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How Smart are Medical Doctors?

Medical Doctors Ranked First with Highest IQ amongst job professions

How Smart are Medical 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.

How Smart are Medical doctors?

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.

People don’t care how much you know–until they know how much you care.

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.

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  1. FuckPatchAdams
    FuckPatchAdams February 23, 2009

    Are you seriously arguing that being nice to patients trumps the competency of your care? I can be the nicest person you’ve ever met but if I fail to diagnose your brain tumour I’m still going to get sued and you’re still going to die. Good grief.

    • relax
      relax May 12, 2012

      As someone who is a practicing physician, I can tell you that medicine requires a lot more hard work than raw brain power. My biggest challenge is getting patients to change their behavior, i.e. managing their diabetes or heart failure etc. That is what prevents admissions and readmissions to the hospital. Furthermore, doctors are more commonly sued for not looking than not knowing. Additionally, providing quality care for patients doesn’t always mean getting the top score in O-chem, sometimes you actually have to get up in the middle of the night and drive to the hospital to see a patient. As silly as that sounds, some doctors refuse to do that. That’s when bad things tend to happen.

      • Randy Claywell
        Randy Claywell April 24, 2020

        Does that explain why so many doctors come across as “educated idiots”?

      • Anonymous
        Anonymous February 3, 2021

        Someone with a higher IQ will be able to learn and apply knowledge faster than those with a lower IQ and will therefore make a more competent doctor. It’s not to say that being able to engage socially with patients isn’t important, but IQ is much more important in my opinion if you had to pick one or the other.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous June 23, 2012

      If u wanna date a doctor, come here. LOL

    • FuckDoctorsWithBigEgos
      FuckDoctorsWithBigEgos July 17, 2013

      Having Empathic qualities are just as important as having medical knowledge under your belt.

      Suppose someone comes in with the beginnings of a serious illness, but this person’s doctor decides to ignore what the patient says because it disinterests him or because he thinks he knows better about the patient’s own body. Later on down the road it turns out this patient has a full blown serious illness, and the doctor didn’t catch it because he didn’t want to hear the patient out. Doctors seem to want pure physical results that they can see- lab results, patient’s vomiting blood, whatever. But they often times ignore the most important process about medicine, which is analyzing the patient as a whole and listening to what is going on in their body from their perspective. After all, a doctor doesn’t know shit about how another person experiences illness.

      • rayz
        rayz January 30, 2014

        yes finally a person with balls to say what most doctors never will admit too i.e. the truth !! you nailed it thank you. doctors are not willing to even acknowledge that a patient can even think let alone know what is happening inside their own body. thanx again for speaking the truth

        • Jacky
          Jacky February 18, 2014

          As a current medical student, I would say the trend of practice is changing, in terms of emphasizing more patient interactions in our practices today. I know my school heavily pushes patient oriented care, paying close attention to what patients say, and orienting care with the patient in the center. Sometimes this becomes a challenge because our health SYSTEM, not necessarily the individual physicians, are making it imperative that we move through patients quickly. This need to treat health care like a business is detrimental to both patients and PHYSICIANS. Even if we would love to spend an hour with each patient, it’s financially not feasible. It’s sad that as a physician, if we want to keep our practices open, this game is something we have to play.

          • Dongwood Jones-Haggerheim
            Dongwood Jones-Haggerheim September 2, 2023

            Medicine has not aged well regarding business focus over patient care focus.

      • Tom
        Tom November 7, 2014

        I had one of those doctors who never listened. He would rush into the examining room with his nurse at his side and begin to examine me (ENT) while talking to the nurse about what he thought was wrong with me. I seldom got to spit out more than a sentence before he was rushing out the door with nurse following. My abiding memory of him is his white coat flapping in the trailing breeze as he fled to another room. He was near to totally worthless. I wrote a blistering letter to his medical director and insisted on another doctor.

      • Nancy Leer
        Nancy Leer June 29, 2017

        I so agree! I have been treated very badly by some doctors and found out that they set it up to teach me a lesson. I do know a little about what is going on with me. He thought I was a miss-know-it-all and that’s not true. He could have lost his license by doing what he did. I will never fully trust a doctor again.

