Should We, And Could We, Select Medical Students With A Higher Tolerance For Ambiguity?

ambiguity   Poor tolerance of ambiguity in physicians has been associated with higher healthcare costs from excessive test-ordering and higher rates of burnout.  In this AAMC survey of all 2013 matriculating allopathic medical students (74% participation rate, n=13,867), students were asked 7 Likert-style questions from a previously derived questionnaire assessing comfort with ambiguous situations.  A sample question:  “If I am uncertain about the responsibilities involved in a particular task, I get very anxious.”  Predictors of a higher tolerance for ambiguity with at least a moderate effect size were: higher age at matriculation (particularly ages 26 and more) and lower scores on a widely-used perceived stress score. — Laura Willett, MD

Link To Article

Caulfield M, Andolsek K, Grbic D, Roskovensky L. Ambiguity Tolerance of Students Matriculating to U.S. Medical Schools.
Acad Med. 2014 Sep 23.
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