Acquiring a formal education in dermatology is an essential first step in your career, but it doesn’t automatically guarantee that you’ll be a successful practitioner. Sure—you know how to diagnose and treat a wide variety of skin conditions and diseases, but that skill loses its value without patients. Without patients seeking your advice as a medical professional, you can’t build a lively practice, grow your experience in a subspecialty of dermatology, or inspire people to take an interest in their health.
Creating happy, healthy patients that respect your opinion as a skin expert and eagerly refer their friends and family to you requires an ability to cultivate interpersonal skills. Many factors influence one’s ability to provide the best care possible. However, in general, a successful dermatologist strives to display these five qualities as often as possible:
1. Strong Communication Skills
First, you need to cultivate strong communication skills. Understanding your patients and addressing their needs is vital to building a lifelong career as a dermatologist.
A dermatologist with strong communication skills will:
- Practice active listening.
- Treat the patient as a partner in creating and implementing a treatment plan.
- Avoid overly technical terms or phrases that may confuse patients.
- Maintain an approachable and easy-to-talk-to relationship with patients.
- Use a warm, conversational tone when addressing patients.
Maintaining a non-judgemental, open relationship with patients encourages them to feel safe and willing to share honest information with you that could impact their treatment plan.
2. Caring Personality
A caring personality makes an enormous impact on patients. Patients often feel anxious or insecure about seeking medical treatment, so finding a dermatologist who sees patients as a whole person (and not just another name on their schedule) is a big deal to most people.
Working in the medical field is rewarding but also highly stressful. Having a healthy self-care routine reduces your stress level and allows you to approach patients with compassion and genuine concern for their health—which is why you entered this field in the first place, right?
A patient that feels valued and genuinely supported by their doctor is more likely to stick to a treatment plan, make follow-up visits, and have a positive experience that they will then share with others.
Doctors are busy. However, doctors who make themselves readily-accessible have much happier patients than those who don’t. The location of your practice and the nature of the work you do will impact how accessible you are to your clients. For example, if you practice cosmetic dermatology in the heart of New York City, it’s going to be extremely difficult to get an appointment with you on relatively short notice.
If this kind of environment works for you, that’s great! If not, you need to determine the values and goals that are most important in your dermatology career and make a move to a more supportive environment that allows you to be more accessible to your patients.
4. Provides Thorough Visits
Some people talk in length, explaining symptoms and concerns. However, for the most part, patients want to share their concerns without merely feeling like a to-do list item their doctor can’t wait to check off his/her list for the day.
Doing your best not to rush patients through their visit goes a long way. A patient doesn’t know what is essential and what isn’t when describing their symptoms—which is why they came to see you. Pay attention to details, even if they don’t impact the diagnosis or treatment plan.
As a dermatologist, you will examine moles, acne spots, wounds, and much more. You need a vast medical knowledge to answer questions, make accurate diagnoses, and formulate treatment plans. However, your time and attentiveness are just as valuable to your patients as your expertise.
5. Genuine Medical Care
Don’t worry—your schooling wasn’t a waste of time! Patients do care that you have a degree and were thoroughly trained to be a dermatologist. They want to know you are an expert on skincare and disease.
Your patients feel most supported if their doctor:
- Advocates for their needs.
- Takes their concerns seriously.
- Informs them of a variety of treatment options and work with them to choose the right one.
As a dermatologist, your medical knowledge is vital. However, providing genuine care and concern for your patients alongside that knowledge makes your work more meaningful.
Whether you are just beginning your career as a dermatologist, or have ample experience in the field, put yourself in your patient’s shoes from time to time. The ability to do so makes all the difference to your patients. You will improve their dermatology experience and your career satisfaction.
If you aren’t able to cultivate these qualities in your current position, take time to think about what that means for your career and happiness as a physician. If the reason is that your current practice doesn’t value the qualities listed above, it might be time to consider a career move.
At myDermRecruiter, we help people just like you find the dermatology practice that best fits their unique needs and values! If you are ready to speak to one of our professional recruiters about making a career move, contact us at 636-239-1787 or ContactUs@myDermRecruiter.Com.