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AndyDude

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Even disregarding the fact that you need an interview to evaluate communication skills....

 

Why are you so sure that someone with a 4.0 GPA would be a better doctor than someone with a 3.8 GPA? I think that you've got to have smart doctors, but I don't know that being a genius would really make someone a better doctor. A doctor has to be able to evaluate research and understand the science behind practice....it's not a profession where you always need to be thinking of things that nobody's ever thought of before. I think that we've all been competing for marks for so long that we've put more of a focus on intelligence than it really deserves. The cut-off method is a lot more appropriate for Medicine than choosing only applicants with a 4.0 or 3.9.

 

 

Actually, I disagree completely with this. If you could figure out a way to grab more geniuses, it would be an excellent tool. The problem is that a 4.0 versus a 3.8 means absolutely nothing in terms of intelligence. If anything, listening to you speak, present arguments, defend your opinions, and be on your feet is probably far more representative of overall intelligence than your grades.

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From my experience on the wards, social intelligence and empathy are absolutely essential. There's no shortage of doctors who are absolutely brilliant and can diagnose and treat a huge range of diseases but they barely notice the people behind those diseases. There's a difference between walking in on a patient, telling them that because of their new chest x-ray results, lung cancer is now on your differential and walking away for the weekend vs. staying to go over their fears and outlining what you're going to do next, and helping them to understand what they'll be experiencing while you go through your full workup.

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I agree completely with Rock*. My father passed away just as I began university, and let me tell you, the shock and stress drastically affected my ability to perform in university. Im in fourth year and have still attained around 3.70 in a difficult program, but I KNOW I COULD HAVE done much better if I didnt have to deal with the major stress. Going thorugh this pain is a lesson I beleive is best learnt thorugh personal experience, and unfortunatly it came at a cost of reduced academic performance. Its crazy that someone could even suggest spots be reserved FOR HIGH academic perforamance and ECs ALONE.

 

 

 

Thank you ROCK*, am awsome doctor like you was by my family's side when my dad passed, and I thank God these doctors exist and raelize the importance of connecting to patients in an emotional way.

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Mei Mei girl, I sympathize with people who have had personal loss of loved ones or suffering from health issues and can understand their ability to offer more emotional support to their patients if they become doctors.

 

But your post sounds more like treating such circumstances as a proposition for good medical doctors, which is an over generalization.

 

No one has to lose loved ones or suffer from serious illnesses to become good doctors.

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I understand your point of view AndyDude, and I'm sorry if my comments came across that way. I mean to say that some learning experiences cannot be quantified by a grade point system.

 

I'm saying admissions committees should consider that not everyone is in a position to perform optimally, but that those weaknesses should actually be viewed as strengths not flaws. As it stands, the majority of admissions committess where I apply to do not consider how my father's death has impacted my academic ability. However, I strongly feel I am more adapted to relate ot pepole in the same situation, even if my GPA is not 4.0.

 

Best regards, and if you understand what pain and suffering is, then you can be an outstandign physician.

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From my experience on the wards, social intelligence and empathy are absolutely essential. There's no shortage of doctors who are absolutely brilliant and can diagnose and treat a huge range of diseases but they barely notice the people behind those diseases. There's a difference between walking in on a patient, telling them that because of their new chest x-ray results, lung cancer is now on your differential and walking away for the weekend vs. staying to go over their fears and outlining what you're going to do next, and helping them to understand what they'll be experiencing while you go through your full workup.

 

 

 

 

well technically there is a shortage of doctors, lol.

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Even disregarding the fact that you need an interview to evaluate communication skills....

 

Why are you so sure that someone with a 4.0 GPA would be a better doctor than someone with a 3.8 GPA? I think that you've got to have smart doctors, but I don't know that being a genius would really make someone a better doctor. A doctor has to be able to evaluate research and understand the science behind practice....it's not a profession where you always need to be thinking of things that nobody's ever thought of before. I think that we've all been competing for marks for so long that we've put more of a focus on intelligence than it really deserves. The cut-off method is a lot more appropriate for Medicine than choosing only applicants with a 4.0 or 3.9.

 

Also, I think that GPA depends a lot on what courses you take and where you took them. I think I would have had a much harder time acheiving a 3.9 if I'd studied at U of T instead of Queen's, and I think I probably could have pretty easily gotten a 4.0 if I'd taken easier courses (and still fulfilled all the basic science requirements).

 

 

I really agree with ths point, though i would take it a step further and say that by the time you reach the clinical setting, the difference between a 3.7 student and a 4.0 student (in undergrad) is negligible.

In my opinion, everyone who has above a 3.7 cumulative gpa should get the exact same academic standing in regards to med school application.

