Alexandra Printz was honored to be accepted into the University of South Florida College of Medicine last year, but she had her eye on something else.
She’d heard about a new kind of doctor training USF planned to offer, other than its traditional medical school. She wanted it so intensely, she was terrified when she finally got a chance to interview.
The interviewers weren’t focused on her knowledge of anatomy or organic chemistry. She’d already proven that. Instead, they probed for evidence of her compassion, personal values and ability to lead – her emotional intelligence.
She’s now one of the first 19 students in what USF calls its SELECT program. It’s the result of an idea medical college Dean Stephen Klasko began working on 15 years ago, while he was earning a masters of business administration at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
“We’ve created a lot of doctors that are like House,” he said of the brilliant but caustic television doctor. They get into medical school based on their science grades and performance on standardized tests, “then we wonder why they’re not more empathetic.”
Many of them also lack the skills they need to survive in today’s turbulent health care environment, Klasko said.
USF chose Printz and the 18 others through an interview process it devised with the help of Teleos Leadership Institute, based in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Among the aspirations listed on its website: “We want to change the world.”
Teleos founders, two Wharton professors, have studied leadership and identified its essential parts.
High on the list are self-awareness, awareness of others, empathy and the ability to be flexible and guide people amid change.
Though she was counseled not to say too much about the interview process, Printz recalled being asked about what she wanted to accomplish and what made her think she’d succeed.
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