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LowlyPremed

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How is religion viewed in medicine? I'm from a protestant christian background(but I'm not a fundamentalist). Religion has influenced my life but I'm not sure if I should ever mention religion.
Thanks
 

DrBowtie

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Don't mention religion, politics, lifestyle, sexual history unless it is explicitly asked. There is absolutely no reason to shoot yourself in the foot if you get an extremist interviewer.
 

_J_

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i agree with the above

stay on the safe side and don't mention religion
 

Geronimo

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LowlyPremed said:
How is religion viewed in medicine? I'm from a protestant christian background(but I'm not a fundamentalist). Religion has influenced my life but I'm not sure if I should ever mention religion.
Thanks
Be careful around here. You might get shot! Or perhaps you are trolling?!?
 

JasmoneLUMC

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If you're interested in this topic some more, check out this month's issue of Virtual Mentor: The Ethics Journal of the Amer. Med. Assn.

The issue theme is: "The Role of Faith in the Patient-Physician Relationship"

www.virtualmentor.org
 

g3pro

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JasmoneLUMC said:
If you're interested in this topic some more, check out this month's issue of Virtual Mentor: The Ethics Journal of the Amer. Med. Assn.

The issue theme is: "The Role of Faith in the Patient-Physician Relationship"

www.virtualmentor.org

Wow, very good site! :thumbup:
 

BaylorGuy

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Is this really the case??? Should i really not even consider thinking about touching religion in my PS. I dont mean to be an ass, but religion has been a very large influence in my life and i'd hate to squander away a perfectly good paragraph in my PS because the topic of religion is taboo?? Can anyone help?
 

DoctorFunk

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BaylorGuy said:
Is this really the case??? Should i really not even consider thinking about touching religion in my PS. I dont mean to be an ass, but religion has been a very large influence in my life and i'd hate to squander away a perfectly good paragraph in my PS because the topic of religion is taboo?? Can anyone help?

I did not mention anything about religion in my application, but I would only mention it if you had extracurriculars that help explain further the active role of faith in your life and felt completely comfortable answering any (and I do mean ANY) questions that interviewers feel like asking you about how you feel religion will influence your future career as a physician--e.g. your stances on euthanasia and abortion.
 

virilep

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LowlyPremed said:
How is religion viewed in medicine? I'm from a protestant christian background(but I'm not a fundamentalist). Religion has influenced my life but I'm not sure if I should ever mention religion.
Thanks
I don't know if you did a thread search... but about 3 months ago.. maybe longer, I started a thread with the same topic. you get people in here like PD and some other peeps and you'll have an all out battle ROYALE. so... just warnin ya. religion and medicine mix but with the right type of situation. anyhow..i can forecast this is gonna be a multiple page thread unless it's closed.
 

Code Brown

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BaylorGuy said:
Is this really the case??? Should i really not even consider thinking about touching religion in my PS. I dont mean to be an ass, but religion has been a very large influence in my life and i'd hate to squander away a perfectly good paragraph in my PS because the topic of religion is taboo?? Can anyone help?

You run the risk of getting a non-religious reader who might toss your app for that reason. Save it for your secondaries.
 

g3pro

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BaylorGuy said:
Is this really the case??? Should i really not even consider thinking about touching religion in my PS. I dont mean to be an ass, but religion has been a very large influence in my life and i'd hate to squander away a perfectly good paragraph in my PS because the topic of religion is taboo?? Can anyone help?

ADCOMs actually do really like physicians who have a strong spiritual foundation in their lives. While I'm unsure how I should approach discussing it in my personal statements, I think I will wait until secondaries to approach it. I don't want to give ADCOMs a quick excuse to throw away my app. My faith drives my life, and I'd love to talk about it at the interview. I still have time to figure it all out.

But if it is the same case for you, do not hide your faith! It can be intimidating, but the AMA surveys in the link above show about 80% physicians or so who have spirituality as major force in their lives.
 

