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Old 05-30-2013, 12:20 PM   #71
sir_pudding
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

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Originally Posted by DangerousThing View Post
Yes. Just remember that all things being equal, your doctor has a 50% chance of being in the lower half of his class. :(
Academic success doesn't really measure anything other than itself.
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:37 PM   #72
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

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Academic success doesn't really measure anything other than itself.
Which brings up the fact that many MD's likely have 12's in physiology and 11's in biology. If we treat medical school like "any other four year degree", at least give them credit for the four year degree they had previously.
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:47 PM   #73
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

I think part of the problem with this whole discussion is that there is often a substantial disconnect in most careers between the skills at graduation/certification and after a decade or two of practice. MD's finishing their residency are likely far MORE skilled in certain areas than they are ten years later, when they have perhaps specialized a bit more and farmed certain tasks out to residents and nurses.

I always think in terms of that graduation/certification moment because I think it is easier and more consistent to start from there and alter it based on a career path than it is to assume a career path and ignore the foundation that may have led to alternatives. For easier playability GURPS tends to focus on the mid-career professional, as they are more representative of the average - but this tends to ignore (and obfuscate) the many many variations.
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:24 PM   #74
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

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With due respect to our MDs here, an MD is not a PhD. The two differ significantly, in many ways. In sheer years, a PhD is typically more educated. In Canada, the MD is actually considered an undergraduate degree, awarded 3-4 years after an optional BSc, also earned in 3-4 years; the mean age of graduation is 25-26, depending on region. The PhD is a graduate degree earned after 3-4 years at the bachelor's level and 2-3 years at the master's level, and takes on average 5 years in itself; the mean age of graduation is >30, and 36 in the sciences most closely related to medicine. In sheer hours-to-skill-points terms, a PhD has 10 years on and higher skill levels than a green, unspecialized MD.
This is a big difference between the Canadian and American educational systems, then. In American, a PhD and an MD are pretty similar in terms of level of education. Getting an MD requires getting an undergraduate degree first. Many PhD programs, on the other hand, will take students who don't yet have their masters, though many will award a masters on the way to getting a PhD (that's how I got my masters, by dropping out of a PhD program). And these PhD programs still theoretically only take five years, though some people take much longer to write their dissertation. And that's ignoring the fact that in America, there's a culture of not considering MDs "real" doctors until they've completed a residency.
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Old 05-31-2013, 02:04 AM   #75
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

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Academic success doesn't really measure anything other than itself.
But academic failure likely does mean something, now, doesn't it? :)

Yes, I understand the argument that people who test well, well, test well. But (at least in my general field- the sciences) you also have to know the material. If you're a "good test taker" but don't know the material, then you will fail. Absolutely. Most people who truly shine on tests do so via obsessive study and knowing the material cold.

Granted, you can know the theory better than anyone else on Earth and still suck at taking a history or otherwise interacting with patients. Medical school doesn't each that- supposedly you pick it up in residency. This has been recognized as An Problem, and the powers that be are trying to change how it is taught.

But that's all a different issue.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the position that academic achievement is meaningless is utter crap. It's just as false as most other populist sentiments. Who wants Mike the Master Mason designing their 100-story skyscraper? Mike's a great guy, and very skilled, but he's no civil engineer. And I don't want Cyrus the Civil Engineer putting in my fireplace, either...

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Old 05-31-2013, 02:59 AM   #76
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

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But academic failure likely does mean something, now, doesn't it? :)
I don't know about that. I seem to know more about a lot of things than most people that haven't been trying to get a BS for twenty years (well, it will be twenty in September). I definitely seem to know more general Biology than my Primary Care Physician...
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:53 AM   #77
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

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I don't know about that. I seem to know more about a lot of things than most people that haven't been trying to get a BS for twenty years (well, it will be twenty in September). I definitely seem to know more general Biology than my Primary Care Physician...
So, are you trying to argue that academic success is meaningless? or what?

All I'm saying is that, taken literally, this is a ridiculous statement:

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Academic success doesn't really measure anything other than itself.
(My emphasis, clearly.)

Which I interpreted as something like "There is absolutely no relationship between a persons intelligence or knowledge base and the degree to which they excell academically. People who excell academically are just good at taking tests and otherwise gaming the system." Which is hogwash. So, if that's not what you meant then what did you mean?

One must have a knowledge base to succeed in academics. Yes, clearly some are for instance better test-takers than others, but you aren't going to "strategize" your way into an A if you know little or nothing about the subject, unless one is taking tests of a seriously flawed design. (I.e. Who deveolped the first safe thyroidectomy? A- Puppies, B-Existentialism, or C-Dr. Theodore Kocher?) Hmm- how would one design a test to evaluate someone's test-taking acumen that didn't involve some sort of knowledge base? Interesting thought... But the things you learn in "test-taking strategy" courses are only good for a few points here and there, IMO.

Are there tools in academia? Sure- but they're still tools who know quite a bit. And, yes, there are "nutty professors" wandering around. And intelligent and accomplished people can have some very wingnut beliefs. But academic performance is nonetheless a good metric. Not perfect, because no metric is, but good.

