iforget2

7+ Year Member
Jun 23, 2012
780
323
Status
Medical Student
We were talking about Obamacare and I was asked something along the lines of "There are people in this country who can only afford to pay either their health insurance premiums or their groceries but not both. What can be done about this problem?" I had absolutely no idea what to say so I pretty much just said I didn't know the answer. How acceptable was it for me to say this?
 

femmegoblue

2+ Year Member
Jun 16, 2014
2,050
2,298
San Junipero
Status
Medical Student
We were talking about Obamacare and I was asked something along the lines of "There are people in this country who can only afford to pay either their health insurance premiums or their groceries but not both. What can be done about this problem?" I had absolutely no idea what to say so I pretty much just said I didn't know the answer. How acceptable was it for me to say this?
To me, it reads as not being able to think on your feet. Even if you don't know anything about our current healthcare system (which everyone entering medicine should), as someone who has taken college level courses and is entering a profession that really focuses on the ability to see both sides of a situation and make educated decisions, you should have been able to come up with something. Even if you were to mention something vague about altering healthcare policy or creating programs to make groceries and fresh food more accessible. IMO it's not a good thing.
 

CliveStaples

7+ Year Member
May 5, 2012
357
479
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Really good doctors say "I don't know."

But really good doctors also know how to say that without coming across as lazy or ignorant. Ultimately your answer might have amounted to "I don't know" but I think there's a reasonable chance that you were able to demonstrate that you could think critically, see multiple sides of an issue, and maybe most importantly did not just ignorantly throw out a solution with no regard to the consequences. Paying for healthcare in America is a complicated issue and if there were an obvious solution, it would have already been implemented.

Asking this question in an interview is probably akin to a patient asking you "Do I have cancer?"
 

ace_inhibitor111

7+ Year Member
Mar 10, 2012
271
222
Well, there is no "answer" to this problem but they still want to know your opinion and whether you can think creatively. You could next time probably start with a disclaimer like "This is a very complicated issue. However, maybe one way would be to..." Idk educate them about government subsidies? Even if it's wrong you could say something like "or maybe that won't work because etc." to at least show you can think on your feet.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Doctor-S and Goro

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,660
78,953
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
This may depend upon the mood of the interviewer. Some questions don't require a detailed answer, but at the minimum, you should be able to BS your way through most of these kinds of questions. You could have said "National health insurance"...or "food stamps" Or even "it's an unsolvable problem"

Other interviewers might cut you some slack.

At any rate, it's done and over with. Don't fuss about it.

We were talking about Obamacare and I was asked something along the lines of "There are people in this country who can only afford to pay either their health insurance premiums or their groceries but not both. What can be done about this problem?" I had absolutely no idea what to say so I pretty much just said I didn't know the answer. How acceptable was it for me to say this?
 

Promethean

Syncretist
5+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2014
3,366
5,796
Western PA
Status
Medical Student
If you really don't know, you are probably better to say so than to try to BS your way through it and end up sounding like you don't know what you are talking about.

But... it would still probably be better to say: You know, this is an interesting topic that I don't really know as much about as I'd like to. I do think it is important that blah blah blah, but I'm afraid I don't have too many answers about how to make that happen.

It is still saying "I don't know," but without a side of "and I don't care."
 

gonnif

Only 389 Days Until Next Presidential Election
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
20,497
31,232
The Big Bad Apple
Status
Non-Student
If you really don't know, you are probably better to say so than to try to BS your way through it and end up sounding like you don't know what you are talking about.

But... it would still probably be better to say: You know, this is an interesting topic that I don't really know as much about as I'd like to. I do think it is important that blah blah blah, but I'm afraid I don't have too many answers about how to make that happen.

It is still saying "I don't know," but without a side of "and I don't care."
Teacher: What is the difference between ignorance and apathy ?
Student: I dont know and I dont care
 

lpp06

5+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2012
1,098
2,021
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Really good doctors say "I don't know."

But really good doctors also know how to say that without coming across as lazy or ignorant. Ultimately your answer might have amounted to "I don't know" but I think there's a reasonable chance that you were able to demonstrate that you could think critically, see multiple sides of an issue, and maybe most importantly did not just ignorantly throw out a solution with no regard to the consequences. Paying for healthcare in America is a complicated issue and if there were an obvious solution, it would have already been implemented.