Code Brown

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g3pro said:
But if it is the same case for you, do not hide your faith! It can be intimidating, but the AMA surveys in the link above show about 80% physicians or so who have spirituality as major force in their lives.

80% of patients have spirituality as a major force in their lives, not physicians. With physicians, this number is a lot lower (less than 50%, probably more like 20%). Anyway, the point is that even at 20%, it's still a big chunk of the physician population.

Btw, the surveys on this link only had 41 respondents so I would ignore them.
 

BaylorGuy

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Ok, so i've decided to try and cut as much out about religion as i can...however, i helped start a free clinic up at the local mosque...which is inextricably tied to the muslim faith...is there anyway to get around this??

I'm a re-applicant....and my first PS was pretty god heavy (i think some of the southern baptist persona at baylor rubbed off on me...damn them). However, as i'm re-writing it, i briefly mention religion in how it has helped mold me into the person that i've become today....then digresses into the free-clinic as well as the time i spent as a youth teacher/mentor. What should i do???
 

OSUdoc08

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BaylorGuy said:
Ok, so i've decided to try and cut as much out about religion as i can...however, i helped start a free clinic up at the local mosque...which is inextricably tied to the muslim faith...is there anyway to get around this??

I'm a re-applicant....and my first PS was pretty god heavy (i think some of the southern baptist persona at baylor rubbed off on me...damn them). However, as i'm re-writing it, i briefly mention religion in how it has helped mold me into the person that i've become today....then digresses into the free-clinic as well as the time i spent as a youth teacher/mentor. What should i do???

If you are applying to schools in Texas, I'd bring up some protestant stuff---you don't want them thinking you are a Muslim unless you really are one.
 

Gut Shot

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BaylorGuy said:
What should i do???

As an atheist, I classify religious types into two broad categories. The first group is the sort that reminds you of that old lady who lived down the street. The one who went to church twice a week, volunteered in the local soup kitchen, kept an ample stash of ribbon candy on her credenza, and never said a bad word about anybody. You know, the kind of person who could possess moral conviction without turning into a judgmental ass. Someone who actually makes you want to be a better person yourself. A rarity, in other words.

The remainder are just dead armadillos on the road to this guy.

So your job, which is delicate, is to convince the reader of your PS that you fall into the former category.
 

Psycho Doctor

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DoctorFunk said:
I did not mention anything about religion in my application, but I would only mention it if you had extracurriculars that help explain further the active role of faith in your life and felt completely comfortable answering any (and I do mean ANY) questions that interviewers feel like asking you about how you feel religion will influence your future career as a physician--e.g. your stances on euthanasia and abortion.
yea i listed it in my ECs b/c it does compose a large part of who I am and what I do. several interviewers asked me about it and i don't think it hurt in any way. But do be careful when discussing emotionally fueled controversial topics like euthanasia and abortion. I will not deny or apologize for my beliefs but i did not make a strong stand on issues i know may cause a problem on an interview.
 

Psycho Doctor

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virilep said:
I don't know if you did a thread search... but about 3 months ago.. maybe longer, I started a thread with the same topic. you get people in here like PD and some other peeps and you'll have an all out battle ROYALE. so... just warnin ya. religion and medicine mix but with the right type of situation. anyhow..i can forecast this is gonna be a multiple page thread unless it's closed.
uh i'm not getting into any battle and i have not done that in a long time...did i actually ever do that on this board? i thought i learned my lesson on other boards. :oops:
 

Babooshka

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BaylorGuy said:
Is this really the case??? Should i really not even consider thinking about touching religion in my PS. I dont mean to be an ass, but religion has been a very large influence in my life and i'd hate to squander away a perfectly good paragraph in my PS because the topic of religion is taboo?? Can anyone help?

