Written by Alyssa Walker

Some medical schools are taking pages from the recruitment playbooks of Google and other high-tech companies and switching the focus from the "creativity suck" of test scores to problem-solving and leadership skills. 

The president of Thomas Jefferson University, Dr. Stephen Klasko, says medical schools have the recruiting process all wrong.

He says medical schools are still screening students based on their knowledge of obscure organic chemistry facts and not focused on skills like critical thinking, empathy, and leadership. 

In an article for CNBC, Klasko argued the current system "suck[s] the creativity out of physicians" and encourages an atmosphere of competition as opposed to collaboration. 

Klasko, along with administrators at Mount Sinai, Yale, and Stanford, is taking a different approach to finding qualified medical school candidates. 

He explains that when his son interviewed for a job at Google, they did not want to see a transcript -- they had a conversation with him to see if he could come up with innovative answers off the cuff.

Klasko and other medical school officials are working with a firm called Teleos Leaders to develop a program to select medical students based not just on their academic qualifications, but on their emotional intelligence too.

He said, "We need to make medical students more human. [...] The way things are today is that you can be the most antisocial person in the room, but if we train you to pass a multiple choice test you can go and treat sick patients."

He's also working with humanities departments, design universities, and drama programs to get more humanities majors into medicine. Jefferson has also developed a program that trains students in design thinking as it applies to medicine with Bon Ku, "one of the coolest docs in Philadelphia."

Klasko said, "At some point, the real bar should be whether or not you can actually listen to patients and talk to them." Those are the students he wants to find and train as physicians.

 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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