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Every doctor has an individual approach to what they consider to be good clinical practice. However, there are a few qualities that are shared amongst most medics, to make them better healthcare professionals. Good doctors try and use these shared qualities to shape and drive their practice in order to reach a minimum standard of care for all patients. 
 
The key characteristics of a good doctor are often described using the “4 Cs” (The BMJ, 2018), which are Compassion, Communication, Competence, and Capability. 
 
Compassion 
 
A caring, empathetic doctor who shows compassion towards their patients will never go unappreciated. It is important to recognise and understand the physical and emotional difficulties that a patient undergoes throughout the entire process of being diagnosed, investigated, and treated for a disease. Often, patients can feel afraid or frustrated which can be overlooked by doctors, but holistic care can go a long way in improving how a patient views their care. Furthermore, a good doctor attempts to extend this compassion towards family members of patients, as well as colleagues who might be struggling with a tough day. Also, remembering to be kind to yourself is just as important! 
 
 
Communication 
 
An essential part of a doctor’s role includes functioning well as part of a team. This involves good communication with other members of staff, patients, and their relatives. Listening, as well as effectively delivering information, enables all team members and the patient to feel informed. This in turn optimises patient care, reduces potential errors, and improves efficiency. 
 
 
Competence 
 
This refers to having a sound knowledge base that allows doctors to provide the appropriate care that their patients require. It is also important, at all stages of a doctor’s career, to understand limitations and ask for advice when needed. Medicine is an ever-evolving field, with research constantly adding to an existing body of information. As physicians, it is crucial to keep up to date with best practice in order to provide the best possible care. 
 
 
Capability 
 
This final and most recently added “c” is regarding a doctor’s ability to adjust to a dynamic work setting. Unfortunately, not all shifts will finish at the scheduled time and some days will be more stressful than others. However, a good doctor is able to be flexible and manage this well, as well as maintaining their own well-being. 
 
 
This article is only a brief summary of what constitutes a good doctor. However, implementing the 4 Cs, as well as following the 4 principles of health care ethics, is an excellent way to ensure you provide the best possible care for your patients! 
 
 
References: 
The BMJ. (2018). The Four C'c of a good Doctor. [online] Available at: https://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/29/four-cc-good-doctor [Accessed 31 Aug. 2018]. 
 
 
Article written by: Smrithi Santosh, final year medical student, Med Success team. 
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