    • Alex Ziegler
      Alex Ziegler February 11, 2014

      Studies have shown that when it comes to litigation those who are much more likely to be sued are not the “bad” doctors. They are the doctors who had poorer relationships with their patients. So an arrogant doctor, who is a very good surgeon is also more likely to be sued by his patients, not because of the surgical performance but because of his relationship with his patients. Look it up

      • jude
        jude April 19, 2014

        This is so true… I’m a nurse and deal with this. Sure, incompetence is incompetence, but people are people as well, and well they’re treated goes a long way

      • Ricen Caol
        Ricen Caol May 9, 2014

        Stands to reason then that your better off with the asshole doctor. If he/she wasn’t damn good someone would have already sued them into oblivion.

        • Bao
          Bao December 2, 2015

          This is old, but if anyone happens to stumble upon it – surgeries and many other procedures always come with certain risks attached. (Risk of not having the intended outcome, risk of having a worse ourcome.) A doctor who has a good relationship with his or her patient can, if the patient does not understand the risk, still rely on the trust the patient puts into him or her to understand the risks and make the right decisions. That means that in those cases when the risk came true, the patient is more likely to accept it as something that was unavoidable. Unless either doctor does serious malpractice, there won’t be such a big difference between the technical skills of the cited brilliant doctor who doesn’t build a relationship with his/her patients, and the one who does build that relationship. On the other hand, having access to that trust means that it is more likely the patient will follow the doctor’s advice and so chances for a quick recovery are significantly higher.

        • Randy Claywell
          Randy Claywell April 24, 2020

          Not necessarily so. Not everyone sues.

      • Nancy Leer
        Nancy Leer June 29, 2017


    • wow......
      wow...... August 20, 2014

      i really want to write a long response about the important points this author was making in terms of patient care, and how it truly is more than just standardized tests… it was at that point i realized that this would be lost on you. You’re an idiot. period. And this is not just my differential diagnosis… i think we can go ahead and confirm that.

    • Kev
      Kev February 28, 2016

      Both are needed. Remember and never forget, a Dr. is NOT the boss. He/she is hired by a person known as the patient to perform important tasks. The patient is not the employee. That is other way around as I’ve had to gently remind my doctors of at times treating me for MS as well as fire a few narcissistic types but as President and CEO, I’m used to being in charge. I pay them. Not other way around. I tend to know as much about medicine as some but that comes from growing up around doctors. High IQ not required for most doctors. 115 s passing med school. Mine is 164 so I’m not fooled by quacks.

      • Dr. Timmy
        Dr. Timmy March 10, 2016

        Actually Mr. President and CEO your doctor is NOT your employee. There is no “hiring,” its a limited mutually agreed to contract (consent to treat). True enough, the doctor isn’t the boss, but the patient is not the boss either; something that self-important execs have trouble remembering (even those with allegedly high IQs). The encounter is supposed to embody a therapeutic alliance, one in which a SHARED decision is made.
        You think you know as much as a doctor by being raised around doctors (really?). I think you’re probably overestimating your knowledge level a bit. Sure many people can study and learn as much as a doc…but just by being raised around doctors? Come on!
        If you’re the type of person who feels they must post their IQ on line, and trumpets how they fire ‘narcissistic’ doctors, and how they are the CEO but not just the CEO, the CEO and President did you ever think that maybe your trouble with doctors has possibly come from your attempts to transfer the authority you have over others at your company into a sphere in which your authority is actually limited to yourself? overdeveloped sense of entitlement? maybe?
        To be fair, a patient’s autonomy should be fully respected, I champion this; but a doctors autonomy must be respected too. After all a doctor assumes a ton of liability, therefore they must retain authority equal to this level of liability. Seems logical right? Both have the right to refuse but not to coerce. Thats how it works. Maybe this will help you in the future so you don’t have to fire all those pesky doctors who won’t bow down and obey the genius level CEO (and President, don’t forget President)–geez!
        My suspicion is you tried to coerce a few real doctors and they refused to listen, good for them! Luckily they won’t have to worry about seeing you anymore. You probably found another doctor you can bully for a while. There’s a ton of people that don’t put up with bullies, not just doctors! You probably have trouble all over right? Waah nobody wistens to mee!! I’m the CEO! Lol. Right? right?
        Are you a baby boomer by chance? lol. sorry couldn’t resist. You’re probably a sweetie under all that president/CEO ‘manager of problems’ bluster 🙂
        Remember its online/print, tone is almost impossible to convey, love ya, if I’m wrong, I’m sorry.

