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“Highest Professional Competence and Philanthropy“ – Gap Between Ability to Study and to Work

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2016.0301-0307

Eine qualitative Studie

german translation / full article

Alexander Palant, Vivien Weiß

Keywords: personal attributes medical student professional competence qualitative content analysis physicians’ role

A Qualitative Study

Background: Patients usually expect a high level of human abilities and professional skills from their doctors. Medicine graduates on the other hand complain regularly that large parts of the knowledge imparted in their studies are no longer relevant when entering the medical profession. Instead, abilities as teamwork and communicative skills are more significant. An internal university-selection procedure offers the possibility to focus on personal characteristics of the candidates instead only on the final school grades. In this context, a survey of department heads was conducted to analyze, which personal attitudes and skills a medical student should possess and what “being a good doctor” means for the interviewed.

Methods: As part of the reform of internal selection procedure, all department directors of Göttingen University Medical Center should participate in the process and were invited by the vice-dean to answer two questions in written form: 1) what personal characteristics are needed to successfully study medicine? 2) in your opinion, what makes a “good doctor”? The statements were evaluated according to the concept of „summary qualitative content analysis“ by an inter-professional research team.

Results: The response rate was 50 %. We found significant discrepancies between statements about the “ideal student” and the “ideal doctor”. The medical profession was usually characterized by high idealistic attributes such as „comprehensive empathy and philanthropy“ and „high level of medical expertise“. Students were expected to be „above average efficient, hardworking and resistant“ and have a „very good memory and ability to think in a structured way“. A small overlap was found in the categories of „resilience“, „intelligence“ and „integrity”.

Conclusions: The discrepancy should lead us to focus on social and communicative skills in our admission procedure. The medical curriculum in Göttingen should again be reflected.


(State: 15.07.2016)

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