Asking this question in an interview is probably akin to a patient asking you "Do I have cancer?"
^^^^This^^^^

Not knowing is the basis of all scientific discovery, but it becomes the root of inquisitive inquiry.
 
Aug 26, 2016
153
105
57
Status
Attending Physician
We were talking about Obamacare and I was asked something along the lines of "There are people in this country who can only afford to pay either their health insurance premiums or their groceries but not both. What can be done about this problem?" I had absolutely no idea what to say so I pretty much just said I didn't know the answer. How acceptable was it for me to say this?
A recruiter told me once to avoid discussion of politics in an interview and gave an example of someone who wan't chosen and the suspected reason was because the individual praised Bush or something like that....which I think is the inherent risk with these kinds of questions if your political views are at odds with the interviewer.....tactfully skirting the issue is probably the safest answer which is similar to "I don't know" but show some evidence of understanding the issues without necessarily taking a strong stance on one side or the other.
 

ready2go2

5+ Year Member
Mar 29, 2013
364
550
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
We were talking about Obamacare and I was asked something along the lines of "There are people in this country who can only afford to pay either their health insurance premiums or their groceries but not both. What can be done about this problem?" I had absolutely no idea what to say so I pretty much just said I didn't know the answer. How acceptable was it for me to say this?
Going on a tangent here, but have you done your research and looked into what might have been a good answer?

I only ask as someone who this question is describing and feeling so shocked that you had not one clue how to answer this question....
 
OP
iforget2

iforget2

7+ Year Member
Jun 23, 2012
780
323
Status
Medical Student
Going on a tangent here, but have you done your research and looked into what might have been a good answer?

I only ask as someone who this question is describing and feeling so shocked that you had not one clue how to answer this question....
I'm just pretty bad at thinking on my feet, and I blanked out on this question. We were in the middle of talking about Obamacare and I was in the middle of defending it when he asked this question and I just didn't have a good reply. He seemed ok with me saying "I don't know", but it's hard to say
 

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,552
65,176
4th Dimension
This may depend upon the mood of the interviewer. Some questions don't require a detailed answer, but at the minimum, you should be able to BS your way through most of these kinds of questions. You could have said "National health insurance"...or "food stamps" Or even "it's an unsolvable problem"

Other interviewers might cut you some slack.

At any rate, it's done and over with. Don't fuss about it.
It's better to have an interviewee say "I don't know" than go on for five minutes about a topic that they clearly don't understand. Man, watching people crash and burn at the LECOM-B interview because they were so desperate to say something was painful.
 
Aug 26, 2016
153
105
57
Status
Attending Physician
I'm just pretty bad at thinking on my feet, and I blanked out on this question. We were in the middle of talking about Obamacare and I was in the middle of defending it when he asked this question and I just didn't have a good reply. He seemed ok with me saying "I don't know", but it's hard to say
Defending Obamacare was more damning than saying "I don't know" just kidding
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,660
78,953
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Very true.

Some question are just hard and "I don't know" is perfectly fine.

But I have personally seen people whiff at softballs too. Deer-in-the-headlights/dumb as posts.


It's better to have an interviewee say "I don't know" than go on for five minutes about a topic that they clearly don't understand. Man, watching people crash and burn at the LECOM-B interview because they were so desperate to say something was painful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Blessthefall

MDProspect

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2015
714
639
Status
Medical Student
@Goro
Would it have been appropriate to tell the interviewer that there is not a one-fix-all solution?

I'd formulate my response along the lines of that every instance should be evaluated on a case-by-case bases. If the person is a healthy individual then they should get a catastrophic health insurance plan, which has a very low premium, but an exorbitant deductible. If the person is impoverished and has an income that doesn't exceed the threshold of the poverty line, then they should apply for medicaid or medicare (if they are 65+). Also if they do fit into that category, then should apply for food stamps.
 
