Does personality matter? Perceptions of introverts as general surgeons
LE3 .A278 2019
Master of Education
Curriculum Studies for Health Interprofessionals
Few describe how medical trainees with different personalities succeed within the same specialties. Considering that surgeons are stereotypically dominant, aggressive, andextraverted, this study sought to explore how introverts experience, and are perceived in, surgical training and practice. Using constructivist grounded theory, we invited 16 general surgeons and residents to complete personality questionnaires and individual semi-structured interviews. An iterative coding process led to two patterns of responses. One group saw few differences in how introverts and extraverts experience surgical training. However, another thought that introverts appeared less assertive, confident, and decisive than extraverts; unless these trainees forced themselves to act more extraverted, participants thought this would interfere with patient care. The existence of two contrasting perceptions of surgical culture refines our understanding of how trainees are socialized in medicine. Students could benefit from reflecting on the challenges that come from pursuing specialties in which they don’t initially seem to “fit.”
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