MedEdits | Medical School Admissions Consulting

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Personal Competencies and Medical School Admissions

Why are medical schools placing so much emphasis on evaluating applicants' "personal competencies?" Why do some medical schools now have patients participate in the medical school interview process (in particular, at medical schools that employ the multiple mini interview)?

An excellent article in the New York Times was written by Madeline Drexler, a patient with a "classic" heart murmur who was asked to volunteer as a "patient" in a Harvard Medical School class where students learn about physical exam findings. Through this experience, she was treated cooly by some Harvard medical students as "a heart murmur" while, by other students, she was treated as a human being. As evidenced by this article, the medical school admissions process, even at "elite" schools such as Harvard, is imperfect; some applicants (and medical students) with perfect academic credentials may not possess the communication and interpersonal skills that are required to practice medicine.

This article is a must read for all physicians in training. No matter where you are in your medical education, it is important to remember the importance of empathy, understanding, and compassion when caring for patients. Perhaps Ms. Drexler might be an excellent addition to Harvard's medical school admissions committee.

Click Here to read the article.

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