How to test would-be doctors for empathy, compassion and moral fortitude

ORIGINAL ARTICLE, Danielle Groen,, May 5, 2022

Toronto tech company Altus Assessments goes beyond the C.V., helping schools select candidates for cultural fit.

A man in his 30s comes into a store clutching a red toy truck. He wants to return it and he swears he bought the toy there, but he doesn’t have a receipt. The young woman at the register can only offer store credit, and the man starts to get frantic — he needs the cash; his daughter has pneumonia; her prescription is expensive. The woman apologizes: store policy. She’d be risking her job. The man is desperate about his daughter. And then they both turn to the camera and demand to know: what would you do?

This short video is one of several that prospective medical students now watch as part of their university application process. The questions that follow might not seem the likeliest to ask the next generation of healthcare workers: Would you give the man a refund? How might you let him down gently? What’s an essential quality in customer service? But Kelly Dore, an associate professor in the departments of medicine, obstetrics and gynecology at Hamilton’s McMaster University who helped devise the test, believes the answers provide valuable information that can’t be captured by GPAs or MCAT scores.

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