7 survival skills for physicians


In case you have not noticed, the world is changing. As a result, doctors, like everyone else, will need to adapt and learn new skills to thrive. Knowing anatomy, the physiology of respiration and the appropriate dose of antifungal drugs in patients with renal failure will only get you so far. More and more, soft skills are basic for survival.

Here are seven skills that employers value, that you will expect of your employees and that you should practice.

  1. Relationships and communication. We live in world of global networks and constant communication. Despite that, business is done “people-to-people” and that requires honing your communication skills: listening, speaking and writing.
  2. Cultural competence. The world is flat. Life science and health innovation and commercialization are born global endeavors. You will need to be sensitive to local cultural expectations whether it be what you say in e-mail, post on your website or tweet around the world.
  3. Virtual collaboration. The new norm includes telecommuting, working in virtual teams and Skyping around the world. Face time for the sake of it is obsolete and should be reserved for when it truly adds value.
  4. Social media literacy. Are you on LinkedIn , Facebook and Twitter? You can't do marketing without these sites, no matter what profession you are in , let alone healthcare.
  5. Critical thinking. Higher education and medical school was about memorizing facts and regurgitating them on tests. Challenging, questioning, exploring solutions and field-testing ideas were not part of the core curriculum. They are now.
  6. Novel and adaptive thinking. Question existing models. Disruptive thinking will lead us out of the current healthcare conundrum
  7. Applying an entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurs create customer-defined value by deploying innovation. They create solutions for problems experienced by carefully defined customers who are willing to pay for the anodyne to their pain.

Be prepared. Pack these seven survival skills into your physician entrepreneur's backpack. They will come in handy sooner than you think

Arlen D. Meyers, MD, MBA, is professor of otolaryngology, engineering and dentistry at the Univeristy of Colorado Denver. In addition, he is a serial bioentrepreneur and consultant. He is the founding president and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs and director of the program in bioinnovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus at the University of Colorado. He is a Harvard-Macy Fellow, a National Library of Medicine Fellow and a Fulbright Scholar. He was named by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the most influential physician executives of 2011.

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