How smart are doctors? An interesting study published by the University of Wisconsin suggests that doctors (M.D or equiv O.D, dents, etc) have the highest IQ on average.
Though I’m not a huge supporter of IQ tests but I would say that most doctors are somewhat smart. However, I would further add that, having a high IQ does NOT make good doctor.
Being a good doctor requires more than just book smarts. It requires strong work ethics, commitment and clear communication skills. Understanding basic science and pathology requires you to be smart. Facing death and the sickness of others requires human compassion.
A often neglected, but perhaps more important measurement is Emotional intelligence. Doctors with high EQ care for their patients better.
Medicine is both a science and an art. Doctors have to understand bio-mechanisms and lab tests as well as human emotions and feelings. People who are aware of their own emotions and can empathize with others will be more likely to give excellent patient care.
Unfortunately, the ever increasing emphasis on test scores (GPA, MCAT, USMLE) may be a bad sign for our future doctors. We are increasing our IQ statistics but consistently neglecting our EQ measurements. Medical schools have acknowledged these problems and have begun pushing for more arts and humanities in medicine.
A higher EQ is beneficial for doctors too. A patient is more likely to trust their physician and disclose information if they know their thoughts and ideas will be respected. Even though medical knowledge is growing exponentially and as physicians, we will continually learn medicine, we must not neglect our emotional education either. Doctors treat patients, not diseases.