Aug 26, 2016
153
105
57
Status
Attending Physician
I'm just pretty bad at thinking on my feet, and I blanked out on this question. We were in the middle of talking about Obamacare and I was in the middle of defending it when he asked this question and I just didn't have a good reply. He seemed ok with me saying "I don't know", but it's hard to say
I'm just pretty bad at thinking on my feet, and I blanked out on this question. We were in the middle of talking about Obamacare and I was in the middle of defending it when he asked this question and I just didn't have a good reply. He seemed ok with me saying "I don't know", but it's hard to say
If you were defending Obamacare at the time he asked that question, it appears that he was trying to make the point that the effect of Obamacare has been high premiums and high deductibles causing people to have to chose between having coverage and eating.
 
S

Sardinia

It's uncanny that I was ranting about this in the Lounge.

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/mylan-epipen-price-hike.1219069/

It's a win for the goverment if this jacks up health insurance premiums across the board. I presume that a majority of people here come from fairly wealthy backgrounds. However, when you're running around maxing out credit cards and you have the crappiest bronze/silver tier plan that doesn't cover jack, you will cancel that garbage insurance for groceries in a heart beat. And when it comes to the healthcare penalty fee for not having that garbage bronze/silver tier plan that is now mandated for you to be considered a law abiding citizen, they will furnish your $695 from your tax returns as of 2016. In 2015, it was only $325. But we all know how price hikes go.

This country legitimately sickens me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Akewataru

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,660
78,953
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
For this question, I think that this is a very fine answer!

@Goro
Would it have been appropriate to tell the interviewer that there is not a one-fix-all solution?

I'd formulate my response along the lines of that every instance should be evaluated on a case-by-case bases. If the person is a healthy individual then they should get a catastrophic health insurance plan, which has a very low premium, but an exorbitant deductible. If the person is impoverished and has an income that doesn't exceed the threshold of the poverty line, then they should apply for medicaid or medicare (if they are 65+). Also if they do fit into that category, then should apply for food stamps.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MDProspect

tuco's revenge

2+ Year Member
Jul 10, 2016
184
339
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
A wise man once named Socrates once said "I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing." You should have said "I know nothing" to every question, not just that one.

In all seriousness, these issues are SO COMPLEX, with so many unforeseen consequences, obstacles, factors that not even the smartest politicians, social scientists, and economists can solve it. you can read papers on pubmed regarding these issues that will boggle your mind with data and studies, and still those smart people can't even unify to give a coherent answer. How could a (probably biology major) pre-med have the objectivity and knowledge to solve it? if you give a political answer or social solution that would be childish IMO. "umm yea... free healthcare and food stamps for all?"

you should have outlined the difficulty of addressing this issue first, then said "I don't know. its complex as ****. sorry lady/bro. your turn to answer"

You may have done a good thing by not pretending you know the answer, and to be fair, you did give the only right answer.
 
Last edited:

Law2Doc

5K+ Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2004
30,981
9,891
Status
Attending Physician
We were talking about Obamacare and I was asked something along the lines of "There are people in this country who can only afford to pay either their health insurance premiums or their groceries but not both. What can be done about this problem?" I had absolutely no idea what to say so I pretty much just said I didn't know the answer. How acceptable was it for me to say this?
There are questions where "I don't know is an acceptable answer". You should only get to this after mulling it over - it rarely should be your first response. However in this setting they weren't asking for you to give a factual answer but to express your thoughts on the subject, and discuss your reasoning. Everyone should be able to formulate an opinion. You don't get to say "I don't know" regarding questions like this where they are asking you to formulate an opinion and there's no right answer.
 

Law2Doc

5K+ Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2004
30,981
9,891
Status
Attending Physician
I'm just pretty bad at thinking on my feet...
Fix this fast. This is THE one skill you have to cultivate to do well in pretty much any profession, but especially medicine. Doctors ought to excel at this. It's part of the reason applications focus on things like "leadership" and how you handle stressful situations, and why all schools put so much weight on the interview. A big part of being a doctor is rapidly making smart decisions with often somewhat limited information - i.e. Thinking on your feet.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro

MDProspect

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2015
714
639
Status
Medical Student
A wise man once named Socrates once said "I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing." You should have said "I know nothing" to every question, not just that one.

