What is the social competency for doctors?

Duck-Sun Ahn

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Practicing medicine is a social activity. Because doctor-patient interaction requires respect, leadership, and interpersonal skills that extend beyond medical diagnosis and treatment, medical education must incorporate non-clinical competencies. While qualities such as lifelong learning skills, resource management, teamwork skills, and active involvement in leadership and bettering the healthcare system have received little attention in medical academia, these competencies have proven vital for a physician in contemporary society. These non-clinical competencies are, in fact, the traits or components of social competency. Social competency has been an area of interest, particularly with regard to the development of children and adolescents, in the fields of education, psychology, and less commonly, economics. However, traditional Korean residency programs have not paid much attention to social competency due to their closed culture originating from the colonial period. Resident education is still heavily dependent on a patriarchal system based on "family" values. Resident education is concentrated in medical knowledge and skills within specialty departments functioning as a family-like unit. Specialty training has a very narrow, constrained vision without incorporating much education on the social dimension of medical practice. Nevertheless, developing a social competency scheme for resident education was initiated in 2008, when the Korean Medical Association celebrated the centennial of producing licensed physicians. However, the scheme is still under development and not widely used. Korean medical educators must, therefore, recognize the value of social competencies and include them as graduation outcomes of residency training to prepare doctors to meet the challenges of the future.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)96-103
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of the Korean Medical Association
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb 1


    • Medical education
    • Social competency

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)


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