous learning.
A physician treats the patients based on data and science, but Dr. Li quickly adds that there is an “art” element to practicing medicine, and that no patients are identical, even if their presenting complaints are the same. She gives an example of four children, each presenting with leg pain. They all have different diagnoses and need different treatments.
Dr. Li goes on to state that a medical doctor needs to feel comfortable interacting with people, listening to their most intimate concerns and keeping them private. She assures that the skill to connect with people can be learned and definitely improves over time. Finally, the last essential quality to being a good doctor is “accountability”. In other professions, one may turn off the phone and “hang up the hat” outside of the office. A doctor can not do that; a doctor is on-call overnights, during holidays and weekends, and when dealing with a complex disease a doctor does not stop when the patient leaves the clinic, he/she does additional reading, consultations with experts, calls to the insurance companies or other providers to provide the best care to the patient.