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I may be wrong, but I get the impression that a lot of people think that medical school is all about memorizing long lists of info about different diseases and disorders. I had the same impression of what med school was like before I got in but now I realize that I wasn't entirely right.

 

While a large part of being successful in med school does revolve around writing written exams, an equally large proportion involves around less tangible skills like communicating with patients, understanding anatomy spatially while doing cadaver dissections, and being good with your hands (eg. suturing, venipuncture, creating an airway, etc). You may be great at scoring A+s on all your written tests, but how does that skill translate to confident body language when you're telling a patient that you're going to stick your finger into their anus to feel for their prostate, or when you're telling another patient that you're going to show them how to do a breast self-exam?

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Good at everything yet can't do good in an interview?! LOL, good luck with your SOAP logs, let alone your OSCEs. Oh wait, maybe you should convince the med schools to exempt these students from ANY training that will involve any sort of human interaction, coz they could probably just ace every exam and name every nucleus in the brainstem and every single pathophysiology pathway of every single disease known to mankind so they could totally give you a 100% correct diagnosis without even knowing the patient's name. Wow you know what i think you have just come up with the perfect solution to the health care crisis in Canada. You should win a Nobel for this, I'm impressed.

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I just want to add one minor point: Medical schools graduate over 95% of people who are accepted. Clearly, they're doing something right.

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On another note, I feel med schools shculd take in more students with quantitative backgrounds, e.g. physics, engineers, mathmaticians, computer scientists. Throughout med I, I realize that many diagnostic measurements are awfully imprecise and diagnostic procedures are not quantified to a reasonable degree of accuracy. Typically a range is applied, which is based on a standard distribution curve, i.e. normal distribution. However, measurement parameters can be quantified to provide information on the severity of the condition, reduce false +/- and perhaps provide a better prognosis. The major resistance to this approach is that current physicians prefer something simple and many do not have quantitative backgrounds. A shift in admission policy may change this in the future.

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On another note, I feel med schools shculd take in more students with quantitative backgrounds, e.g. physics, engineers, mathmaticians, computer scientists.

 

I wholeheartedly agree.

 

Over the last 20 or so years, there's been a huge shift in admissions preferences from those with heavy scientific experience, to those with more humanistic type experience.

 

The unfortunate concequences of this move are:

1. It doesn't create more humane doctors.

2. Doctors with less previous scientific experience are less likely to pursue research as an MD.

 

Number two is the most alarming trend: in the US, the NIH saw a 50% decrease in physician scientists since 1985.

 

 

Personally, I believe that currently there is far too much weight put on things like volunteering and social group memberships. More emphasis should be placed on scientific competence and general achievement.

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There's no evidence that I know of that would indicate that students from scientific/technical backgrounds would have less empathy or be less humane and vice versa.

 

Medical science in this century will be dominated with breakthroughs in treatment modalities and diagnostic procedures. Signal processing can help tremendously in improving accuracy of diagnosis. Furthermore, nanotechnology will advance treatment options which are smarter and less invasive. For example, implanted nano devices that releases drugs periodically in controlled amounts - "controlled release" concepted fathered by Robert Langer and laparoscopic procedures to replace more invasive surgeries. Putting surgeons out of business seems a good idea but we'll still need them for a while.

 

However, in light of these advances, I believe future doctors should possess some basic proficiency in quantitative methods so that they can apply new technological breakthroughs to help patients. Furthermore, we need more physician scientists to pursue groundbreaking work.

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I'm a path resident (and one of those math/physics geeks they did admit) and I can assure you that thousands of very smart PhDs throughout history have poured their hearts and souls into getting every measurement in the lab as accurate and precise as possibly it can be (given the constraints of humanity, money and time). If it seems horribly inaccurate, it's just because you haven't been taught it in enough depth to understand it. (I can't speak for other diagnostic-y specialties such as radiology, nuc med, etc. etc.)

 

I realize that effort has been made to improve current diagnostic measures but new diagnostic methods are coming up all the time. I just feel there are not enough quantitative models to describe organ systems, perhaps biomedical engineering and biophysics are relatively young fields and that will change with time, but the more models we have, we can improve diagnostics tremendously.

 

I just don't feel very comfortable diagnosing patients based on tests that have high standard errors, especially if the patients' results are "borderline".

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Guest begaster
Number two is the most alarming trend: in the US, the NIH saw a 50% decrease in physician scientists since 1985.

 

 

This has nothing to do with accepting a more diverse group of people, and everything to do with poor funding, unreasonable expectations, and terrible reimbursement.

 

To be succinct, physician scientists earn less money than their clinician counterparts. On top of that, they're expected to do the same amount of research as a pure PhD if they wish to receive funding, which is impossible alongside their clinical duties.

