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Good Communication is Critical

In the New York Times this weekend, Gardiner Harris writes, “New for Aspiring Doctors, the People Skills Test,” which describes the M.M.I. – the multiple mini interview. This new process tests medical school applicants on their social skills and is being used by at least eight medical schools in the nation. Unlike all of the other exams students are expected to take, the M.M.I. does not have right or wrong answers. It tests for proper communication skills, which will be critical in the hospital and patient care setting down the line.

It is very important that physicians be able to communication effectively and compassionately with their patients. However, this article brings up some interesting questions. Should an applicant – whose grades and test scores are perfect - be declined acceptance to medical school because they lack the proper social skills? Can these communication skills be taught? With a pending physician shortage, is the nation really in a place to turn away future physicians?

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