Some Skills Difficult to Test For
Communications skills, empathy, and professionalism, all factors that go into making a knowledgeable medical student into a superb physician, are difficult to assess on a standardized test. With the move to pass/fail grading for the first two years at some of the nation’s most elite medical schools (Harvard, Yale, and Stanford among them), it can also be difficult to know how medical students have performed in their classes, which may be another strike against assessing medical knowledge. Graded classes, however, still exist at the majority of medical schools.
Explore This IssueApril 2019
“As otolaryngologists, we deal with conditions that affect a patient’s quality of life and how patients communicate with the world,” Dr. Gray said. “Being able to connect with patients and providing empathic care is extremely important. I think most programs are really interested in selecting candidates who will not only be gifted clinicians, but will also be compassionate and caring physicians. If there was an objective metric to measure that potential, we would utilize it in the selection process. Currently, we don’t have a metric to reflect that. Hopefully we will in the future.”
Renée Bacher is a freelance medical writer based in Louisiana.