In all seriousness, these issues are SO COMPLEX, with so many unforeseen consequences, obstacles, factors that not even the smartest politicians, social scientists, and economists can solve it. you can read papers on pubmed regarding these issues that will boggle your mind with data and studies, and still those smart people can't even unify to give a coherent answer. How could a (probably biology major) pre-med have the objectivity and knowledge to solve it? if you give a political answer or social solution that would be childish IMO. "umm yea... free healthcare and food stamps for all?"

you should have outlined the difficulty of addressing this issue first, then said "I don't know. its complex as ****. sorry lady/bro. your turn to answer"

You may have done a good thing by not pretending you know the answer, and to be fair, you did give the only right answer.
For posts like these, I wish there was a dislike option. This was a straightforward question that asked about a current healthcare issue, which you are supposed to know about. By saying, " I don't know", it shows that you were unprepared for the interview and you didn't even bother doing some quick Googling. This was not a philosophical question (i.e what's the meaning of life). They were discussing ACA and the answer should've mentioned some of the points of the Act that were designed to help the poor.

A) ACA expanded medicaid up to 400% of the poverty line, so people who were ineligible to get coverage are now able to get medicaid for free or with some low premium.
B) ACA created a market place that allows the person to shop around and pick a plan that they can afford and have money for groceries and healthcare.
C) ACA extended a dependent's coverage until the age of 26.
D) All workplaces with 50 or more employees must now provide medical coverage to its employees regardless of their income.
E) All plans (except grandfathered plans that will end in the end of 2017) must provide free preventive health services, hence if the individual is healthy and doesn't need to go to a hospital or medical services, it is feasible to get a catastrophic insurance (premiums are like $30/month).
F) The Supreme Court ruled that it's illegal for the federal govt to force medicaid expansion onto states that do not want to expand; thus, it is harder for an individual in those states to get healthcare services and they do not get punished for not having health insurance.
G)Under ACA, there is CHIP (Child Health Insurance Plan), which allows pregnant women to enroll into an insurance at anytime without having to wait for an enrollment period.
I) Some immigrants who cannot get health services due to the 5 year ban, can get govt health coverage if they become pregnant.

So some of the reasonable solutions are:
1) Get medicaid if you are eligible
2) Buy a low cost insurance plan that covers the basics
3) If you live in a state where you are not fined for not having health insurance, utilize free public clinics and city hospitals that offer low monthly payment plans ($5/month)
4) Find employment that provides health insurance
5) If you are under 26, you are eligible to be covered by your parents' insurance plan
6) If you are a pregnant woman then you have more options to get covered under ACA

So don't say that the only right answer was "I don't know". As a future physician, you are not expected to know everything about public health, but not knowing the basics is just unacceptable.
 
Last edited:

tuco's revenge

2+ Year Member
Jul 10, 2016
184
339
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
For posts like these, I wish there was a dislike option. This was a straightforward question that asked about a current healthcare issue, which you are supposed to know about. By saying, " I don't know", it shows that you were unprepared for the interview and you didn't even bother doing some quick Googling. This was not a philosophical question (i.e what's the meaning of life). They were discussing ACA and the answer should've mentioned some of the points of the Act that were designed to help the poor.

A) ACA expanded medicaid up to 400% of the poverty line, so people who were ineligible to get coverage are now able to get medicaid for free or with some low premium.
B) ACA created a market place that allows the person to shop around and pick a plan that they can afford and have money for groceries and healthcare.
C) ACA extended a dependent's coverage until the age of 26.
D) All workplaces with 50 or more employees must now provide medical coverage to its employees regardless of their income.
E) All plans (except grandfathered plans that will end in the end of 2017) must provide free preventive health services, hence if the individual is healthy and doesn't need to go to a hospital or medical services, it is feasible to get a catastrophic insurance (premiums are like $30/month).
F) The Supreme Court ruled that it's illegal for the federal govt to force medicaid expansion onto states that do not want to expand; thus, it is harder for an individual in those states to get healthcare services and they do not get punished for not having health insurance.
G)Under ACA, there is CHIP (Child Health Insurance Plan), which allows pregnant women to enroll into an insurance at anytime without having to wait for an enrollment period.
I) Some immigrants who cannot get health services due to the 5 year ban, can get govt health coverage if they become pregnant.