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Actually, I disagree completely with this. If you could figure out a way to grab more geniuses, it would be an excellent tool. The problem is that a 4.0 versus a 3.8 means absolutely nothing in terms of intelligence. If anything, listening to you speak, present arguments, defend your opinions, and be on your feet is probably far more representative of overall intelligence than your grades.

 

Although outside circumstances can affect whether someone can reach their highest potential GPA, there's no question that you need to be very intelligent to get a 4.0 GPA. Assuming a decently rigorous program, I think it is nearly impossible to get a 4.0 without being in a very high percentile of raw intelligence. (however, there are many intelligent students who could get a 4.0, but don't simply because they don't work as hard as they could).

 

That being said, you definitely don't need to be a genius to be a good physician. While there is a baseline of competence and intelligence I would expect of a decent physician, it's not close to genius level. Once you reach this baseline, I think other qualities like compassion, communication skills, etc. become much more important in being a good physician.

 

Also, there are many genius level thinkers who I am sure have trouble communicating their ideas, and would get destroyed in a debate by someone far less intelligent but much better at expressing themselves.

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I seriously hope the original poster was joking when they made this thread.

 

4.0/99th percentile does not necessarily = good doctor. The end.

 

Neither does being the president of your local/national/international do-gooder association, or being able to charm and flash a smile at the right times.

 

Currently we have no consistent way to determine who will be good doctors.

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That's a fair point actually. I'm just saying that the only people I know who have straight 4.0's are not people I'd ever want to associate with on a regular basis, either because they're complete losers or because they're so self centered they could jerk off to a mirror.

 

Edit: That isn't to say there aren't some great people with 4.0's out there. I'm just saying that from my experience, those 4.0 people are not the ones I'd want being my doctor and thus they shouldn't automatically bypass the interview--it's there for a reason.

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Guest begaster
Although outside circumstances can affect whether someone can reach their highest potential GPA, there's no question that you need to be very intelligent to get a 4.0 GPA. Assuming a decently rigorous program, I think it is nearly impossible to get a 4.0 without being in a very high percentile of raw intelligence. (however, there are many intelligent students who could get a 4.0, but don't simply because they don't work as hard as they could).

 

 

I know a guy who scored a 30 on the MCAT and had a 4.0. So is he supremely brilliant, or just premed average? Saying that a 4.0 means a person is more intelligent than a 3.8 is nonsense. If you are capable of obtaining a 3.8, you could probably get a 4.0 also. It's just a matter of studying a tad bit more.

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I know a guy who scored a 30 on the MCAT and had a 4.0. So is he supremely brilliant, or just premed average? Saying that a 4.0 means a person is more intelligent than a 3.8 is nonsense. If you are capable of obtaining a 3.8, you could probably get a 4.0 also. It's just a matter of studying a tad bit more.

 

I agree. Some people who do manage to get a 4.0 (or very close to it) are obnoxious pricks, but most are just like the rest of us. I have a friend who was the Governor-General's Silver Medallist (i.e., A+'s in almost all courses), but enjoys going to the bar like anyone else.

 

On the other hand, I now someone with ~4.0 who actually called Dal to ask whether they'd let him in without writing the MCAT (which he bizarrely chickened-out of writing at the last second). I've never encountered anyone with a greater sense of entitlement.

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I know a guy who scored a 30 on the MCAT and had a 4.0. So is he supremely brilliant, or just premed average? Saying that a 4.0 means a person is more intelligent than a 3.8 is nonsense. If you are capable of obtaining a 3.8, you could probably get a 4.0 also. It's just a matter of studying a tad bit more.

 

I didn't say that you HAVE to be very intelligent to get a 4.0. I said it I believed it would be nearly impossible to get a 4.0 and not be.

 

I will say that I think the avg. intelligence of all 4.0 students in Canada is greater than the avg. intelligence of 3.8 students in Canada and I'll leave it at that.

 

I don't see why you would want to waste time discussing exceptions to the rule, because exceptions are always a given in any situation. But if you think that there is no general difference in intelligence between the avg. 4.0 student and the avg. 3.8 student, then we definitely have a disagreement in opinions.

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Well, it's so nice that everyone here can bring their well-researched anecdotal opinions to bear here. Are 4.0 students smarter than 3.0 students "on average"? Sure - if you assume that GPA is an explicit function of intelligence, which to my mind sounds rather questionable.

 

On the subject of intelligence, this week's Quirks & Quarks had an interesting piece on intelligence research.

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In my opinion this change would clearly benefit people like myself (good academics and EC's but I am only just emerging from a "shy mindset"), but I too would be against this policy. When you're in the waiting room telling a family that their child died during YOUR surgery, having a 567.34 GPA and 127Z MCAT won't matter. People skills are critical in this profession. I would however, support a small decrease (10% maybe?) in the value of interviews.

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