January 20, 2011

but what KIND of smart are you?

Question: What kind of smart are you? And maybe more importantly, what kind do you want to be/your kids to be?

First, a rebuttal from David Brooks to Amy Chua's Tiger Mother approach, called "Amy Chua is a Wimp" here. The essence of his opinion is that learning how to most effectively function in a group is one of the most important types of intelligence - because it leads to the best collective intelligence, and collective intelligence is how we actually solve problems today. Best line?

"Practicing a piece of music for four hours requires focused attention, but it is nowhere near as cognitively demanding as a sleepover with 14-year-old girls."

This is even more interesting to me because on a run with a friend yesterday we talked about the 7 (or 9, depending on the source) types of intelligence , including: spatial, linguistic, logical-mathematical, body-kinesthetic, musical, intrapersonal, interpersonal, naturalistic, existential - and which ones we appreciate in our lives right now, both in a success in medical school and in a more holistic way. Each type of intelligence has careers associated with it - for example, naturalistic intelligence fits well with farmers and guides, body-kinesthetic intelligence fits well with professional athletes, logical-mathematical fits with engineering, etc. Physicians, however, seem to need all of them (including musical, if you read any Oliver Saks, or have any interest in heart or respiratory sounds, which most physicians do).

One of the physicians I admire the most in my own life once said that she thought her best talent as a physician came from this "sort of sixth sense about people" - meaning, whether they had something serious going on or not, how to ask questions that would bring out relevant information, etc. Having more experience in the clinical setting, I can see how that might be THE most important type of skill for a physician. A common phrase in medicine is that "90 percent of the diagnosis is in the history", meaning that if you just listen to your patient, they'll tell you everything that's wrong with them. But the unsaid things are A) you have to ask the right questions, and B) you have to know what you're listening for. These are things they teach us the basic framework for in medical school, but there are some physicians who have a seemingly innate feel for it, while others have to work really hard or have to use other skills to compensate.

in my life, I just completed our end of all classes EVER assessment of if we can do a full physical exam on a mock patient - and they look at all the nitty gritty. I always get a little lost in exam and forget that the person is a mock patient, but maybe that's all for the best anyways.

and now, a few hours of studying before trying to do some yoga to stretch out those cranked study muscles, and get to bed at a somewhat decent hour for the first time all week (heyyy late night ultimate winter league)

and for fun, and because I've somewhat started watching Glee, check out this new cover.
Medicine is learned by the bedside and not in the classroom. Let not your conceptions of disease come from words heard in the lecture room or read from the book. See, and then reason and compare and control. But see first.”
-William Olser

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