Should the best and brightest really become doctors?

For years, medical schools only accepted those who scored highest on the MCATs or received top grades.

But, in an era where working with others is becoming more essential to patient care, whether future doctors can function as a member of a team is becoming increasingly important.

To that end, Maggie Mahar asks whether those who score the highest grades really are best suited to become doctors. In fact, students who score highly are more likely to be competitive, and as Dr. John Stobo, senior vice-president for health and health services at the University of California, says, “A student who must place first is more likely to let his ego get in the way when it comes to asking an experienced nurse for advice, or admitting that he made a mistake.”

Furthermore, Ms. Mahar suggests that filtering out self-described leaders may, in fact, better serve the medical profession: “Today, medicine needs more professionals who value the experience of working with a group. Students who are too quick to expound on why they are natural born leaders may have difficulty recognizing others as their peers””especially when a nurse speaks up to point out that a doctor is making a mistake.”

Although I agree that doctors need to work well within a team structure, stripping the profession of students destined for leadership roles, or those who are gifted academically may lead to a future of average, lemming-like doctors who simply do what they’re told.

And, indeed, that’s what some within the health policy world may want.

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