Growing a Doctor: The Seed
If one has read the comments about doctors in my various blog threads regarding how doctors are seen in the eyes of their patients from wondrous, humane and curative to uncaring, selfish and even abusive, one wonders why the growth of a doctor through our medical schools and beyond lead to such a mixed final flower. Could it be that the seeds are different? The selection of the seeds to be planted into the medical profession start with the admission process to medical schools. Excellent grades given to the students in undergraduate education and passage of the medical admission exam questions provide medical school admission officers some understanding of the student's potential to learn facts in medical school but this information doesn't tell much about how the student will turn out as a doctor, beyond just the knowledge of the facts. So how are the seeds separated into which will flower into that good doctor every patient desires?
For generations, student have appeared before one or two medical school faculty who talk and ask questions and listen to the responses to "screen" the student for acceptance or rejection. This classic method is helpful to screen but because of subjective variances in the faculty, some selections turn out to be problematic and it is suspected that some rejections may be inappropriate and a loss for the student and the medical school. A technique introduced by some medical schools in recent years involves screening by a multiple mini interviews (MMI) where the "interview" consists of the student entering and rotating multiple station rooms, perhaps 10 over an hour or so period, each monitored by a faculty member, and subjected to some brief challenging exercise from being asked to answer some thoughtful question to making an ethical decision or responding to an actor patient or writing a brief essay. It is felt that with a single faculty member evaluating a single challenge on all the students rotating through that station would yield a fairer evaluation predicting students with better medical education and behavior outcomes in later years. This has yet to be fully proven.
For this thread, I would like to challenge my visitors to become the faculty member in the classic method of screening where the student sits down in front of you and it is your duty to ask a series of questions and evaluate the student's answers in terms of whether this student should be admitted to medical school because there is a good chance he or she will be a good student and there is a good chance that the student will become the good doctor that you and society are desiring. So what questions would you ask the student and what would you expect as an answer to find if this student seed might be the very seed to finally bloom to that flower we all want? ..Maurice.
Graphic: From Google Image which I modified using a cartoon doctor from the website, "Small Steps for Big Change" and an article providing very helpful information for students who want to prepare for and get accepted to medical school. My visitors here who are planning to go to medical school may find the article of value for them.