Naw dude if religion is such a big part of your life you have an obligation to the medical school (and the G word) to be honest about it. If a school really has a bias against your religiousity, then that school is worthless. If religiousness is a big deal for you, why would you censor that instead of passing up on some medical schools? If you're willing to sell-out on such a sacred thing, then maybe you should question your religiousity to begin with. Baylorguy, you exist, and you exist in a specific way. Med schools can take it or leave it. :thumbup:
Certainly not all medical schools will look unfavorably upon it anyways.
 

nicholonious

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Has anyone heard about Loma Linda Med School? I heard they're religiously tied and insist on NOT performing abortions. This is word of mouth, so don't take it as the truth.
 

DrRads101

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I mentioned God and the role of faith in my life in my AMCAS PS that went out to every school, and got into almost every school I applied to.
 

freaker

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I mentioned my faith in my personal statement. While I spent the initial part of my essay explaining my gradual shifts in perspective, I used my faith to tie things together at the very end. I went through a major change in direction in my life before heading to med school , and I think mentioning my faith helped explain why I left a pretty prestigious law school to attend medical school:

Luke12:48 reads, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” I look to this command (for who could see it otherwise?), to the image of a man upon a cross, and to all those humans who have dedicated themselves towards the service of the human spirit before me, and I cannot doubt my course.

Just an example. I built up to this point, but it was my way of saying that faith is a major guide in my life. (I didn't say it, but it was probably the single factor that most strongly pushed me towards medicine).

I can tell you that I had interviewers in 5 of my 7 interviews comment favorably on the fact that mentioned my faith in my personal statement. I wouldn't worry about mentioning it, particularly if you're applying to schools where a large majority of patients will have religious beliefs (read: practically anywhere in the US). Just be sure the focus is on you, on your motivations, but feel free to show how faith has moulded you. If you keep it personal, you can't offend anyone.
 

NPursuit

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I see no reason to. Not that I think there are very many fundamentalists in this country, anyway. Lots of evangelicals and conservative Christians. But fundamentalists? I don't know. Just a growing annoyance I have with evangelicals being tagged with a "dirty" word like fundamentalist when they take any form of moral stand, when in reality, they're far from fundamentalists.

Anyway, here's a breakdown on the role of faith in physicians. It's actually more promiment than I thought (though I thought 20% was way low-balling it).

Paul Prather
herald-leader contributing columnist
Ad Astra

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Doctors often operate on faith

A national survey of nearly 1,100 physicians offers a couple of revelations about doctors' views on faith, prayer and miracles.

First, it shows that physicians -- although educated in the empirical sciences -- are far more religious personally and more open professionally to the possibility of divine intervention than you might expect.

Seventy-four percent of U.S. doctors believe divine miracles have occurred, and 73 percent believe they can occur today. Surprisingly, 55 percent say they've seen medical results in patients that they could describe only as miracles.

Second, the survey shows that, despite this general finding, doctors of differing spiritual traditions vary widely in their views of religion's importance in their own lives or in their medical practices. Those polled included various types of Christians and Jews, as well as Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and unspecified others.

"I was initially surprised" by the overall depth of physicians' religious beliefs, said Alan Mittleman, a professor of philosophy at the seminary and-director of the Finkelstein-Institute. I spoke with him by phone.

But the more he pondered the survey's findings, the more sense they made, he said: "Doctors are not just people working with white coats in labs. They work at the intersection of life and death."

You can see detailed results of the poll at the Jewish seminary's Web site: www.jtsa.edu/ research/finkelstein. Click on "public interest surveys."

Here are a few of the findings:

• Of 1,087 doctors surveyed, 61.5 percent identify themselves as belonging to some category of Christianity (divided by the pollsters into Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and other Christian). Nearly one-fourth say they're Jewish.

• Of all doctors, 34.1 percent are "literal" believers in the tenets of their faiths; 65.9 percent are "liberal" members.

• Most likely to visit a house of worship daily or weekly: Orthodox Jews, 82.3 percent. By comparison, 53 percent of Protestants attend services at least once a week. Eleven percent of all physicians never worship at a church, synagogue, temple or mosque.