        • electricscot
          electricscot July 1, 2016

          You’re right Masters Degree Timmy,(look up what it means to be a real Dr.,i.e. a Phd.) A medical doctor is no more an employee than is a plumber, electrician or any other professional contractor you call upon to solve a problem beyond your abilities. they have knowledge and skills above your own in a limited area.
          To prove this ask the average M.D. to diagnosis what’s wrong with your new car.

          • BoDh
            BoDh September 7, 2019

            I think you guys (and gals) are not realizing that a doctor is not a doctor is not a doctor. The skills required to be a competent family practitioner are VERY different (and no less important) than the skills to be a neurosurgeon. The specific skill tests on traditional IQ tests should correlate very well with skills needed to do surgery and other more creative specialties, whereas the ability to focus and hold onto details represented by good grades would correlate well with more algorithmic specialties like primary care or oncology. Social skills are also important to most specialties with some notable exceptions. As a triple boarded physician at a ivy league teaching institution, my opinion is that you must certainly have a baseline level of competency based on the above, but after that, the most important thing is a realistic world view based on your context within the system, and the understanding that the status quo is always malleable. It’s those who forget the world beyond their particular niches who end up being terrible doctors, be that the rest of medicine, or the social and psychological contexts their patients bring to the table. Awareness is key. Namaste.

    • grumpy bear
      grumpy bear May 11, 2016

      let your love light shine guys..gals..etc.

    • James
      James June 5, 2016

      You totally missed the point, you just confirmed what he said.

  2. medaholic
    medaholic February 26, 2009

    I don’t know where you inferred that I said being nice is more important than competency of care. Almost all doctors are smart and competent at what they do. Otherwise, they would not have gotten in and graduates in the first place. However, I am saying that doctors with empathy and human compassion are much better than just doctors with their book smarts.

    • futuredoc
      futuredoc October 21, 2011

      I agree. I think an EQ test should be a 2nd admissions exam.
      MCAT + EQ test.

    • medaholic is one bad doc
      medaholic is one bad doc February 1, 2012

      Seriously medaholic? All doctors must be intelligent to make it as far as they do. The argument is this: I would be a much better doctor if I invested myself in my patients emotionally. Doctors who are emotionally invested will make a significantly greater mental investment in diagnosing their patients and caring for them… because they actually care about the outcome.

      • medaholic
        medaholic February 1, 2012

        Hi – I’m not sure what you are getting at your comment, if you would like to clarify, perhaps I can respond better.

  3. Sunny
    Sunny January 10, 2010

    Really Medaholic? Do you know what they call the person who graduates last from medical school? I’ll give you a hint; Doctor.

    • Keratos
      Keratos February 25, 2014

      My medical school started out with about – I dunno – 600 applicants. We accepted 200 “A” students. We finished up with about 176. # 176, whoever that was, passed everything and graduated last in his or her class and is called Dr. – true enough. But he or she was # 176 of 600 if you look at it that way, or #176 of 200 if you look at it another way. Of course with all the hassle and crap doctors have to deal with now, and much lower pay these days, med students are overall a less gifted group now than they were in the ’70’s

      • Bris Vegas
        Bris Vegas June 2, 2014

        An IQ of 135 would put you at the TOP of the medical profession. It would also put you at the BOTTOM of engineering, chemistry, physics, mathematics or computer science PhDs. For a Professorship in engineering, maths or physics at a good university you’ll probably need an IQ of 160+. [I’ve met plenty of medical specialists and ALL of them were far less intelligent than any of my chemistry professors.]

        To be eligible for an Australian postgraduate medical school you need a three year undergraduate degree in ANY discipline with a Credit (‘B’) average in the final two years. To get into a PhD programme you need a 4 year Honours (equivalent to a US Masters) degree with a High Distinction (A+) average.

        The only reason that medical school is hard to get into in Western countries is the high pay and prestige. In Russia physicians and surgeons earn about $150/week and have low status. It is very easy to get into a Russian medical school.

        • Tom
          Tom November 7, 2014

          My neurosurgeon would agree with Bris Vegas. When I told him that I have a PhD in organic chemistry, he remarked that, “You went on the hard path and are a lot smarter than I am.” In a special piece of irony, I have had brain surgery to correct hydrocephalus, a condition that can eventually cause mental retardation.

