“Soft? Not, I.” Vital Skills for Pre-Meds

The Soft Skills Necessary for the Student on the Path of Medicine:

Though getting accepted to (any) medical school is a tremendous feat on its own, and requires an almost stellar resume to trudge over this challenge, with the high amount of applicants applying yearly, only a few are chosen. “Why, is that?” you wonder. What makes the other pool “less achieving” than the other pool? There are a number of personal qualities that pre-medical students should strive to develop if they wish to become superior physicians someday.

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It may also come as a surprise that your perfect score friend did not get accepted to medical school when application season comes around and that another applicant with a lower GPA but better social/people skills did.

This concludes that a medical application is one of the most complex forms to fill-in. Some are lucky to pass through the interviews because of their sleek grades, but that isn’t the entire “nucleus” of things.

These are the major points that a medical application looks at (in no particular order):

  1. Grades
  2. Volunteer experience
  3. Clinical experience
  4. Physician Shadowing
  5. Extracurricular
  6. Leadership experience
  7. Well – rounded
  8.  Social Skills
  9.  & lastly…..”soft skills,” which entails various categories and sub categories of the human intelligence, psychology and personality.

And the point comes to, that….

The development of these soft skills may also make students more competitive medical school applicants when they are evident in interviews and letters of recommendation. So, here I am, as a non-traditional pre-medical student, offering you the 5 main skills every pre-med should hone on their medical journey. Let’s get started!


 

Such soft skills include:
1. The ability to work effectively in a team
Modern medicine requires immense coordination between various healthcare providers. Physicians must collaborate with nurses, social workers, pharmacists, specialists, and others in order to correctly care for their patients in today’s complex medical and social climate. The ability to lead and collaborate with team members is vital for today’s medical interns. Pre-medical students can develop this skill while working in a team setting in their college environment (e.g. group projects and presentations), extracurricular activities (e.g. student government and student interest groups), and other major experiences (e.g. philanthropic organizations and research laboratories) and even having a part-time job, which requires social and cognitive skills. Students should actively strive to lead, but they should also work to see the perspectives of all team members, and then build and create effective solutions to problems.

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2. The ability to communicate via multiple modes of media
Medicine today also requires physicians to engage with their patients and their healthcare team via various communication avenues, like: medical record notes, email, social media, and, most importantly, face-to-face. Pre-medical students should become adept at efficiently and clearly communicating verbally and in writing to prepare them for this essential component of  today’s modern medical practice.

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3. The ability to act with compassion and empathy
Patients in today’s exceedingly complicated healthcare system seek physicians who understand their needs and who genuinely care. This requires physicians to possess a great deal of compassion and empathy. Physicians must be able to view their patients’ perspectives in order to adequately diagnose, treat, and manage illnesses. A physician must be one who encourages the well-being of their patient and be the figure that guides them to a path to a better and disease free life. Pre-medical students should nurture these qualities in themselves as they progress through college and through life.

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4. The ability to accept constructive criticism and feedback
The medical training process involves multiple stages of increasing responsibility. There are several levels to pass and along the way, students must actively seek and implement feedback from their superiors, if they wish to grow to be the best physician. It’s a given that doctors tend to be high-achieving, and so it should come as little surprise that most trainees initially struggle to accept criticisms. Pre-medical students should work to proactively gather feedback on their performance from their professors, bosses, teaching assistants, tutors, mentors and peers while finishing up their college degree. Students should also strive to continuously learn and improve as feedback is provided. This mindset will set pre-medical students on the path to success, as it’s never too late to start learning or improving!

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5. The ability to prioritize tasks and complete them efficiently
One might think that all those years studying that Physicians get a break and take it easy on the job, but the opposite is true. A physician’s job is very demanding. Doctors must balance multiple tasks: seeing patients, completing documentation, following up on test results, developing therapeutic plans, coordinating care among many providers, educating current trainees, engaging in research, participating in community leadership, and honoring personal obligations. In order to complete all of these tasks, physicians must know how to work efficiently and how to prioritize responsibilities. In conclusion, they must be organized and productive of their time. Pre-medical students should develop their time management and organizational skills in order to succeed as medical students and attending physicians.

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So, there you have it, once again I’ve shared the knowledge that I’ve collected throughout the years and sharing it with the world. I hope this post was informative and inspiring to anyone reading. Who knows you could be a wine bottle away from being on the path of medicine! Raise your glasses and cheers!

If you have any questions, leave me a comment below! Don’t forget to share and like!

” The best doctor gives the least medicines. “

— Stacy Annette Gonzalez

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