So some of the reasonable solutions are:
1) Get medicaid if you are eligible
2) Buy a low cost insurance plan that covers the basics
3) If you live in a state where you are not fined for not having health insurance, utilize free public clinics and city hospitals that offer low monthly payment plans ($5/month)
4) Find employment that provides health insurance
5) If you are under 26, you are eligible to be covered by your parents' insurance plan
6) If you are a pregnant woman then you have more options to get covered under ACA

So don't say that the only right answer was "I don't know". As a future physician, you are not expected to know everything about public health, but not knowing the basics is just unacceptable.
Whether I agree with you or not depends on what OPs interviewer meant to ask.

If the question was "How is Obamacare addressing this issue....". then yes, I agree. Tell them a few things.

If the question was "What can be done about this problem?" as in "What would YOU do to address this problem". Then I stand by my original post. "outline the difficulty of addressing this issue first, then said "I don't know. its complex as ****. sorry lady/bro. your turn to answer". A physician should know his place in society. It is not a physicians place to tell other professionals what to do, or to even pretend he has a valid opinion on these matters that clearly they are not professionals in. a physicians duty is to diagnose and treats illnesses, not pretend to be a social scientist, economist, politician, or public health engineer of any sort (all of whom design or study healthcare reform btw).

I earned my degree in public health, and wrote a paper on healthcare reform, so I'm familiar with "the basics of public health". But by studying the complexity of the system for years, I've only realized what a mess it is. Many people read the first 2 sentences of a wikipedia article on healthcare and then make extraordinary claims about it as if its so simple to solve "Oh food stamps....free healthcare for all..free tuition..free this, free that" "lets have an individual case by case system...etc etc" (not saying you did that though MDProspect) These are good statements that make people feel all fuzzy, warm, and loved inside but are statements made from not considering the multifaceted nature of the issue, one that we as pre-meds are in absolutely no position to meddle with.
 
Last edited:

Lucca

Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
Staff member
Administrator
5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
8,215
17,891
City of the Future
Status
Medical Student
Whether I agree with you or not depends on what OPs interviewer meant to ask.

If the question was "How is Obamacare addressing this issue....". then yes, I agree. Tell them a few things.

If the question was "What can be done about this problem?" as in "What would YOU do to address this problem". Then I stand by my original post. "outline the difficulty of addressing this issue first, then said "I don't know. its complex as ****. sorry lady/bro. your turn to answer". A physician should know his place in society. It is not a physicians place to tell other professionals what to do, or to even pretend he has a valid opinion on these matters that clearly they are not professionals in. a physicians duty is to diagnose and treats illnesses, not pretend to be a social scientist, economist, politician, or public health engineer of any sort (all of whom design or study healthcare reform btw).

I earned my degree in public health, and wrote a paper on healthcare reform, so I'm familiar with "the basics of public health". But by studying the complexity of the system for years, I've only realized what a mess it is. Many people read the first 2 sentences of a wikipedia article on healthcare and then make extraordinary claims about it as if its so simple to solve "Oh food stamps....free healthcare for all..free tuition..free this, free that" "lets have an individual case by case system...etc etc" (not saying you did that though MDProspect) These are good statements that make people feel all fuzzy, warm, and loved inside but are statements made from not considering the multifaceted nature of the issue, one that we as pre-meds are in absolutely no position to meddle with.
It seems like a really strict form of credentialism to say you can't have opinions on a problem that is by definition everyone's business because "it is not your place" or because you do not know absolutely everything there is to know. I don't think this question is meant to resolve all of our problems in 2 mins. It's to understand how you think and maybe elucidate some of your own principles.

Think about it this way, a water supply is contaminated and many people become sick as a result. Someone asks you, "Hey, what do you think we should do about this?", the answer shouldn't be limited to "Idk water supply systems are super complex and I'm not a water sanitation engineer." Even a "idk about water sanitation but probably we could do some things about it right away" is superior to just throwing your hands up, claiming "complexity", and then deferring emptily to authority.
 

redferrari

Membership Revoked
Removed
Account on Hold
2+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2014
580
1,059
Status
Medical Student
I said "I don't know the answer to your question, to be completely honest" in an interview last year, although the question was in a completely different context. I am now an M1 at the same school, so it didn't doom me. It shows honesty if you have the courage to admit you don't know an answer and is much amenable to rambling on something you have no clue about when your interviewer will probably be quick to catch on.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Blessthefall

MDProspect

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2015
714
639
Status
Medical Student
Whether I agree with you or not depends on what OPs interviewer meant to ask.

