Doctor (hospital): job description

Doctor (hospital): job description

Hospital doctors diagnose and treat medical conditions, disorders, and diseases through the application of specialist medical skills and knowledge.
The job is rewarding and highly respected, but can be stressful and demanding.

What does a hospital doctor do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Specific responsibilities vary greatly depending on the area of specialism. However, generic duties of the job include:

  • undertaking patient consultations and physical examinations
  • organising workloads
  • performing surgical procedures
  • providing general pre- and post-operative care
  • monitoring and administering medication
  • assessing and planning treatment requirements
  • liaising daily with staff including other doctors, non-medical management staff and healthcare professionals
  • writing reports and maintaining records
  • promoting health education

Typical employers of hospital doctors

Doctors are employed by the NHS, private sector hospitals, charitable/voluntary organisations and the armed forces.

Vacancies for hospital doctors are advertised online on the NHS website, in national newspapers and publications such as British Medical Journal.

Qualification and training required

You can only become a doctor with a relevant degree and training.

The first stage of qualification is undergraduate medical education at a medical school attached to a university. Applications to most medical schools are made through UCAS and should be submitted in the autumn of the year before the course starts. The standard length of this stage is five years. However, graduates may be able to take an accelerated four-year course, which requires at least a 2.1 degree, preferably in a scientific subject. A graduate who doesn't match these criteria could take an 'Access to Medicine' course.

The next stage is the two-year foundation programme, entered via a national application process that is largely online.

The final stage is core speciality or run-through training, when doctors specialise in areas such as paediatrics, emergency medicine or neurosurgery. This takes five to seven years depending on the speciality and doctors are awarded a certificate of completion training when they have satisfied the assessment requirements.

Key skills for hospital doctors

  • Ability to work long hours, often under pressure
  • Good practical skills
  • Ability to solve problems
  • Effective decision-making skills
  • Leadership and management skills
  • Communication skills, compassion and a good bedside manner
  • Drive to continue learning throughout career