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3 Lessons you Must Have Learned as a Doctor During the Pandemic

COVID-19 has changed nearly every aspect of society as we know it, and especially doctors in hospitals are at the forefront of those changes.

You have seen firsthand how this current pandemic is changing your roles with patients, shifting what families and communities expect from you, and expediting advances in training and information sharing across the field.

3 Lessons you Must Have Learned as a Doctor During the Pandemic.

1. Emotional support is key

As the pandemic first began to spread and with the absence of clear data and trends, doctors were left without clear guidance on how to advise patients.

Doctors quickly had to take on a much bigger emotional support role during the pandemic.

You often spent more time sitting down with patients and figuring out their options than you did dispensing strict medical advice. No one knew what would happen in the coming months -and you still don’t, yet- and this required medical staff to really become quasi-counselors in the health care setting.

Building a relationship of trust and transparency was more key during this period than ever before.

Lesson for the Future:

Doctors must stay sensitive to patients’ worries, especially in times of ambiguity or medical uncertainty, and seek ways to provide a listening ear and emotional support.

2. The doctor-community information partnership has grown

Throughout this pandemic and the overwhelming uncertainty facing society, doctors also had to step into the gap between government regulations and patients trying to navigate day-to-day life.

In many cases, doctors became a neutral third party amongst an increasingly polarized political and legal discussion.

Having physicians present for school board meetings, and policy discussions provided a means to keep discussions grounded in science and get facts to those making decisions.

People naturally gravitate to those closest to them who they’re familiar with and trust, and doctors became that source of information.

Lesson for the Future:

Doctors should be viewed as stakeholders in the broader discussion about education, grassroots outreach, and information dissemination.

Doctors must likewise stay up-to-date on the broader context in which patients may be asking them questions about health concerns.

Doctors should be viewed as stakeholders in the broader discussion about education, grassroots outreach, and information dissemination.

3. Updated education is critical for the next generation of doctors

Today, continuous learning is an ongoing passion of mine.

What you’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of education in terms of developing the skills needed to be a good doctor.

There are many commonalities in the skill set required to do well on an exam, and the skill set to provide exceptional care and think strategically about society-wide medical solutions.

For instance, there are many sections of the exams where you need very specific analytical skills.

Identifying the key details that lead you towards one response and away from others.

And you’ve seen how this type of analytical thinking has really risen in prominence in practical medicine over the past year as you’ve navigated the constantly changing medical landscape.

There will always be new challenges, disease outbreaks, technological advancements, and labs already working on preparing for it with new production capacities, new vaccine technologies, and more.

You’re also seeing a growing need for predictive analysis and medical data, as well as public advocacy and education surrounding public health and medical best practices.

This is going to be huge amongst your academic institutions.

The next few years are crucial for preparing yourselves, your institutions, and the next generation of doctors and medical staff.

You can’t get complacent, which means you need to invest in ongoing education for aspiring and existing physicians.

You’re still waiting for evidence, data, and outreach, because the pandemic is still ongoing, but it will be absolutely fundamental that you prepare yourselves for the future.

Lesson for the Future:

In terms of general medical trends, doctors, hospitals, and educational institutions will need to do a full debrief about the past year and really break down the science and research about what happened, what should have happened, and what could have happened.

And you’ll need to re-invest in your education to make sure that you’re ready for whatever comes next.


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