What Makes a Good Doctor?

One of the primary complaints about conventional doctors is that they are often clinical and uncaring — addressing patients as a series of individual ailments instead of as a complete entity. While a doctor who practices Traditional Chinese Medicine will examine a patient's tongue, pulse, and eyes even when the complaint is knee pain or a stomach ache and an energetic healer will often probe into a client's personal and professional life before proceeding with any hands-on work, many allopathic doctors leave patients feeling probed and poked and ultimately misunderstood.

In an attempt to create a comprehensive idea of what makes a good doctor, the Mayo Clinic interviewed 200 people who had been treated at the clinic between 2001 and 2002. In describing their ideal doctor, seven traits stood out.

Patients want their medical professionals to be:

  • Confident: "The doctor's confidence gives me confidence."
  • Empathetic: "The doctor tries to understand what I am feeling and experiencing, physically and emotionally, and communicates that understanding to me."
  • Humane: "The doctor is caring, compassionate, and kind."
  • Personal: "The doctor is interested in me more than just as a patient, interacts with me, and remembers me as an individual."
  • Forthright: "The doctor tells me what I need to know in plain language and in a forthright manner."
  • Respectful: "The doctor takes my input seriously and works with me."
  • Thorough: "The doctor is conscientious and persistent."

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