        • Anonymous
          Anonymous September 2, 2022

          That is an absurd argument, especially looking at US medical schools. First, an IQ of 160+ is exceedingly more rare than you assume. In the US alone, there are 55,000 phDs awarded every single year. Across the entire globe, and across all ages, there are about 230,000 people with an IQ of 160+. The US, where the average IQ is 98 and the percent contribution to the world population is 4.25%, that equates to roughly 10,000 people in the US with an IQ of 160+ (including non-citizens).

          Even if every person with a 160+ IQ (including children) went into phD programs (a silly assumption), that would mean about 4 out of 5 phDs with an IQ less than 160. If we assume only half of 160+ IQ persons earn a phD, then 9/10 phDs would likely have a lower IQ than 160. If we account for the fact that only a tiny slice of the entire 160+ IQ population is going to apply each year (people generally earn only one phD in their lifetime, not one per year), then we are left with a tiny fraction of that 230,000 160+ IQ persons who will earn a phD every year, almost certainly less than 1%.

          In short, there are many, many more basic science phDs awarded each year than the number of people born each year with a 160+ IQ.

          Also, look at the admissions criteria for phD programs and those for MD programs and you’ll see that they are both similarly priced and similarly selective in the US.

          Lastly, the degree to which someone “seems” or “comes across” as smart is a terrible way to assess intelligence. That may have a lot to do with their non-cognitive personality traits, and this will differ between basic science phD candidates and medical students. The medical profession heavily selects for certain personality traits, especially those that allow a physician to work well with the general population (empathy, relateability, humilty, etc.). In fact, it could be that phDs are simply less down-to-earth and lack the same emotional intelligence, causing them to sound more erudite while even a more intelligent physician would not seem as intimidating. That is, after all, the entire point of medicine. Intimidating physicians who exude their intellect and let people know how smart they are will not be the most effective caretakers of lay people. In short, if we examined a group of intelligent people, the “smartest-sounding” people in the group could just be the worst at hiding it.

      • Doctor Dan
        Doctor Dan December 22, 2015

        @keratos I agree with the theme of your post but a few things stand out as odd. You either went to medical school along time ago or not at all. 1) almost all medical school receive applicants totaling in the thousands. The only schools who received less are special cases (new med schools, only instate students etc) this is about 4 schools. None of those schools have class sizes of 200. The few schools with class sizes over 200 recieve applicants in the 10,000s. 2) despite the poor economic and political climate in medicine, your average applicant is definitely not less gifted than the 70s. Mcat and gpas continue to increase every year, in addition to “soft requirement” which are so time consuming few medical students can come out of undergraduate and be competitive.

        @bris I don’t know the stats on engineering Ph.D. iQs but as a profession doctors average rank higher on IQ than all engineering fields. This coming from a former engineer by the way. Prior to attending medical school I often thought many doctors were dumb like many of the commenters here. I’ll assure you no one who is dumb is completing medical school. Your perception of a dumb Doctor is likely someone who is out of touch or incapable of interacting with others. Which for all intents and purposes, might as well be dumb.

  4. Billy Jr.
    Billy Jr. January 19, 2010

    Face it. In my vast experience, doctors are largely a joke, save a few specialists who actually have a clue, and give rat’s behind. All of you would-be and practicing doctors should simply cut the superiority act. Look at yourselves critically, and you may just end up being far better at what you do. Ignore me at your professional peril.

    Out. Now go ahead and ban me. I’m much too correct. This much I know. What I’m impressed with is a down to earth, communicative and caring doc, who also possesses knowledge. When I find one, I’ll let you know. Not an imbecile who thinks he knows everything, yet never heard of the supplement called Garlique.

    • Keratos
      Keratos February 25, 2014

      Garlique doesn’t work – neither does snake oil.

  5. medaholic
    medaholic January 20, 2010

    @Billy Jr. : I wouldn’t go as far to say doctors are a joke, after all many do go through many years of training and long hours at work to become competent in their field. But I do agree with you that doctors with superiority complexes are bad news.

  6. Josh
    Josh March 31, 2010

    Completely agree! As someone planning on going into medicine I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum. While being very smart can make you a good doctor I don’t feel you can be a great doctor unless you possess both.

  7. Dr. Castle
    Dr. Castle August 4, 2010

    Entering into a medical school usually requires a good undergraduate program in a university that the student excelled in earning a GPA that places them in the top 10% of the class (on avg.). Then depending on the nation but I am assuming in Canada or the US, they require to get usually 30+ on the MCAT which is a standardized test where the median is 8/15 for each section of 3 total sections. In addition, they require a great resume showing volunteer, physical and hobbies that provide a well rounded image, 3 recommendation letters that speak of the character of the student, and then go to a medical interview in which usually around 1 in 4 get selected to enter into the medical school.

