May 25, 2015
47
76
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Any tips on how to talk about controversial issues like healthcare reform? Am I supposed to stay true to my beliefs or am I supposed to appease the interviewer and then stay true to my beliefs AFTER I get in? Do they value honesty more or pandering? :/
 

NewHorizons

2+ Year Member
May 20, 2015
290
230
Is this really a serious question?

Under no circumstances should you lie about anything.

The best way by far to address controversial issues is to understand both sides and why there's arguments for both sides. You can choose to side with one point, but acknowledge that other points on the other side is also important. Most importantly, you shouldn't say that your choice is set in stone.... health care is an ever evolving field, and sometimes the status quo or the popular opinion at one point may become moot in the future.

What is important though is to not let your personal feelings get in the way of good quality health care practices as a physician.

This is one of many ways to support a potentially controversial opinion with respect and tact.
 
Sep 4, 2014
35
6
Status
Pre-Medical
Definitely do not lie. Everything I've seen and read says to show that you realize both sides to each topic. You can surely stick to your beliefs, but do it in a way that shows you understand that others might feel differently. Also do a little research to make sure that your beliefs don't overstep your role as a doctor. Honestly is definitely valued, but so is your ability to understand there is more than one way to think about things. No one wants to hire/teach/work with someone that is so stuck in their ways that they can't have a mature conversation discussing them.
 
OP
kinda_desperate
May 25, 2015
47
76
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Wow, I don't know why everyone is being so extreme and jumping straight into lying. I can definitely see multiple sides to certain complicated issues like healthcare reform, but I definitely lean a certain way and I don't want to be dismissed for having an opinion. If I find myself in a situation where I am on the opposite side of the issue, is it too risky to try to "engage in a healthy debate" and point out flaws in the interviewer's points and have a conversation? We can sit here and assume that adcoms are all rational people who simply value intelligence and different points of view, but we all know that's not true. By "pander" I was being slightly ironic and mostly mean playing the pros and cons game and giving no hint of my allegiance.
 

cbrons

Ratatoskr! *Roar*
10+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2007
6,567
3,639
DEFEND MIDDLE LANE!
Status
Non-Student
Don't lie. But recognize that many of the people who do these interviews are academic hacks (aka left-wing Looney Toons).

Speaking ill of the sacred cows of Looneyville (i.e. any socialization of any industry including and especially medicine and education) may not go over well.
 

NewHorizons

2+ Year Member
May 20, 2015
290
230
Wow, I don't know why everyone is being so extreme and jumping straight into lying. I can definitely see multiple sides to certain complicated issues like healthcare reform, but I definitely lean a certain way and I don't want to be dismissed for having an opinion. If I find myself in a situation where I am on the opposite side of the issue, is it too risky to try to "engage in a healthy debate" and point out flaws in the interviewer's points and have a conversation? We can sit here and assume that adcoms are all rational people who simply value intelligence and different points of view, but we all know that's not true. By "pander" I was being slightly ironic and mostly mean playing the pros and cons game and giving no hint of my allegiance.
I don't think the interviewers will dislike you for having an opinion either for or against a status quo, but what does look bad can include the following...

1. Support your point but refuse to acknowledge the other side... this is apparent when weakly addressing rebuttal arguments, or brushing them off superficially in your answers without acknowledgement.
Ex. I can understand that there are some supporters of euthanasia, but clearly intentionally aiding or directly murdering patients far outweigh the potential autonomy patients may gain in their end of life care /s

2. Having a viewpoint you believe in so strongly that it comes off as "radical" (that doesn't look good for either side)
Ex. all pro-abortionists are murderers, all anti-abortionists violate human rights etc.... /s

3. Not understanding the other side at all....
Ex. I know that there are others that defend opinion X, but I don't get it /s

That said...... the interview is NOT a platform for you to debate your views aggressively...you are to demonstrate that you are a well rounded thinker, and that regardless of your views, they shouldn't hinder your abilities as a PROFESSIONAL. You need to take the emotions without reason completely out and not have them misguide you.
 
OP
kinda_desperate
May 25, 2015
47
76
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Do not say "Obamacare is bad, and I don't stand for it". Adcoms will not look kindly on that attitude.
Is that commentary on avoiding dogmatism, or does that insinuate adcoms would be more open to the opposite opinion?
 
Oct 8, 2014
112
105
Landlocked
Status
Pre-Medical
Is that commentary on avoiding dogmatism, or does that insinuate adcoms would be more open to the opposite opinion?
That's the advice I got. They [school I'm interested in, anyway] want applicants to have an open mind. Even if you don't agree, you need to 1.) Address that there is major problems in US regarding healthcare 2.) ACA is a step in the right direction as far as addressing the issue (even if it's not perfect) The point is something must be done. 3.) Don't call it Obamacare. lol

By all means, if you have a better idea for health reform, you can pitch your plan ;)

Idk the perfect response though, I'm still pondering what I'll say...
 
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May 7, 2015
515
382
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Academics tend to be fairly left-wing, so conservative applicants should probably tack to the center a bit...
 
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bc65

5+ Year Member
Oct 16, 2013
824
1,420
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Attending Physician
Academics tend to be fairly left-wing, so conservative applicants should probably tack to the center a bit...
But physicians overall skew to the right.

OP: You have no idea what your interviewer really believes. Most can argue both sides, and can challenge interviewees on their beliefs regardless of the position they take.

Don't try to pander to what you think the interviewer wants to hear. As others noted above, demonstrate that you understand both points of view, and indicate yours. Be prepared to be challenged. You should demonstrate that you can have a pleasant conversation and think on your feet.

In all likelihood, your interviewer will be more experienced and more knowledgeable on most topics than you are, so don't act in a way that can be construed as arrogant. If you take a strong position you will most likely come off as naive and uninformed, rather than principled.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,604
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Somewhere west of St. Louis
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You speak from the heart.

Do you really think all adcom members are in favor of a single payer system? Or like the ACA, or want to go back to the status quo of 2008?

Do you really think all Adcoms are pro or anti-abortion? Pro or anti-euthanasia?

Any tips on how to talk about controversial issues like healthcare reform? Am I supposed to stay true to my beliefs or am I supposed to appease the interviewer and then stay true to my beliefs AFTER I get in? Do they value honesty more or pandering? :/

100% correct! We also want to see if you can recognize that there are two viewpoints with very controversy....ie, there are sometimes no right answers, but there ARE wrong answers.

I have a specific ethical question that I I use (no, I'm not sharing) to weed out people who can't do this.

The point of the question is to see if you're informed.
Adcoms, correct me if I'm wrong.
 

touchpause13

nolite te bastardes carborundorum
5+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2012
14,430
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The North
Be honest. If you are pandering it will likely be obvious.

I think you really just want to sound knowledgeable and like you have a good hold on the core issue. No one is going to expect you to come up with the perfect solution to the health care issues in this country, but you should be able to provide a logical response without being a jackwad.
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
23,169
32,771
Status
Academic Administration
Be honest. If you are pandering it will likely be obvious.

I think you really just want to sound knowledgeable and like you have a good hold on the core issue. No one is going to expect you to come up with the perfect solution to the health care issues in this country, but you should be able to provide a logical response without being a jackwad.
Oh yes! That takes me back to the 2007-2008 cycle when I asked a political science major at the very end of the interview about the wide open nomination process underway in both parties (because W was in his second term and Cheney would not be running). The dude immediately assumed I was a Hillary supporter. When that didn't work, he pandered some more and told me why another Democrat was great.... In fact, I was not a registered Democrat and I was just interested in the rare occurrence of wide open primaries in both parties.