• Overall, 46 percent of doctors say prayer is "very important" in their personal and professional lives. Among Muslims, 66.7 percent say it's very important; among Orthodox Jews, 76.5 percent; among Orthodox Christians, 70 percent.

• Among Orthodox Jews, 82.4 percent frequently read religious texts; 86 percent of Reform Jews don't.

• About 60 percent of Protestant and Orthodox Christians think the Bible's accounts of miracles, such as the parting of the Red Sea, are literally true, but only 35.4 percent of Roman Catholic doctors think so.

• The vast majority of Christian doctors pray for patients, including 71.3 percent of Roman Catholics, 76.5 percent of Protestants and 81.6 percent of other Christians. Among physicians who describe themselves as Jewish by culture but not actively observant in their faith, nine in 10 don't pray for patients.

• Three-fourths of Orthodox Christians and other Christians say they've seen patients receive miraculous healings.
 

Booyakasha

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If I were reviewing an application that referenced something religious in just about every sentence, I would not like it too much. Just make sure that if you use it, don't over-do it. Show who you are, but don't shove it in their faces. Even though I am pro-choice, very liberal on most other issues (except on the economy) and don't really believe in a personal God, I probably will not stress those things too much, if at all. To play the game, it's necessary to tone it down a little and not get too into issues which deeply divide people.
 

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Babooshka said:
Naw dude if religion is such a big part of your life you have an obligation to the medical school (and the G word) to be honest about it.

I agree that addressing one's faith, if important to the applicant, is completely appropriate. But there are many ways to approach it, some of which will prove beneficial and others which will not. Expressing one's faith and conviction is great, but I have no doubt that some highly religious applicants will do themselves a disservice by climbing on soapboxes in their PS's.

Booyashka is correct, med school admissions are a game, and a bizarre game created by men. If you have the credentials, you can play the game wisely, gain an acceptance and become a physician. Before long this whole process will seem like childhood nightmares: vague and unpleasant, but no longer affecting your day-to-day life.
 

Psycho Doctor

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NPursuit said:
I see no reason to. Not that I think there are very many fundamentalists in this country, anyway. Lots of evangelicals and conservative Christians. But fundamentalists? I don't know. Just a growing annoyance I have with evangelicals being tagged with a "dirty" word like fundamentalist when they take any form of moral stand, when in reality, they're far from fundamentalists.

uh don't stereotype all fundamentalists. they are sincere in their beliefs but don't label them as dirty just b/c you oppose their beliefs.
 

Psycho Doctor

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Booyakasha said:
If I were reviewing an application that referenced something religious in just about every sentence, I would not like it too much. Just make sure that if you use it, don't over-do it. Show who you are, but don't shove it in their faces. Even though I am pro-choice, very liberal on most other issues (except on the economy) and don't really believe in a personal God, I probably will not stress those things too much, if at all. To play the game, it's necessary to tone it down a little and not get too into issues which deeply divide people.
that's your perspective b/c you don't believe in God; however one who does would look at it positively rather than negatively would encourage one to mention it. Likewise one who flaunts their homosexual lifestyle would be looked upon favorably by someone who agrees with it and negatively by one who does not. It all depends on the reader and their perspective. Therefore to be safe you need to draw a fair balance or know your reader.
 

Psycho Doctor

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Booyakasha said:
If I were reviewing an application that referenced something religious in just about every sentence, I would not like it too much. Just make sure that if you use it, don't over-do it. Show who you are, but don't shove it in their faces. Even though I am pro-choice, very liberal on most other issues (except on the economy) and don't really believe in a personal God, I probably will not stress those things too much, if at all. To play the game, it's necessary to tone it down a little and not get too into issues which deeply divide people.
that's your perspective b/c you don't believe in God; however one who does would look at it positively rather than negatively would encourage one to mention it. Likewise one who flaunts their homosexual lifestyle would be looked upon favorably by someone who agrees with it and negatively by one who does not. It all depends on the reader and their perspective. Therefore to be safe you need to draw a fair balance or know your reader.
 