If the question was "How is Obamacare addressing this issue....". then yes, I agree. Tell them a few things.

If the question was "What can be done about this problem?" as in "What would YOU do to address this problem". Then I stand by my original post. "outline the difficulty of addressing this issue first, then said "I don't know. its complex as ****. sorry lady/bro. your turn to answer". A physician should know his place in society. It is not a physicians place to tell other professionals what to do, or to even pretend he has a valid opinion on these matters that clearly they are not professionals in. a physicians duty is to diagnose and treats illnesses, not pretend to be a social scientist, economist, politician, or public health engineer of any sort (all of whom design or study healthcare reform btw).

I earned my degree in public health, and wrote a paper on healthcare reform, so I'm familiar with "the basics of public health". But by studying the complexity of the system for years, I've only realized what a mess it is. Many people read the first 2 sentences of a wikipedia article on healthcare and then make extraordinary claims about it as if its so simple to solve "Oh food stamps....free healthcare for all..free tuition..free this, free that" "lets have an individual case by case system...etc etc" (not saying you did that though MDProspect) These are good statements that make people feel all fuzzy, warm, and loved inside but are statements made from not considering the multifaceted nature of the issue, one that we as pre-meds are in absolutely no position to meddle with.
Well, from what OP said, it's about what can be done to help the impoverished in terms of Obama care. There is no right answer or wrong answer because a lot of things can be done as mentioned. However, even if the question asked me how I can personally help, I would say something along the lines of volunteering my time at free clinics. You can get almost the same services as you would from a private practice, but most of these places are understaffed and need physicians. You can help the person by providing free services, which would allow them to choose a cheaper insurance plan and save money. A lot of doctors that I know, give out free samples that they get from pharma reps, to their patients who cannot afford the cost of the Rx. Giving out free meds also helps keep insurance costs down. You can also help by opening up a practice in a low-income area. You will be providing quality care to this person in their neighborhood. The poor usually have more complex stages of diseases than your average patient. Helping them make good life choices and promoting self-care is another way that will help the person. Also this method will cut down traveling costs, which they can use for groceries. Using fancy words like mutli-faceted does not help solve the problem. Schools are looking for a next generation of doctors who are thinkers and problem solvers; not someone who just says " I don't know" when they are presented with a challenge.
 

tuco's revenge

2+ Year Member
Jul 10, 2016
184
339
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Well, from what OP said, it's about what can be done to help the impoverished in terms of Obama care. There is no right answer or wrong answer because a lot of things can be done as mentioned. However, even if the question asked me how I can personally help, I would say something along the lines of volunteering my time at free clinics. You can get almost the same services as you would from a private practice, but most of these places are understaffed and need physicians. You can help the person by providing free services, which would allow them to choose a cheaper insurance plan and save money. A lot of doctors that I know, give out free samples that they get from pharma reps, to their patients who cannot afford the cost of the Rx. Giving out free meds also helps keep insurance costs down. You can also help by opening up a practice in a low-income area. You will be providing quality care to this person in their neighborhood. The poor usually have more complex stages of diseases than your average patient. Helping them make good life choices and promoting self-care is another way that will help the person. Also this method will cut down traveling costs, which they can use for groceries. Using fancy words like mutli-faceted does not help solve the problem. Schools are looking for a next generation of doctors who are thinkers and problem solvers; not someone who just says " I don't know" when they are presented with a challenge.
This is an excellent and honest answer since those things are within our power as future physicians. That's what I signed up for when I decided I want to be a doctor.
I guess you and I aren't too different after all MDProspect! my CARS score is rather low so I interpreted OPs question "What can be done about this problem" really as "what political/policy changes do you believe will fix this problem"?
 

