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Characteristics of the Successful Healthcare Professional

Will You Make a Good Healthcare Professional?

"Good [healthcare professionals] are good communicators. They are able to truly listen to their patients, empathize, and provide information about diagnosis and treatment in a way their patients will understand. Good [healthcare professionals] are altruistic (that is, they are always ready to put their patients' needs first). Good [healthcare professionals] also have a strong sense of service, of wanting to help people feel better, making health care work better, and, in many cases, giving back to their communities. Above all, good [healthcare professionals] are motivated by a strong sense of professionalism - they have integrity and honor and are committed to upholding medicine's timeless values".

Will You Be a Good Applicant?

Schools seek well-rounded applicants who are passionate about a career in healthcare. Volunteer and health related experiences, enrichment program participation, and/or research involvement are important, but not as important as what you learn from these experiences. Here are some other skills and qualities that schools look for:

  • Schools are interested in applicants who demonstrate leadership through volunteer work, school activities, and employment.

  • Understanding of a healthcare career. Your experiences should indicate that you understand what a career in healthcare involves, and could include volunteering at a hospital, clinic, or nursing home or working as a research assistant. While you should have a variety of experiences, they shouldn't appear to have been selected in a random or arbitrary manner.

  • Ability to balance school and other activities. Most important, don't overextend yourself and thereby compromise your academic performance. Candidates are selected on the basis of the candidate's complete profile (undergraduate and/or graduate record, entrance exam scores, personal characteristics, letters of recommendation, and experiences).

Outlining the Characteristics

Shaping the Learning Experience

Taking an active role in learning and knowledge acquisition

Self-Management & Coping Skills

Possessing the ability to balance the demands of medical school with other aspects of life by prioritizing, setting limits, adapting to diverse environments, and appropriately requesting feedback and assistance from professors or other students

Interpersonal Skills and Professionalism

Interacting with colleagues, professors and others in health care setting in a mature, respectful, and professional manner

Interacting wit​h Patients and Family

Displaying empathic and communication oriented behaviors when interacting with patients and their family members

Fostering a Team Environment

Working in a team environment and helping others; engaging in behaviors that benefit the team

Technical Knowledge and Skill

Demonstrating an understanding of medical knowledge and skills appropriate to medical students; knowing when to request assistance or supervision for performing technical procedures

Extra Effort & Motivation

Displaying actions that entail being motivated and conscientious; exhibiting leadership

Ethical Behavior

Displaying honesty, integrity, and personal responsibility; adhering to formal and informal medical ethical codes and norms; responding to the unethical behavior of others.


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