Curiosity, Education, Perception, And Humanity

There’s was abnormally interesting piece posted last week on the Scientific America’s website. Ilana Yurkiewicz asks “What single quality predicts a good doctor?” and then answers a somewhat different question. The piece is not so much about being a good doctor as it is about customer patient perception as to what makes for a good doctor and the relationship between curiosity and education.
Twelbve years ago, Dr. Faith Fitzgerald, former dean of students at University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, was curious about the relationship between undergraduate course work in the humanities and how customers patients perceive their doctors.

So she did a study. She and her colleagues read reviews of third and fourth year medical students in their clinical clerkships, written by supervising physicians. They noted words that suggested humane behavior, such as “caring” and “warm.” They then looked to see if there was any connection between positive descriptors and coursework taken prior to medical school.
Surprisingly, there was. Medical students viewed as more humane took on more coursework in college – but not just in the humanities. The more classes students took, period – in the humanities or in the sciences – the nicer they were described.

To find out a possible reason for the relationship read the whole piece. But be a little cautious. There appears to be correlation rather than cause in all this.
I did like this comment;

It is time we recognize that the sciences and humanities are complementary, not conflicting, and that it is counterproductive to construct arbitrary walls between them. Lopsided intelligence is not in vogue. Scientists can write compelling arguments, and humanists can solve puzzles. Viewing the world from diverse angles should be encouraged as a way of understanding it in a more complex, more meaningful way.

Yep!