Doctor Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a doctor. Feel free to use our doctor job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a doctor.
Who is a Doctor?
A medical practice requires detailed knowledge of academic disciplines such as anatomy and physiology, underlying diseases and their treatment, the science of medicine, and the art or craft of medicine. There are many specific areas in the field of medicine that students can study. However, this article is meant to provide an overview in general terms of who a doctor is and what a doctor does. Other sections of the article will explain the responsibilities of a doctor, the basic qualifications for doctors, and the essential skills for doctors. Tips on how to become a doctor and the employers of doctors and doctors’ salary scales will be emphasized.
A doctor is a health professional who practices medicine that is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring health through the study, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments. Doctors may focus their practices on certain disease categories, types of patients, and methods of treatment known as specialties or they may assume responsibility for the provision of continuing and comprehensive medical care to individuals, families, and communities known as a general practice. He or she is experienced and certified to help maintain or restore health and wellbeing. A doctor interacts with patients, diagnoses medical problems, and successfully treats illnesses and impairments. They also counsel patients on their diet, health, and general well-being. Doctors typically operate at the highest level within a healthcare facility. However, if they work in a facility with a head physician, they might report to them for guidance and patient-related questions. If a doctor operates their practice, then they typically report to the state medical board for information about new policies and procedures.
The hours a doctor works depend largely on the specialty, where they work, level of seniority, and other factors. A doctor working in private practice may work predictable 40 to 45 hours per week while a doctor in a hospital might work 24 or even 36 hours in a row making for a 100-hour or so a week. Also to be considered is the doctor’s specialized area of practice. Hospital doctors are generally overworked than doctors working in a clinic or private practice. Clinics, however, tend to have weekend hours while most private practices do not. A doctor is responsible for all sides of the care of a patient. Doctors educate and treat patients to ensure that they have the best possible care. They also have to administer vaccines and other treatments. Some of the job titles that a doctor could grow into are head of research or hospital president. They also need to be able to multitask by working with different patients.
Doctor Job Description
Below are the doctor job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a doctor job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
The duties and responsibilities of a doctor include the following:
- Listen carefully to patients to gather information regarding symptoms.
- Perform diagnosis to determine the root problem.
- Read and interpret laboratory results.
- Prescribe medication and administer treatment.
- Perform and/or order procedures where necessary.
- Provide follow-up care to patients or refer them to other providers as necessary.
- Work closely with doctor assistants, nurses, EMTs, pharmacists, and other health professionals to ensure the best possible care for the patient.
- Stay up-to-date on emerging medical technology and the latest field research.
- Practice compassion, understanding, empathy, and care.
- Assess the patient’s medical history to discover allergies and adverse reactions to medication or treatment.
- Maintain confidentiality and impartiality at all times.
- Collect, record, and maintain sensitive patient information such as examination results, medical history, and reports.
- Perform surgeries where necessary.
- Explain procedures or prescribed treatments to patients.
- Liaise with medical professionals in the community and hospitals.
- Promote health education in conjunction with other health professionals.
- Meet targets set by the government for specified treatments such as child immunization.
- Discuss and evaluate new pharmaceutical products with pharmaceutical representatives.
- Teach at hospitals and medical schools and observe and assess the work of trainee doctors and medical students.
- Evaluate a patient’s symptoms and determine the most appropriate course of treatment to address them.
- Prescribe medications in compliance with state and federal statutes and inform patients of all possible risks, complications, and interference with other medications they may be taking.
- Supervise and evaluate medical assistants to ensure full compliance with regulations and make sure that the current care program is as effective as possible.
- Consult patients on topics including proper nutrition, fitness, and hygiene to assist them to make informed decisions and take good care of their health.
After undergraduate studies, becoming a doctor typically requires several years of school and training depending on the specific medical career path. Hence, the following are the qualifications for doctors;
- Education: Prospective doctors need to be accepted to an accredited medical school which typically requires completing an undergraduate pre-med program and passing the MCAT. That includes taking significant coursework in biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and general science. Medical school is a four-year program. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education accredits medical school programs that grant an M.D degree. Osteopathic medical school programs receive accreditation from the International Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.
- Training and experience: Medical school is followed by a residency training program that typically lasts anywhere from three to seven years depending on specialty. All applicants are required to have some experience before they can practice medicine in a primary care capacity. Students usually receive some supervised practical training in a hospital during medical school; so all qualified and licensed candidates will already have some experience regardless of how limited their professional experience may be.
- Licensing: Doctors need a license from a state medical or osteopathic board to practice. Requirements vary slightly by state and location but it generally similar.
Doctors are required to have more than medical knowledge to succeed in their field. Some of the additional skills include;
Communication skills: Effective communication is a crucial part of an initial diagnosis. A doctor needs to ask the right questions, analyze patients’ answers, clearly communicate to the patient what they think is going on with them, and instruct them on actions to take or avoid during their recovery.