    Following that the student needs to do 2 extremely heavy years of medical sciences, then 2 years of hospital rotations with 2 board certification exams the first of which is an 8 hour exam with 322 questions. The passing mark on all these tests as well as in the medical school is usually around 70%.

    Then the student does 3-5 years as a resident at a hospital where they usually work 80 hours a week, and thats not a typo. In my time it use to be as high as 110 hours a week. You basically live in the hospital for those years. After you finish all of this you are left with about a 200,000-300,000 USD debt.

    Due to all of this, doctors are very highly regarded in the proximal working environment. We know we can only “recommend” to the patient what to do, but because of the trust the patient instills in the doctor, we are obliged to assume that the patient will blindly follow this advice so we better know what we recommend.

    The nurse’s primary objective is to to facilitate the care of the patient, and assist the doctor. The doctor’s primary objective is to diagnose you and then offer you with your possible treatments. It does help if a doctor has socializing skills and smiles but it is not as big a deal as you may believe. With the expansion of preventative medicine though and “team-think” and “group-based” medical care it is becoming more important.

    • ilstn2u
      ilstn2u September 15, 2012

      Dr. Castle,
      I understand that training is intensive for doctors, but it is also intensive for mental health professionals and many other caregiving professionals. Based on the stats, doctors are not necessarily smarter than many of their patients, just have more book knowledge. As a therapist, I think I have a pretty good handle on human behavior and why people do what they do, but unless they believe I understand them, and they believe I really care, they will never choose to work on changing their behaviors. I don’t think medicine is all that different. Why should I come and see you about my physical ailments if you don’t care. I currently see a doctor, who is not very aggressive about my physical well-being, particularly for my age, and because I care about my physical well-being and am an educated patient, I tell him what I need and he does it. I continue to see him, not because I think he is a great doctor, but because he cares and I can’t seem to find one in my community who will listen to me, not act like he is an arrogant, know-it-all bastard, and provide me with quality care.
      All your education does not mean a thing, if you do not listen to and care about your patients. And, if you are disinterested in your patients, I bet you have trouble keeping or getting along with your nursing and office staff as well. Just saying.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous January 20, 2017

      You can be the smartest person in the world and yet have no common sense. Trust me! I’ve had 5 doctors rotate in and out of my clinic in the last 2 years and every single one of them have been quite stupid.

    • Maddy
      Maddy June 25, 2019

      Medical scientists know more about how the human body works. They also know more about treatments and symptoms. The job of the doctor is to distribute this to the population so geniuses can work at the frontier in solving the unsolved. The doctor and nurse shortage means that entry is lenient, and charisma plays more role in medical school entry than grades. I know because I’ve witnessed this throughout my colleagues’ applications. The average intellect in medicine is detrimental because they don’t know the reasons for the medications they are prescribing and at what dosages, leading to crises such as the opioid epidemic, or dark triad personalities enter the profession just to make extra cash off patients or be in the perfect position t rape or exploit transference symptoms.

      The current state of clinical medicine is sad and I don’t think it is healthy for the population to assume the majority of doctors have a high IQ. All that’s required to get into medical school and get a licence is passing, good people skills (those of any sociopath would do), grunt work (do the hours and pass some exams that are within the range of an average intellect), and of course being white and male and not disabled and not from an unhealthy domestic setting helps because of the associated lifestyle privileges.

      That being said, I do know one genius dr (who is exactly a genius because he was tested) but he transitioned into research because he was bullied by the other doctors. This meant even more school debt because medical school doesn’t equip doctors with the skills and knowledge of scientists. So he had to do even more training.

      Don’t know why ppl r bothering to include EQ in this conversation when enough of an argument can be made without it.

      The study referenced in this article was old and had a huge loophole for sample bias too.

  8. amy
    amy September 24, 2010

    @Dr.Castle i know that just b/c they go thru voulenterr work doesnt mean anything. i know students who have done the voulenteer hours but with no REAL self-enhancing benefits because they just went but did not particpate with there heart. Also Anybody can get a good recommendation. If you kiss peoples asses an make them fill good an you “know” people than it is not a problem to get a exceptionally good recommendation! 😀

    • Tom
      Tom November 7, 2014

      Amy, “fill” good?

