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Old 05-28-2013, 01:18 PM   #1
DangerousThing
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Default What level Physician skill should an MD have?

I know that 12 is the normal level of skill for a professional, but does an MD need a higher skill than 12 or just more skills (Physician, Diagnosis, and maybe Surgery or Psychology)?

I'm asking because one character in my SF campaign wants to be a doctor as well as a master martial artist.

And if this is in the rules, can you tell me where?

Thanks.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:15 PM   #2
cosmicfish
 
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

I think that today, in the US, you might be able to get a medical license with 12's in the major medical skills. Might. I think board-certification will be tougher, and almost all MD's in the US are certified: Family-practice MD's will have 14's in Diagnosis and Physician, ER docs will have 16's in Diagnosis and First Aid, internists might need 16+ in Diagnosis and Physician, and Surgeons will likely need 16+ in Surgery. Most specialities will involve skills outside the scope of GURPS, generally as Hyperspecialization perks and the like: A dermatologist is probably only even going to have 12 in the major skills if they are recently educated, more experienced dermatologists will probably have had most such skills atrophy.

In a more general sense, 12 as a professional minimum is really only for professions that happen with lots of time and acceptable errors - two things that many medical professions lack. I would say that if a job requires near-perfection or immediate on-demand performance then 14 is a more realistic minimum, and if it requires both then at least a 16. You can be a professional pilot with a 12, dusting crops and the like, but it might take 16 to be a 747 pilot, 18 to fly an F-22, and 20 to be a Blue Angel.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:39 PM   #3
Kromm
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

Skill 12 is a good baseline. Remember to add all applicable bonuses in your mind and ensure that the final result is a sensible level.

A TL8 GP who examines people in her office at her leisure, taking 20-40 minutes instead of the ~10 minutes assumed in the rules on pp. B424-425, gets +2 or +3 for a "very favorable" task (a mildly risky day-to-day job), +1 or +2 for extra time, and from +1 (quality) to +4 (quality) for a room full of TL8 gear, depending on budget. That's +4 to +9. Split the difference and call it +6 at TL8. Thus, someone with skill 12 is functioning at 18 most of the time, which is as good as can be expected.

A cinematic field medic who's routinely taking -9 for haste and getting at most +1 for good gear is at -8, and might want skill 20 just to have the basic professional 12 on adventures.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:40 PM   #4
Sunrunners_Fire
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerousThing View Post
I know that 12 is the normal level of skill for a professional, but does an MD need a higher skill than 12 or just more skills (Physician, Diagnosis, and maybe Surgery or Psychology)?

I'm asking because one character in my SF campaign wants to be a doctor as well as a master martial artist.

And if this is in the rules, can you tell me where?

Thanks.
Ta da! Assuming you want it for a realistic level of skill anywise ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
When telling writers how to norm skills for realistic characters (not fantasy monsters, Buffy-esque slayers, Buckaroo Banzai-level generalists, and so on!), we just point to p. B172 and p. B447. Tactical Shooting adds some other useful guidelines.
  • Average People: 8-13
    • Skills remembered from school days: 8-9
    • Most skills, including hobbies, secondary job skills of volunteers, and primary skills of draftees: 10-11
    • Primary job skills of most normal people (including cops, doctors, pilots, and soldiers): 12-13
  • Experts: 14-19
    • Someone good enough to work under life-or-death conditions (including commandos, field surgeons, and ace pilots): 14-15
    • Someone good enough to stand out in his field, however rarefied (top commando, ace of aces, etc.): 16-17
    • Best of a generation (e.g., the world's best sniper): 18-19
  • Masters: 20-25
    • Top master alive (presumably good enough to teach the best of a couple of generations): 20-21
    • Confirmed top master of all time: 22-23
    • Mythic masters, verging on the cinematic: 24-25
As p. B172 says, you don't achieve great fame by piling on more skill levels. You do it by adding attribute levels and advantages that enhance skills, bypass rolls, remove penalties, etc., and by learning subsidiary skills. A top MMA competitor isn't notable because he has Karate-20. He's notable because he has high ST, DX, and HT; improved HP, FP, and Basic Speed; Judo-16, Karate-16, and Wrestling-16; one trademark technique at 16 for each skill; the maximum number of Style Perks that those skill and technique points allow; and a few advantages like Enhanced Dodge, Flexibility, Hard to Subdue, High Pain Threshold, and (let's face it) Luck. Having points in Ally (Top trainer) and Ally (Top manager) doesn't hurt, either.
EDIT: ... and Kromm ninjas me. Heh.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:51 PM   #5
DangerousThing
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunrunners_Fire View Post
EDIT: ... and Kromm ninjas me. Heh.
Actually, isn't that Kromm ninjaing himself? :)

