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Intern-Ready: 3 Must-Have Skills For Medical Students

By   /  September 21, 2021  /  Comments Off on Intern-Ready: 3 Must-Have Skills For Medical Students

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When you applied for medical school, you know that before graduating as a medical doctor, you have to pass through various stages of internship. There’s no denying that one of the most effective and worthwhile means for medical students to gain experience is by being an intern. This is when they’re exposed to real-life medical experiences and scenarios in the hospital, healthcare centers, communities, and other health institutions.

Before a medical student can be considered intern-ready, they must first possess some of the necessary skills, on top of the medical knowledge they have. These include:

1. Management And Leadership

In a complex structure like the hospital, doctors are expected to have good managerial skills. While they aren’t handling a business, they’re still leading a team of other healthcare workers in the hospital unit for a successful health campaign and treatment. As an intern, a medical student will also be a part of a team headed by the doctor specializing in certain fields. Interns need to have good management skills so they can learn from the model set by the lead physician in the team.

Without good management skills, teams can’t be led successfully. Not only is communication hampered, but also the division and delegation of tasks. When these fail, it’d be an unfortunate situation in the hospital as it may affect the quality of care given to the patient.

With that said, here are tips and tricks you can do to keep your management skills in healthcare effective:

  • Strengthen your decision-making skills based on your knowledge and expertise in medicine, especially when it comes to decisions pertaining to the care and treatment plan of patients.
  • Build trust as you can never be effective if your team doesn’t trust you enough to be able to make sound decisions.
  • Establish regular check-ins, which means that even when you’ve already delegated some tasks to other healthcare workers in the team, you still make it a point to check in regularly so you’re sure that those healthcare workers are doing the job they have to do.

2. Good Communication

Good communication is important in the healthcare industry to avoid mistakes brought about by misunderstanding. It follows, therefore, that medical interns should also have good communication skills. There’s no better time than in the internship for medical students to show and enhance the way they express their thoughts and intentions.

Good communication isn’t just about the doctor, intern, or any other health professional doing all the talking. It needs to be two-way to be certain that there are no questions and gray areas with patient care. This means patients should also be presented with the opportunity to talk, with the interns lending an active listening ear to get to the bottom of the medical concern.

These are some of the most pressing reasons why good communication skills are significant for medical interns:

  • It fosters better understanding and ease of working with cultural distinctions and other differences in the hospital;
  • It increases the doctor’s ability to successfully interact with a difficult patient;
  • It fosters and initiates a growing and trusting relationship with patients.

3. Empathy

Medical interns need to have a high level of empathy for their patients, as is expected from doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. Remember that you should go beyond just going through the patient’s history, symptoms, and medical condition. You need to be able to put yourself in the patient’s shoes and understand how their physical medical condition is affecting their life as a whole.

When you show empathy, you’re more effective as a doctor because you can show more care and understanding towards them. In fact, when you have patients and family members who are difficult to deal with, instead of retaliating, you may be better able to understand where they’re coming from.

Along that line, these are some of the best things you can do to improve your empathy:

  • Always make eye contact with your patients to establish a good connection;
  • Be aware of your body language such that you’re showing confidence;
  • Record any details that humanize your patient, so you have a good understanding of where your patient is coming from.


Apart from honing and putting into practice the medical knowledge you’ve gained through your classroom setting, the internship is a good opportunity for medical interns to learn a lot of other skills that’ll eventually come in handy when they become doctors themselves. The internship is the culmination of many years of study, and with the practical experience it comes along with, interns have a taste of hospital life and practice. The skills above are only some of the things you can learn and develop to be hospital-ready.

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