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soft skills working in Australia
Top skills for GPs that you may not have learned at medical school

Even the most gifted GPs in Australia set themselves up for failure if they can’t complement their talents with a suite of soft skills.

Soft skills are skills that anyone can acquire – but not everyone possesses.

They are absolutely critical for GPs because they help promote and strengthen the bond between doctor and patient.

They also assist with collaboration within the healthcare system.

This all leads to better healthcare outcomes.

What are the soft skills you need in Australian healthcare and how do you get them?


The ability to empathise with and show compassion for patients is arguably a GP’s most important soft skill.

GPs need to show they understand the concerns of their patients, be sensitive to their emotions and provide support during challenging times.

Doctors who are unable to convey empathy or show compassion struggle to retain patients.


Probably as important as empathy is communication.

Firstly, GPs need to be great listeners.

That includes asking the right questions of their patients when all may not be forthcoming.

Secondly, they need to communicate their response clearly and succinctly so their patient understands the recommended course of action.

Patient-centred care

GPs should prioritise patient-centred care which gives the patient a say in the decision-making for the benefit of their health.

It considers the patient’s own needs and takes into account their personal preferences, beliefs and values.

Cultural sensitivity 

Australia is a diverse country of many and varied cultures.

It is therefore necessary to respect and be sensitive to the beliefs of people from all of these backgrounds.

This includes effective communication with people who may not have English as their first language.

It includes appreciating when a particular type of treatment may not be possible because of someone’s religion. 

Ethical decision-making

The doctor-patient relationship is sacrosanct.

GPs must at all times respect those boundaries regarding patient autonomy and confidentiality.

Upholding those ethical standards and making sound healthcare decisions in the best interests of their patient is crucial.

Patient education

So much healthcare these days is geared towards preventative medicine.

A big part of that is education.

GPs play a massive role in educating their patients in terms of healthy lifestyles, risk factors and symptoms that may present as indicated by their family history.

Education also includes the management of diagnosed chronic conditions and recommendations among available courses of action when new conditions present. 


GPs are just one cog in a wider healthcare system.

That system includes nurses, specialists and allied healthcare professionals.

GPs must be able to communicate effectively with all healthcare professionals, sharing information in a friendly and efficient manner to achieve the best possible results for their patients.

Time management

Gone are the days when it is acceptable for a doctor’s schedule to drag dreadfully late.

A GP clinic is a business and businesses need to run on time to maximise their efficiency.

Hence doctors need to manage their time, allowing for the completion of administrative tasks as well as any emergencies.

Prioritising jobs at the start of the day and delegating minor tasks to assistants within the practice ensures a smooth workflow.


Healthcare is an ever-evolving space.

GPs need to be able to adapt to changes within the medical practice.

That includes both embracing new healthcare policies and new technologies.

It is imperative to be open to change and to continuously update your skillsets.

Continuous learning

A big part of adaptability is the desire to continue learning.

GPs should have a commitment to their ongoing professional development.

Keeping abreast of new techniques, treatments and changes in healthcare policy is essential.

Problem-solving skills

As the first port of call for most patients, GPs often encounter unseen or complex medical cases.

An open mind and strong problem-solving skills are essential for diagnosing and developing effective treatment plans as well as considering individual patient needs.


Nobody said being a GP was easy.

It requires great resilience to cope with the stresses of the job which often include challenging cases and dealing with patients’ emotions.

GPs who are able to ‘switch off’ or compartmentalise usually have the best results in this area.

Developing healthy coping mechanisms to maintain their wellbeing is necessary for longevity in the profession.


GPs are viewed as leaders in their community.

But to lead within their own communities – their clinics – GPs need to develop their leadership skills.

These skills become important in terms of coordinating care, motivating staff and contributing to the overall success of their practice.

Part of leadership is conflict resolution which may arise between staff, patients or other healthcare professionals.

The ability to address and resolve conflict diplomatically is crucial for maintaining a positive workplace culture.

It is also an important part of being a leader.

Contact Health Recruitment Australaia today

Certifications are great.

But soft skills are every bit as important to thrive as a GP working in Australia. 

How do you get these soft skills? By working hard on bettering yourself.

They come naturally to some but are within the reach of all. 

If working down under is something that appeals to you but you’re not sure where to start, you should talk with a recruitment agency that specialises in matching doctors of all ages with the right clinics in Australia.

That’s precisely the role that Health Recruitment Australia plays!

HRA can advise you about what it takes to move down under and work in Australia.

We’ll even do the heavy lifting for you, finding you the right city, area and practice to work in, as well as help with all that annoying paperwork.

There’s a significant GP shortage in Australia right now and it has opened up multiple opportunities for doctors interested in making the move.

Why not start with an informal, no-obligation discussion with the experienced team at Health Recruitment Australia? Contact us.

Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!


Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!