Are too many med students lacking altruism?

Can you tell who's in it for the right reasons?

What makes a good, caring medical student?

Back in August, an MPR Midmorning program explored whether allowing qualified students to ditch the pre-med path might make them better, more well-rounded physicians.

Now a med-school blogger on KevinMD.com points to recent writings indicating a problem with burnout and unprofessional conduct among med students, and wonders, among other things, whether schools have a problem recruiting more altruistic students:

I believe that medical school admissions do not do a good job at identifying candidates that will provide an adequate workforce and/or will be good for medicine. It must be extremely difficult to screen applicants to figure out who is genuine about the profession – who is going into medicine because they truly want to go into medicine… on the other hand, who is going into medicine because they test well, and/or because their parents forced them into it throughout childhood. …

Maybe we are not bringing enough students into medicine that come from underserved areas; maybe we are not screening correctly in the admissions process to accept students who display genuine altruistic views and who do not fabricate an artificial personality in an interview and/or on a personal statement. The 40 MCAT, 3.9 pre-med GPA and 5 publications may look good on paper but may fail miserably at developing into an altruistic and compassionate physician.

  • Anonymous

    Off the hip: It’s not their fault. We made them that way by putting them so deep in debt. An altruist may not be able to afford to go to med school. And I have known many of them.

    This is wrong.

    Bill Gleason, U of M med school faculty