Problem-solving skills: Medical training provides the technical knowledge to become a doctor but the ability to deconstruct problems and implement that knowledge is a highly-tuned skill that comes with experience and working at it. Because medical issues aren’t always instantly obvious, doctors have to employ the creative side of their brain in tandem with their learned knowledge to try to find answers.
Leadership skills: At some point, every doctor is the first person called when it comes to emergencies. Patients and colleagues depend on doctors for instructions, answers, and reassurances. In addition, more experienced doctors are typically paired with new doctors and medical students; so demonstrating leadership will be essential.
Decision-making skills: Patients’ care depends on the decisions made by a doctor; so an aspiring doctor must become accustomed to taking responsibility and making impossible decisions. From determining a low-risk treatment plan to making a life-or-death decision on the spot, a doctor needs to remain calm, confident, and professional under pressure.
Service orientation: A doctor must want to help people. While there are some paths available in this field that does not involve working with patients directly, most research is driven by a desire to help people.
Monitoring skills: Doctors need to be attentive to changes in patients’ conditions and respond to them appropriately. This can include anything from long-term changes in regular patients to short-term changes in patients recovering from a specific procedure or illness.
How to Become a Doctor
Doctors need to have extensive education and on-the-job training. They must be able to diagnose and treat illnesses, talk to patients and caregivers, and collaborate with a variety of other medical professionals. Here are the most common steps to take to become a doctor;
- Earn a bachelor’s degree: The first step to becoming a doctor is by earning a bachelor’s degree in a medical or science-oriented field. Many people focus on pre-medicine, exercise science, biology, microbiology, and other science programs as their undergraduate majors.
- Take the medical college admission test: Next, you should enroll for and take the medical college admission test. This is the standardized examination designed to help medical schools assess your knowledge, personality, and other traits that they use to determine your suitability for admission into medical school. You cannot begin a career as a doctor without passing this test.
- Apply for medical school: After passing the medical college admission test in your country or location, you can apply to several medical schools to begin your medical education. You will receive hands-on training to apply the concepts you learned in the classroom and practice working with a wide range of actual patients. You might work with clinical specialists like pediatricians, psychiatrists, geriatric medicine, surgical, and internal medicine.
- Earn a medical degree: For your degree to be considered valid, you must be accredited by the relevant body in your location for example, in the United States, you must be accredited by the American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic Accreditation or the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
- Complete a residency program: Once doctors graduate from medical school, they need to complete a one-year internship during which they work alongside licensed doctors to complete the required general medical training. Once the internship is complete, graduates must complete a three to five years residency program working in their chosen area of specialization.
- Pass a medical licensing examination
- State medical license: A doctor is legally allowed to practice medicine once he or she earns a medical license. You must graduate from an accredited medical school complete an internship, and pass the state licensure examination.
- Board certification: These are certifications that show a doctor is specially trained in a particular kind of medicine. These doctors become experts in their field by extensively training and passing a national examination.
Where to Work as a Doctor
A doctor can work in any of several medical settings such as private practices and hospitals as well as in teaching or medical research.
- Hospitals: A large portion of doctors approximately half work primarily in hospitals where they practice their specialized segment of medicine including anesthesiology, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, oncology, palliative medicine, pathology, radiology, and urology. Others perform different surgeries such as cosmetic surgery, ear, neck, and throat surgery, neurosurgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthopedic surgery, surgical gynecology, surgical oncology, and thoracic and cardiothoracic surgery. these specializations are not exhaustive and contain many subsets of specialties. For instance, an oncologist or cancer doctor can specialize in a certain type of cancer like lung, pancreatic, or breast or they can choose pediatric or geriatric oncology rather than just an overarching oncology specialization.
- Private or clinical practice: Private practices or clinics also vary in the specializations of their doctors’ practice. The most common clinical specialization is general practice. These doctors possess a wide specialty that involves treating patients of all ages for different illnesses or injuries. When necessary, they also provide referrals for patients to see specialists. This normally happens when the scope of the patient’s ailment is outside of the general practitioner’s area of practice. Some of the common medical practices taking place in clinics or doctor’s offices may include nephrology, pulmonology, ophthalmology, primary care, orthopedics, and critical care amongst others.
Doctor Salary Scale
The salary range of a doctor depends on specialization, training, and geographical location. The estimated total pay is $207,751 per year. This number represents the median which is the midpoint of the ranges from the proprietary total pay estimate model and is based on salaries collected from different locations. The estimated additional pay is $1,773 per year. Additional pay could include a cash bonus, commission tips, and profit-sharing. The most likely range represents values that exist within the 25th and 75th percentile of all pay data available for this role. Some salaries range from $48,000 to $396,000 per year.