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Vorlesung im Ian K. Karan-Hörsaal Campus Lehre © Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)

Interviews predict medical students' skills

Multiple mini-interviews can predict prospective doctors' psychosocial skills

Medical students who do well in multiple mini-interviews (MMI) are more likely to be successful during internships e.g. at general practitioners and at exams later, a study by the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) has found. The results of the study have been published in BMC Medical Education Monday (May 14, 2018).

Multiple mini-interviews

In 2009, UKE introduced multiple mini-interviews to measure applicants’ psychosocial skills for university places. Five-minute evaluations of applicants were conducted at nine different stations. The tests focused on applicants’ communicative and social skills in a doctor-patient conversation with a patient portrayed by an actor. This resulted in an overall picture composed of many individual assessments by different evaluators and allowed for a more objective evaluation than classical interviews.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hampe, head of the UKE Selection Procedure working group, noted: “The results show that UKE’s great efforts in student selection are worthwhile. The interviews helped us find competent students who are able to deal well with patients in the first semesters of our iMED model course. At the same time, the study shows that we are well prepared for the new laws on selecting students for medical studies.”

Growing importance of social and communicative skills

The study was carried out as part of the “Medicine Selection Procedure” sub-project at the University College Hamburg, which has received EUR 536,000 euros in funds from the German Ministry of Education and Research. The UKE working group on selection procedures has applied for further funding with universities in Augsburg, Charité Berlin, Göttingen, Heidelberg, Münster and Saarbrucken.

The Kultusministerkonferenz Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs has drafted new laws on selecting medical students since the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled last December that the numerus clausus in medicine was only conditionally compatible with the basic right to free choice of education. The “Master Plan Medical Studies 2020” requires, among others, the inclusion of social and communicative skills in the selection process.

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