Thanks everybody!
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:01 PM   #6
malloyd
 
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmicfish View Post
I think that today, in the US, you might be able to get a medical license with 12's in the major medical skills. Might. I think board-certification will be tougher, and almost all MD's in the US are certified: Family-practice MD's will have 14's in Diagnosis and Physician, ER docs will have 16's in Diagnosis and First Aid, internists might need 16+ in Diagnosis and Physician, and Surgeons will likely need 16+ in Surgery.
I don't think I'd insist on that high a skill for Surgery, it takes a lot more equipment bonuses than other medical skills, so you don't need to be as good to get plausible success levels.

GURPS skill requirements for earning a living skills can be thought of as being set by usually be rolling against a 16 (i.e. you don't fail any more often than the 17 or 18 everybody always does). For jobs with no adventuring level stresses or critical time pressures, 12 is fine, most tasks will be done at +4 or so for being routine and/or allowing extra time.
For jobs that usually are done under adventuring level stress and time pressures - and emergency room or battlefield First Aid/Physician certainly is, 16 is required to get those consistently up to professional standards results, though you can probably let your Diagnosis skill go a little lower.

Honestly, the small town family doc probably can get by with Diagnosis 12. And if he's got a nursing staff may not even make a Physician roll in a typical week. He needed some to get through med school, but it needn't have been kept up. Yeah somebody with Diagnosis-12 and Physician/Last TL-10 isn't a very *good* doctor, but he's marginally competent, and assuming he has that nurse with Physician 12 or 13 to draw the blood samples and stitch the cuts and sends the tough cases to the big city hospital, he's not going to be killing enough patients for the licensing board to be investigating him.
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Old 05-28-2013, 04:04 PM   #7
johndallman
 
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

I'd believe my GP is at a basic 12 or 13. He doesn't make many mistakes, but he's very willing to get in help for tricky stuff. I have a liver condition that I can believe had penalties to Diagnosis, since several doctors failed on it with a variety of theories that were gradually disproved.

Eventually I got someone good and she cracked it. I'd believe 15 or 16, since her greater skill was obvious to a layman. There are distinguishing signs from good experts: they're much more willing to explain their reasoning, they freely admit they could be wrong, and they ask better questions. The last point is telling: they spot details that others miss, and they try to disprove their hypotheses straight away.
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:26 AM   #8
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
A TL8 GP who examines people in her office at her leisure, taking 20-40 minutes instead of the ~10 minutes assumed in the rules on pp. B424-425..
Jesus, Kromm (MYLF), do Canadian FPs really get 40 minute appointment slots? Here in the southern provinces 15 minutes is considered generous...

I guess I'd accept an FP having 12 points in a generous distribution of skills, including surgery (they do OB), nonetheless. And Research skill, and something that lets them consult and refer to experts, unless that's assumed in the job description.

FP residency is three years. Internal Medicine residency is also three years, and might either buy you a higher skill or a specialization. You'd certainly get a specialization and/or higher skill if you did a fellowship.

Surgery residencies start at five or six years, and especially when doing trauma you're under time constraints. I think Surgery-14 is defensible for most surgeons.*

Remember, First Aid defaults to Physician -0. An MD may not have to waste points on it.

*Full dosclosure- I'm a general surgeon.
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by acrosome View Post
Jesus, Kromm (MYLF), do Canadian FPs really get 40 minute appointment slots? Here in the southern provinces 15 minutes is considered generous...
LOL That was my first thought on reading his post.
I think 12 is ok for GP and most Residents but there usually not spending enough time to get a bonus. A lot of mistakes are made and a lot of trail and error but most of the time its not serious enough to kill anyone.
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:44 AM   #10
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

Huh. This is close to what I had thought, but I had been assuming skill 14 for pilots, surgeons, etc. on the grounds that they should receive more training because if they screw up, people die. Or at least, this is true for airline pilots, surgeons in countries that have rigorous certification standards, etc. Also assumed a Ph.D. very often means skill-14.
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