Being A Doctor and An Introvert: Survival Tips

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Life as a doctor can be incredibly rewarding. When you have the chance to make a tangible difference to someone’s life, give them good news, it can make all the years of study, debt, and stress feel 100 percent worth it. It’s those moments when everything goes right that makes doctoring feel worth it… unless you’re an introvert.

Introversion is fairly common; many of us struggle to engage with other people. This doesn’t stem from dislike, but more from nervousness; introverts don’t have the gregarious nature of extroverts. Interacting with other people can be stressful, which is why being an introvert and a doctor can be particularly troubling– you have to talk to people, but struggle as it doesn’t come naturally to you. You can still be a great doctor when you’re an introvert, but it is more difficult to connect with your patients in a meaningful way.

If you’re an introverted doctor, learning to power through the awkwardness and discomfort you feel is vital. Let’s investigate a few strategies you can use to make the process easier.

Confidence In Your Professionalism

Life as a doctor does not mean you have to always be there to hold your patient’s hand; few doctors have the time for this, meaning that interactions can be kept to a minimum. However, this also means you don’t have time to practice those patient/doctor interactions as frequently as you might need.

The next time you speak to a patient, give yourself confidence by being as professional as possible. Professionalism comes from all sorts of different areas; the way you speak, the tone of voice you use, and how you hold your posture. The way you look has an impact too; uniforms and scrubs can help you feel more authoritative. With all the right pieces in place, and with professionalism at the forefront of your mind, you can draw strength from these sources. You know what you’re talking about; you’re the expert; and you look and feel like it. Sometimes, you have to fake it, but that’s okay! Smile, look and feel as professional as possible, and eventually interactions will feel more natural.

Have A Set Goal For Every Conversation

When you’re an introvert, it can be tough to know why you’re engaging in conversation– and you get lost, feeling awkward. To help with this, you should have a set goal in mind every time you talk to a patient.

That goal could be broad — “I need to find out how this patient is doing at the moment” or more specific — “I need to persuade this patient to stop smoking”. Whatever the goal is, you can focus on keeping the conversation heading in a direction that can obtain your goal. This helps to prevent the conversation from devolving into small talk, which is something that introverts tend to struggle with.

End With A Thank You

Many introverts struggle to know how and when to end a conversation. There is a simple remedy for this: say thank you. A basic “well, thank you for your time” signifies to the patient that the conversation is over, and you can move on without having to worry you’ve appeared impolite.

If you can overcome your introversion, you will enjoy your work far more than before. Take your time, build your confidence, and keep your goal for the conversation in mind– and the rest should flow from there.

The Forgotten Part Of Networking


Your network is your net worth.

The assumption is networking is done “externally,” but what if you actually like your job and don’t want to leave, yet desire to expand your network?

Do it internally.

Similar to sales: return customers have a greater value than new customers.

That means co-workers you connect with and strengthen bonds over time can be more instrumental to your career success than grabbing coffee with a new contact on LinkedIn.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m that guy who connects with people locally on LinkedIn and grabs coffee, but those relationships take time to blossom.

Meanwhile your work relationships have the potential to grow much faster because of the frequency and ease of scheduling.

Too often job satisfaction is determined by what happens to you, not what you initiate. Some opportunities are all about timing, but others are about choice.

Once you understand the company culture figure out how you can connect with people at work: grab lunch, go for a walk, chat on Slack, etc.

Most likely there are too many people at your company to talk with consistently, but that only makes the challenge fun.

  • Be the person who asks others how they are doing.
  • Instead of going on break alone take a friend.
  • Make it a goal to grab lunch with someone weekly.

At my company we’re fortunate to have catered lunches twice a week so that leaves three open days for me.

Some days I make phone calls and other times I need to decompress alone, but imagine how fulfilling your day is with a stimulating conversation!

As an introvert/situational extrovert I prefer quality over quantity…

Making networking part of your lifestyle versus a goal starts by doing it consistently.

The trick isn’t to keep “score” on how many people are in your network, but how often you network with others.

Make it a habit and watch your work fulfillment level skyrocket!

Winsight Episode 5: Why You Need a PHD (Permanent Hustle Degree)



School is overrated. Now with a Bachelors and Masters Degree under my belt that sounds hypocritical coming from me, but knowledge doesn’t necessarily translate to real world skills.

You can’t afford to wait for the economy to rebound. It’s not going to happen.

In this episode, I’ll explain the following reasons why you need a PHD (permanent hustle degree):

  • Why there is NO substitution for experience
  • Networking shouldn’t just be a goal, it should be part of your lifestyle
  • How public speaking is just like selling
  • Why you need a side hustle and when you should start one (or many)

What’s your experience with school and how has it shaped you into the person you are today? What idea has been brewing in your head/heart that you need to share with the world? Comment below because we need to know!

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