Sunday, 25 February 2018

How to get into medical school (or not)!

   I spent most of my professional life training Family Doctors.  I have had the privilege of  training residents, male and female in how to be excellent family doctors and I  know the standard of excellence required to achieve that objective is a bell curve that is unrelated to gender, colour or religion.  In the 'olden days', when I  first started interviewing candidates, most of the applicants to medical school were motivated quite differently from many of todays applicants.  There was a naivety (we called it dedication back then)  and we even had some aspiring physicians actually state that they had a 'calling' to become a physician and help suffering people. ( A sure way to get dropped off the  list pronto, these days)   While we very seriously considered the academic history of the applicants and their level of intelligence, we recognized that a committed B+ student often had the right stuff to be a good physician, we also recognized that an  A+ student sometimes didn't.  In fact, high  marks alone were a poor indicator of the quality of medical practice a graduate would offer.
   It didn't take long for the slicker applicants to figure out the answers that the admissions committee would be impressed by.  The admission committee itself was composed of a member of the medical school faculty, a member of the University faculty, a senior medical student and an interested member of the  public.  Saskatchewan, in those days had at least fifty per cent of their medical personnel well-trained British physicians and had difficulty in finding Canadian graduates willing to practice in  rural Saskatchewan.  In fact the situation outside Regina and Saskatoon was critical in many areas without even considering the isolated areas in the far north.  It didn't take long before, outside a small core of dedicated local graduates, applicants learned to answer the question, "What made you decide to  go  into medicine?" as follows:
  1. I want to  help people.
  2. I'm really interested in medical science.
  3. I want to provide medical care to rural and remote areas in the Province.
      A sure recipe for success!
   A slick computer-generated CV and career plan also helped and became easily identifiable to  the seasoned interviewer.

  Meanwhile, most of the rural/ remote care in Saskatchewan was provided by a small group of exceptional Canadian Physicians, British Physicians anxious to escape the Britisn NHS and later white South  African Physicians anxious to escape from South Africa.
   Unfortunately, we have systematically removed most of the dedicated physicians in Canada from positions of influence and power by transferring responsibility and decision making for the future of health care to the political administridiots who claim credit for everything until  everything goes wrong.   Everything will go wrong.  We have one of the worst health care systems in  the developed world, but Canadians are too polite to mention it!


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