  9. T.
    T. November 14, 2010

    We’ll i’d like to comment on the first blog post. Anyone who’s name is FUCKPATADAMS…well thats all you need to see to determined where or not you should take what they say seriously.
    Truly, it’s hard to believe that someone with such a ignorant response practices medicine. I remember before i started med school working as a paramedic for a fire department and something i learned and have embraced whole heartedly. You treat the patient, not the symptoms
    Partly why i’ve chose to be a DO rather than a MD. This is not to say MD do not do the same thing, it’s just whats worked for me.

  10. Debora
    Debora November 24, 2010

    Give me Dr. House or Dr. Feelgood ANY DAY!

  11. Dr. Castle
    Dr. Castle December 19, 2010

    @Amy. This is a very poor assumption on your part. In my experience medical doctors and students are not significantly different from other relatively intelligent individuals. As you can clearly see even if these results were true and accurate there is still huge overlap between the professions, especially those requiring post graduate studies which medicine is (at least in Canada and the US).

    To assume that medical students simply collect these letters of recommendation, volunteer hours, previous job experience, and unique characteristics that make many special, while other students actually have “heart” is not true, and very insulting not only to physicians but to those writing these letters as well. It may be true to some extend that some students get these hours without “heart” but that is no different than any other students.

    To put it bluntly, medicine is an extremely lucrative field that has a positive image in the society inlarge, pays well, has amazing job stability, and in itself is an accomplishment. There is a reason why on average medicine is the hardest field to get into. Look at your average national requirement for any other profession and they will almost always fall short of the requirements to get into medical school, why? Because there is a large competition for it, why? Because of the reasons mentioned above and not a huge number of available spots. As a consequence who gets into medicine? Usually those with the most passion, highest grades, most contributions in their lives up to that point etc. Does this mean that a very intelligent, well-rounded person can’t be in a different profession? Of course no. Does this mean that all medical students are extremely intelligent well-rounded individuals that have amazing grades? Of course no. But when you take the average medical student they generally are among the top, as you should expect them to be. I understand it’s fun sometimes to poke fun at certain professions, and stereotypes such as the nerdy engineer, the sloppy physician that never sees daylight, and the evil lawyer that sold his/her soul to enter law school, but if you actually reflect and critically think, I think you will come to a slightly different conclusion.

    • medaholic
      medaholic December 21, 2010

      @ Dr. Castle – I think you summed it up nicely. It’s a variety of factors that make medicine appealing and as a result such a competitive field.

    • bananabender
      bananabender December 20, 2013

      Entrance to medical school is only highly competitive in the relatively few countries where medicine is a highly paid and prestigious profession. Almost all these countries are in the Anglosphere (US, Canada, Britain, Australia, NZ).

      In most other countries medicine doesn’t offer high status or large salaries. Medicine is simply considered to be an ordinary middle class job like teaching or engineering. Medical students in these countries are typically solid but unremarkable high school graduates (top 1/3 of students). Medical degrees are 4-6 year undergraduate programmes. These medical degrees are free or very heavily subsidised. The (vast) majority of medical students in many non-English speaking countries are female.

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 19, 2011

    Medical Students certainly need to be exposed to the humanities. I work for a College of Medicine at a University in the U.S. and interact with M.D./PhD medical faculty, staff, and students. I have noticed that there are quite a few who have the superiority complex while I have also noticed that there are those who are compassionate. Those who are compassionate are most likely more involved, such as being class President, selling t-shirts, fundraising, etc. But, holding a Master’s in Communication, I must stress the importance compassion, humanities, and arts or at least the lack there of. For example, and on a technical communication standpoint, I have noticed that most students, even those with the superiority complex do not know how to write well. Sure, they have the basics down, but there is so much more they are not aware of such as the use of colons, semi-colons, and other technical devices, punctuations, etc. I actually manage a group of the most elite selected to accurately report the curriculum being taught and must say that they don’t seem to be very savvy in this area.

