Korean J Med Educ.  2007 Dec;19(4):313-323.

A Preliminary Study for Exploring the Attributes of being a "Good Doctor"

  • 1Department of Medical Education, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. ymleehj@korea.ac.kr


PURPOSE: Our understanding of the characteristics that make a 'good doctor' is continually changing. The aim of this study is to identify the attributes deemed important for being a 'good doctor' and to examine to what extent doctors actually possess them.
A list of characteristics of a good doctor was generated from literature review and from opinions from medical education experts, a focus group of medical students and a pilot survey of patients. An inventory comprising 33 statements was administered to 598 medical students, 145 faculty, 164 primary care physicians and 85 patients.
All participants regarded 'accurate diagnosis and treatment' as the most important attribute for being a 'good doctor' and 'keeping up-to-date' as the second important attribute. Empathy towards patients, continuing professional development (CPD), kind manners towards patients were also regarded as important. There was a discrepancy between perceived importance and competency in the areas of communication skills, health advocacy and social contribution according to the participating groups.
Excellence in clinical ability was identified as the most important attribute of a 'good doctor'. Compassion and CPD were also identified as important characteristics. More sophisticated studies are needed to further explore the attributes of a 'good doctor' for our society.


Good Doctor; Attributes
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