Testing Doctors for People Skills
This is a bit off the usual topic, but I think this is an interesting and hopeful article from The New York Times about testing medical school applicants for interpersonal and communication skills. Most of all, of course, we want our doctors to be smart and well-informed about our problems and possible treatments. But we also want to connect with them in a way that helps us feel understood, supported, and respected. I hear stories every day from women who cherish their relationships with their doctors as well as some who have felt completely misunderstood, rushed, or uncared for.
My husband sometimes says that, when he interviews young doctors or medical school applicants, he wishes that he could also interview their mothers--believing that those early maternal/parental relationships likely make an enormous difference in how any of us view and act in the world. Not so feasible, but wouldn't this be an interesting approach?
Anyway, here is the beginning of the article and then a link to read more:
New for Aspiring Doctors, the People Skills Test
By GARDINER HARRIS ROANOKE, Va. — Doctors save lives, but they can sometimes be insufferable know-it-alls who bully nurses and do not listen to patients. Medical schools have traditionally done little to screen out such flawed applicants or to train them to behave better, but that is changing.
At Virginia Tech Carilion, the nation's newest medical school, administrators decided against relying solely on grades, test scores and hourlong interviews to determine who got in. Instead, the school invited candidates to the admissions equivalent of speed-dating: nine brief interviews that forced candidates to show they had the social skills to navigate a health care system in which good communication has become critical.
The new process has enormous consequences not only for the lives of the applicants but, its backers hope, also for the entire health care system. It is called the multiple mini interview, or M.M.I., and its use is spreading. At least eight medical schools in the United States — including those at Stanford, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Cincinnati — and 13 in Canada are using it.