NPursuit

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Psycho Doctor said:
uh don't stereotype all fundamentalists. they are sincere in their beliefs but don't label them as dirty just b/c you oppose their beliefs.

Psycho, I didn't label them as dirty (although my post wasn't as clear as it could be; I didn't want this thread to get off topic, but I did want to address a recent annoyance of mine). If you'll look at my post, I used the term "dirty" in quotations. I also asked why the OP felt it necessary to pre-appologize for fundamentalists.

In short, I was asking why he felt he needed to clarify he wasn't a fundamentalist. Of course, I'm willing to bet it's because certain factions of our society have made the term "fundamentalist" a dirty word. And it's being tacked onto anyone who makes a sweeping statement on morality.

It's a classification that I personally see no reason to take part in. Also, as a clarification, I'd say that I have essentially the same beliefs as most fundamentlists, though we do have differences in interpretation. In short, I was actually trying to come across as the exact opposite of how you understood me. Oops.

Continue as you were, people.
 

Psycho Doctor

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NPursuit said:
Psycho, I didn't label them as dirty (although my post wasn't as clear as it could be; I didn't want this thread to get off topic, but I did want to address a recent annoyance of mine). If you'll look at my post, I used the term "dirty" in quotations. I also asked why the OP felt it necessary to pre-appologize for fundamentalists.

In short, I was asking why he felt he needed to clarify he wasn't a fundamentalist. Of course, I'm willing to bet it's because certain factions of our society have made the term "fundamentalist" a dirty word. And it's being tacked onto anyone who makes a sweeping statement on morality.

It's a classification that I personally see no reason to take part in. Also, as a clarification, I'd say that I have essentially the same beliefs as most fundamentlists, though we do have differences in interpretation. In short, I was actually trying to come across as the exact opposite of how you understood me. Oops.

Continue as you were, people.

my apologies then, i guess i should have addressed my comment to the OP. I just get sick of people being somewhat acceptable of Christians as long as they are not those "dirty" fundamentalists. I personally agree with much of their beliefs since that is what God says in His word; however i do not believe in some of their tactics or their promotors like Jerry Falwell
 

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Psycho Doctor said:
that's your perspective b/c you don't believe in God; however one who does would look at it positively rather than negatively would encourage one to mention it. Likewise one who flaunts their homosexual lifestyle would be looked upon favorably by someone who agrees with it and negatively by one who does not. It all depends on the reader and their perspective. Therefore to be safe you need to draw a fair balance or know your reader.

One thing you can count on is that physicians deal with a lot of different types of people, and ideally they have to do so in a uniformly caring and compassionate manner. This often involves laying aside one's personal beliefs in order the do what is best for the patient. It also requires being able to look at life from a variety of perspectives, perhaps conflicting, and generally be non-judgmental (unless whipping out some paternalistic practice methodology is warranted).

If an adcom has reservations about applicants that appear staunchly religious and/or inflexible in their beliefs, perhaps this is the root of it.
 

LowlyPremed

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I did not mean to offend anyone when I wrongfully used the term "fundamentalist." So, I'm sorry. Everyone is entitled to his/her beliefs. What I was trying to convey is that I don't believe that people should impose their beliefs on others. As a physician, I would use religion to guide my practice but I do not accept everthing my church believes as absolute. I have liberal views when it comes to subjects such as abortion.
 

BaylorGuy

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I'm kind of agree with freaker. I mean, I'm not a huge religious person but it has influenced the way that i have thought about things. Its almost given me some stimulus to practice medicine...not for the fact that i'm spreading God's will and all, but because i really dig the whole humanity part that is common among religions. i briefly mention religion, then kind of go into a diatribe about what it has done to influence my decision....but nothing like "god told me in a dream that i'm going to be a doctor, thus you have to take me or god will smite you." i'd be afraid...very afraid.
 
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