Also, am I saying that anyone without a master's degree is an imecile? Clearly not! Getting a degree is just a way to prove- to a certain degree of confidence- a certian degree of knowledge in a subject area. So, does having a master's degree mean that you a world expert in everything? Pfft. But you have proven some knowledge of your field. I.e. you have been measured, to use your phraseology. Someone with a master's in biochemistry has proven that he understands the Krebs Cycle. Whether he retains that is another matter. Can an underachieving high-school dropout be more "intelligent" or "learned" than the guy with the master's? Yes. Especially if you're not concerned with the breadth of his knowledge and less about the depth in the other guy's master's area. But he likely hasn't proven it. And, then there are just people who are geniuses or savants. I'm sure, for instance, that there is some hacker out there who has never taken a college course in his life but knows more about system administration than someone who just decided to get a comsci bachelors because he thought it would make for a decent career but who really doesn't have any interest in it nor talent for it.

Looked at another way- you have a group of ten people with comsci degrees and ten without. Knowing nothing else about them, from which pool would you rather randomly pick someone to run your server? Aha, see- the academic "measuring" does mean something, doesn't it?

Anyway, even if you have been failing classes (I have no idea why it's taking you 20 years, and will not speculate) you're still making the error of normalizing yourself. You may not be normal. So, yes, I'll stand by my statement that in general those who get high scores deserve them- that grades are not distributed in a pseudorandom manner. Well, except in the humanities, of course... :P

I'd say that your claim to have better biology knowledge than your doc is also specious to the point. Clearly. First, N=1 is a bad data set. More importantly, we can't all be experts at everything. (Except in GURPS: Black Ops, of course.) You're always going to be able to find something you know more about than any other random person- especially since I know you to be a typical GURPS forums trivia-sponge.

P.S- Medical school doesn't have a biology class, though most do have two semesters of biology as an admission requirement, and considering what my freshman bio was like it isn't surprising that your doc doesn't know what a pinniped is. Freshman bio is basic stuff- cells, etc. What was his bachelors degree? I had a guy in my medical school class who was a violin major (and played professionally before deciding to go to med school). How much general biology do you suppose he knows?

Last edited by acrosome; 05-31-2013 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:51 AM   #78
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

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Hmm- how would one design a test to evaluate someone's test-taking acumen that didn't involve some sort of knowledge base? Interesting thought...
If you can think of a way, the guys who've been trying to devise cultural independent IQ tests for a century now would really like to hear from you....

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But the things you learn in "test-taking strategy" courses are only good for a few points here and there, IMO.
Yes and no. There are real skills (I've proposed using Games (Standardized Tests) before) involved in taking tests. And one of them is recognizing what in the material you are supposed to be learning is testable enough there might be a question on it, and which is hard enough to measure that there won't be. The test master can skip learning the stuff in that second category and expect to pass, the guy who's really good at the skill may consider it the most important part.
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Old 05-31-2013, 10:36 AM   #79
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

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Yes and no. There are real skills (I've proposed using Games (Standardized Tests) before) involved in taking tests. And one of them is recognizing what in the material you are supposed to be learning is testable enough there might be a question on it, and which is hard enough to measure that there won't be. The test master can skip learning the stuff in that second category and expect to pass, the guy who's really good at the skill may consider it the most important part.
Data point: That's the standard way to pass doctoral preliminary examinations in physics – people can and everyone eventually does "game" such tests. The fact that they're comprehensive is exploitable . . . you will almost certainly be capable enough at just a few subfields that you can focus on those to the complete exclusion of others, tackle each section of the exam with a little room to spare, and do well enough to get whatever grade is a pass that year. People who are good at this game teach the skill to others, and there are even texts on this subject from reputable university presses (in the U.S.A., mostly, so this isn't just some Canadian thing). This is probably morally defensible, because nobody actually expects a PhD-level physicist to be a generalist, but it does put the lie to such exams as a demonstration of one's general grasp of physics.

I passed my exam on the first attempt, with an unadjusted grade of 84%, by playing the game. People I knew who actually tried to study everything failed and had to resubmit, as did those who focused on just their own field. Most of the former group eventually specialized a little more and passed, while most of the latter group broadened their focus some and also passed. As for me, playing that game is certainly one of the factors that contributed to me graduating with a good knowledge of mathematical physics, particle physics, and quantum physics, at best an undergraduate-level grasp of classical mechanics, electrodynamics, nuclear physics, relativity, and solid-state physics, and no understanding at all of acoustics, astrophysics, fluid dynamics, geophysics, or optics save for where that overlapped the stuff I was good at.
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Old 05-31-2013, 10:48 AM   #80
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Default Re: What level Physician skill should an MD have?

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Anyway, even if you have been failing classes (I have no idea why it's taking you 20 years, and will not speculate) you're still making the error of normalizing yourself. You may not be normal. So, yes, I'll stand by my statement that in general those who get high scores deserve them- that grades are not distributed in a pseudorandom manner. Well, except in the humanities, of course... :P
Knowing sir_pudding IRL, I'd peg his IQ around 13; he's obviously bright. I'm not going to attempt to determine how much of this is actually from Talents, or whether he has adjusted Will, social disads, etc. I can't speak to his academic performance, but I suspect he hasn't been failing classes so much as fitting them into his life as he can.

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There are real skills (I've proposed using Games (Standardized Tests) before) involved in taking tests. And one of them is recognizing what in the material you are supposed to be learning is testable enough there might be a question on it, and which is hard enough to measure that there won't be. The test master can skip learning the stuff in that second category and expect to pass, the guy who's really good at the skill may consider it the most important part.
I think you might be overstating this. There are definitely classes where you can guess what the "real" test material is and ignore the rest. There are also classes where you are actually expected to know ALL the material presented and use that knowledge to synthesize the test answers.
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