Law2Doc

5K+ Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2004
30,981
9,891
Status
Attending Physician
I said "I don't know the answer to your question, to be completely honest" in an interview last year, although the question was in a completely different context. I am now an M1 at the same school, so it didn't doom me. It shows honesty if you have the courage to admit you don't know an answer and is much amenable to rambling on something you have no clue about when your interviewer will probably be quick to catch on.
Nah, you can never know that you didn't get in in spite of the idk response rather than get some benefit from it. The latter in my opinion is wishful thinking and spin. For all you know you were a slam dunk acceptance before your interview but ended up just squeaking by thanks to your unwillingness to take a stab at the question.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro

MDProspect

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2015
714
639
Status
Medical Student
This is an excellent and honest answer since those things are within our power as future physicians. That's what I signed up for when I decided I want to be a doctor.
I guess you and I aren't too different after all MDProspect! my CARS score is rather low so I interpreted OPs question "What can be done about this problem" really as "what political/policy changes do you believe will fix this problem"?
Don't say that. For all we know, I am the one who is wrong. I can't imagine a scenario where I don't know would suffice as an answer during the interview.
 
S

Sardinia

Medicine is the epitome of taking complex conditions, breaking them down into building blocks, and learning to rebuild the concepts back up again. The underlying question should not be what you think about X, Y, or Z when it comes to controversial policy issues. It comes down to whether you have a methodology to begin answering X, Y, or Z especially when you are completely stumped as to answering the question in its entirety. If you demonstrate that you can use facts or observations to build an answer then I don't feel that the response can implicate you so long as it's measured and logical.

My harsh response to @tuco's revenge stems from the fact that his presentation of his opinion strikes me as someone who just finished a degree in X field and feels like explaining the basics of the issue is too juvenile for them to actually answer seriously. This strikes me as heavily ironic from someone with a study in public health because the focus of almost all public policies is to discover and address the most basic root problems that have largely went unaddressed. And by "all" I mean the policies that come up on NPR during my morning commute, but I have a PhD in Public Policies so I know what I'm talking about.

As an Average Joe I would want @MDProspect to be my physician over @tuco's revenge if I were to sit down in a room with both of them and decide which one I would want to be my primary care physician. I would want a doctor who would break down all these points for me into simple pieces that I can understand without attempting to caveat that the medicine in actuality is too complex for anyone to really understand it. I know that. We all know that. And yet, we still need to find a solution.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Like
Reactions: Goro and MDProspect

njtrimed

ASA Member
5+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2014
599
499
Status
Medical Student
We were talking about Obamacare and I was asked something along the lines of "There are people in this country who can only afford to pay either their health insurance premiums or their groceries but not both. What can be done about this problem?" I had absolutely no idea what to say so I pretty much just said I didn't know the answer. How acceptable was it for me to say this?
I don't know, either. I'm a medical student and what you're describing was my situation when I applied and will be until I graduate and theoretically have better health insurance than I did working for a small company in the private sector. I personally would think your answer was legitimate. Those interviewing you may not understand that fully, though; they've had access to decent healthcare; it's one of the benefits of working for a university hospital. I suspect, however, that they're not ignorant about what most people are going through. I worked for the same company for years and was still held responsible for more than 30% of my pre-tax salary when I gave birth; I had to apply for charity care to cover what I could not. I am not a business or economics major. I have no idea what the solution is.

On the flip-side, I've had friends who had higher degrees in public health who have been grilled about their motives for going into medicine. They have better ideas than I do about how to deliver high-quality healthcare to everyone. So I would think that unless you're someone who has majored in business or public health, your interviewer is only probing you to find out what you think, but not expecting you to solve our healthcare problems. Realistically, nobody has solved this problem, so you're probably fine.
 
May 21, 2016
1,028
802
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
This may depend upon the mood of the interviewer. Some questions don't require a detailed answer, but at the minimum, you should be able to BS your way through most of these kinds of questions. You could have said "National health insurance"...or "food stamps" Or even "it's an unsolvable problem"

Other interviewers might cut you some slack.

At any rate, it's done and over with. Don't fuss about it.
I had my interviewer ask about PBL teaching styles and if I had experienced them. I had no idea so I said I was not familiar until they started describing what we did all the time in bio 2 lol I had just never heard it called by that name


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile