Career Development

What Does a Doctor Do?

Find out what a doctor does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a doctor.

Doctors are the most well-known medical professionals. They’re responsible for diagnosing and treating patients with a wide range of diseases, injuries, conditions, and other health issues.

Doctors may specialize in one or more areas of medicine, such as pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, emergency medicine, surgery, etc. Regardless of their area of expertise, all doctors must complete extensive training before they can practice independently.

Doctor Job Duties

A doctor typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Performing medical tests such as blood tests, urinalysis, electrocardiograms (EKGs), cultures of wound discharge, or other diagnostic tests as needed
  • Conducting physical exams and taking medical histories of patients to determine their general state of health and identify any signs of illness or disease
  • Analyzing test results and providing diagnoses based on patient symptoms, test results, and possible underlying causes of illness
  • Prescribing medications and ordering treatments for patients based on their diagnoses
  • Conducting research to develop new procedures and treatments for illnesses or conditions
  • Maintaining accurate and detailed records on patients’ medical histories, current ailments, and treatment plans
  • Performing surgery or other procedures to diagnose or treat medical conditions
  • Educating patients about their conditions and helping them implement lifestyle changes to improve their health
  • Providing follow-up care to monitor patients’ progress during treatment

Doctor Salary & Outlook

The salary of a doctor can vary depending on a number of factors, including their level of education, years of experience, and the type of specialty they practice.

  • Median Annual Salary: $125,000 ($60.1/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $375,000 ($180.29/hour)

The employment of doctors is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

The large baby-boom population is expected to lead to increased demand for doctor services, particularly for general medical practitioners. However, this demand may be tempered by healthcare reforms that limit physician reimbursement rates and encourage doctors to work more efficiently.

Related: In-Depth Doctor Salary Guide

Doctor Job Requirements

A career as a doctor typically requires the following:

Education: All doctors need to complete a bachelor’s degree before applying to medical school. The most common majors for pre-med students are biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.

Medical school is a four-year program that includes classroom and laboratory learning. Students spend the first two years learning about the human body, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, microbiology, immunology, psychology, medical ethics and other medical topics. The final two years are spent in clinical rotations, where students apply their knowledge in a real-world setting under the supervision of experienced doctors.

Training & Experience: After completing medical school, students must complete a residency program. A residency program is a period of supervised training in a specialty. Residency programs typically last three to seven years. During a residency, a doctor will work under the supervision of a senior physician. They will learn how to diagnose and treat patients, as well as how to manage a medical practice.

After completing a residency, a doctor can apply for a fellowship. A fellowship is a period of supervised training in a specialty. Fellowships typically last two to three years.

Certifications & Licenses: Doctors need a license to practice. To earn licensure, candidates must pass an exam that demonstrates their knowledge of a particular specialty. Passing this exam allows candidates to use the title “Dr.”

There are multiple boards that certify doctors.

Doctor Skills

Doctors need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Doctor communication skills are important for interacting with patients and colleagues. They also use these skills to explain medical procedures and treatment options. Doctors should be able to communicate clearly and concisely to ensure their patients understand them.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. As a doctor, you may need to empathize with patients to help them feel more comfortable and relaxed. For example, if a patient is nervous about a procedure, you can use empathy to calm them down and make them feel more comfortable.

Time management: Time management is another skill that can help doctors be successful in their careers. This is because many of their responsibilities, such as patient appointments, surgeries and other duties, must be completed within a certain time frame. Having good time management skills can help doctors manage their schedules effectively and complete all of their tasks in a timely manner.

Organization: As a doctor, you need to be organized to ensure you complete all of your tasks in a timely manner. This includes keeping track of patient information, maintaining your medical records and keeping track of your supplies. Being organized can help you save time and ensure you don’t overlook any important information.

Technological skills: As a doctor, you may need to use various technological tools and machines to diagnose and treat patients. Having a basic understanding of how these tools work can help you use them more efficiently and effectively. For example, if you’re using an MRI machine, you can explain to patients how the machine works and what they should expect during the procedure. This can help patients feel more comfortable and confident in your care.

Doctor Work Environment

Doctors work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, and public health organizations. They typically work long hours, including evenings and weekends. They also may be on call, which means they are available to see patients 24 hours a day. The work can be physically and emotionally demanding. Doctors must be able to handle stress and deal with the sometimes-difficult emotions that come with the job. They must be able to make quick decisions and be comfortable with the responsibility that comes with caring for people’s lives.

Doctor Trends

Here are three trends influencing how doctors work. Doctors will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of Technology in Healthcare

The use of technology in healthcare is becoming increasingly common, as doctors and patients alike look for ways to improve the patient experience. This trend is leading to an increased demand for doctors who are familiar with technology-based solutions.

As technology becomes more prevalent in healthcare, doctors who are not familiar with its uses will be at a disadvantage. They will not be able to provide the best care possible for their patients, and they may also be passed over for jobs that require expertise in this area.

Patient Engagement Will Be Key

As patients become more engaged in their own care, doctors will need to adapt and develop new skills.

One of the most important changes that will need to happen is an increased focus on communication. Doctors will need to be able to communicate effectively with their patients in order to build trust and ensure that everyone is on the same page. In addition, doctors will need to be able to utilize technology to better connect with their patients.

More Focus on Preventive Care

As preventive care becomes more popular, doctors will need to shift their focus towards providing these services.

This trend is being driven by a number of factors, including the increasing cost of health care and the desire of patients to live healthier lives. As preventive care becomes more popular, doctors who are able to provide these services will be in high demand.

How to Become a Doctor

A Doctor -> A career as a doctor is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling professions. It offers the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, while also providing a good salary and excellent working conditions.

However, becoming a doctor is not an easy task. It requires many years of hard work and dedication, as well as a lot of money. Therefore, it is important to plan your career carefully and start early if you want to become a doctor.

Related: How to Write a Doctor Resume

Advancement Prospects

After completing medical school and a residency, doctors can choose to enter into a fellowship program to receive training in a specific area of medicine. Fellowships typically last two to three years.

After completing a fellowship, doctors can choose to either enter into practice or continue their training by completing a subspecialty fellowship. Subspecialty fellowships provide training in a specific area of medicine, such as cardiology or oncology. These fellowships typically last one to two years.

Doctors who choose to enter into practice can either start their own practice or join an existing practice. Doctors who choose to continue their training can either enter into academic medicine or research. Academic medicine typically involves teaching and conducting research at a medical school. Research typically takes place at a hospital or other medical facility.

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