Probably the most universally important skill in Pathfinder 2e is medicine. It is the best way to keep your party alive and the game even expects that you have some form of repeatable (i.e. spamable) healing to restore hit points between dangerous encounters (whether traps, combat, or similar).
At the very least, one character in every party should pursue the healing arts, increasing their medicine skill and taking the associated skill feats chain (a minimum of assurance medicine, continual recovery and ward medic). Preferably, at least two thirds of your party should be trained in medicine as treat wounds, poison, or disease cannot be attempted untrained.
The two difficulties of medicine checks are related to the mechanics. Until your character picks up the continual recovery skill feat you can only treat each person once per hour. This delay exists for game balance. If you want to heal everyone back to full after each encounter then the trade off is the risk of another challenge. A random encounter, or simply the next encounter finding you, before you find them. This delay can lead to the narrative issue of a character asking for healing and the team medic saying, “not for another twenty-eight minutes” and everyone sat around twiddling their thumbs until then. The two problems then are, how to explain this delay within the narrative and how best to keep track during and between game sessions.
The wizard, to use an example from a recent session I ran, became deafened. Their electric arc spell backfired, hitting a pair of iron statues instead of the rat swarm biting at their ankles. As the electricity surged through the statues, it created a gong-like cacophony either side of the caster.
After combat, the wizard, trained in medicine, tried to heal themself, but failed. The other party medic, a druid, had treated the wizard’s wounds forty minutes ago, so could not try again for another twenty minutes.
I explained this narratively as the two of them working together, using bandages, cotton wadding and some drops of oil, to begin treatment. The ringing noise was so bad, there was no way to immediately be rid of it. Once the oil had a little time (twenty minutes) to run its course within the wizard’s ears, hopefully that would be sufficient. Until then, the ringing and the bandages meant he could not hear anything else.
As time drew near (meanwhile running a few perception checks to see how loud the wizard was shouting at his fellows and whether this drew anyone to them) I said that the ringing in his ears was beginning to subside and the noise of the rushing water nearby could be heard. When the druid checked again and succeeded, the bandages and wadding were removed; the wizard’s hearing had returned to normal.
Time management can be a chore for many GMs. They may only accurately keep track of effects and durations within initiative mode, where seconds matter. Time may become more vague in encounter mode. Burdening the GM with minute-by-minute accuracy when time spans hours could seem unnecessary. In initiative, each minute is divided into ten rounds, each six seconds long. Tracking time in encounter mode can follow the same idea, dividing however long the time span into ten chunks.
The end of one treat wounds to the start of the next is fifty minutes. Applying the ten percent rule gives you ten lots of five minute blocks to tick off as the party either move forward, or rest up. Using exploration mode, players can then spend one or more of these blocks pursuing an encounter action while the GM counts the blocks. If you roll a random encounter, perhaps next roll a 1d10 to see in which five minute block it arrives.
If your session ends part way through a countdown, add a note for next time giving the in-game time, rounded off to the end of the last five minute block, for example, 14:15. Next to each medic’s name in your notes, write the time they last finished treat wounds on each character, rounded off to a five minute block. For example, Tommy->John 14:00. At the start of the next session, you know Tommy cannot treat wounds on John again for fifty minutes, which will be 14:50.
Note, there is an option, if the party is staying in one place, to treat wounds on a character for an hour, which doubles the hit points recovered. You can track this time in ten lots of six minutes, or if it makes more sense, twelve lots of five minutes, which makes actions lasting ten minutes, such as refocusing or repair, easier to count.
Image: Doctors in consultation around a sick person (14th century), glass, Canterbury Cathedral (Unesco World Heritage List, 1988). (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)