    In addition, a lot of medical student have no idea what it means to write an original research paper such as an article with abstract and most certainly not a dissertation which is required of a PhD. I believe that MD student need to be exposed to such elements and even be required to complete an original research project/dissertation so that they understand the other functions of the social academia, not just the hard sciences. They need to understand this humanistic side of the world so that they can create/become compassion/compassionate. Most just go through a four year program after the bachelor degree in most likely some hard science area and then after their residency are ready to practice, even during their schooling are exposed to interactions with others. In addition, it scares me when I think of the NBME subject and USLME tests being multiple choice. For my master’s degree, I had to write about complex theories, qualitative writing, knowledge, experience, research, communicate and present as well as the quantitative side: statistical analysis, communication and theoretical formulas.

    In general, I feel that medical students are really out of the loop from society and its humanistic, sociological sphere. Most doctors think just knowing formulas and hard science knowledge gives them an accurate ability to perform in the medical field. That is not the case. This is why many doctors become serial killers. Yes, as surprising as it may sound, this is true. I recently conducted research in the area and found that doctors have the highest rate of suicide of any profession. Every year, between 300 and 400 physicians take their own lives—roughly one a day (Noonan, 2008). Check out the abstract to my article:



    The U.S. Institute of Medicine estimates that each year between 44,000 and 98,000 people die as a result of medical errors (Kohn et al., 1999). While reckless, incompetent, inept, mad, or just plain dangerous doctors have contributed to these errors for as long as medicine has been practiced, medical serial killing is a relatively new phenomenon (Kaplan, 2009, p. 3). Existing literature is largely anecdotal and limited to reporting on a collection of killings committed by doctors and on topics such as malpractice/negligence, abortion, assisted suicide/euthanasia, Nazi medicine, and occasionally on suicidal physicians. However, emerging research reveals a different kind of killing, one in which behavioral changes in doctors cause them to engage in medical serial murder. As a result of this new phenomenon, the current study provides a review on reasons why doctors murder their patients. An overarching theoretical section is developed with an explanation provided for each reason. In addition, policy recommendations are discussed on how to help regulate such occurrences by way of identifying a collection of red flags common to a high percentage of them.

    Copyright © 2011

    • You're not only wrong, you're stupid as well.
      You're not only wrong, you're stupid as well. March 27, 2012

      Your abstract is truly a poor piece of work. You are preaching poor writing technique and use of language among doctors, yet fall well short yourself. An abstract should be a summation of what you did, why you did it, and why others should read it. At no point should it include references (as these are used to strengthen and support your argument in the body of the text). Look at Google Scholar, or any other peer-reviewed website if you don’t believe me. It seems that if you are teaching medical students these techniques that you are the problem. Also, from what I can garner, your paper deals with pseudo-scientific nonsense and psychological rhetoric. I guess that is the difference between a science degree and a communications degree (honestly communications degrees are a joke at my University. What did you major in? Film studies?).

      • Kk
        Kk July 9, 2016

        Lmao. Exactly my thought. Some people are so darn stupid.

  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 27, 2011

    9 Signs You Should Fire Your Doctor (on lack of compassion)

    Staying with a doctor you’re not happy with is as harmful as staying in a relationship you know is bad because it’s easier than making a change. But parting ways may be the healthiest move. Here are nine signs that it’s time to fire your doctor. (For simplicity, the references below are to male doctors, but men don’t have a monopoly on unacceptable behavior.)

    1. You don’t mesh. You and your doctor don’t need to see eye to eye on everything, but it’s helpful if you work well together. If you want a partnership, for example, a doctor who spouts commands is not the best fit. If you value warmth, you may not be able to build an effective relationship with a physician who seems formal or distant. “Some patients like doctors who are very direct and blunt,” says Washington, D.C. based family physician Kenny Lin, who blogs for U.S. News. “And some patients can’t stand that type of doctor because they think he or she isn’t empathetic enough or doesn’t provide enough options.” When there’s a mismatch, neither person is at fault—but it could be grounds for termination.

    2. He doesn’t respect your time. Do you routinely wait an hour to see your physician only to feel like he’s speed-doctoring through the visit? You should never feel like you’re being rushed. If your doctor doesn’t take the time to answer your questions or address your concerns, there’s a problem. The medical community is becoming increasingly sensitive to patients’ precious time. When they’re late for an appointment, some habitually tardy doctors have even begun compensating patients with money or gifts. If your doctor’s chronic lateness makes you grind your teeth, why stay with him? Hint: If you’re evaluating a prospective physician, investigate his timeliness beforehand.

    3. He keeps you in the dark. A doctor should be open and thorough about why he recommends a certain treatment or orders a specific test, and he should share all results with you. “If a doctor doesn’t explain himself, or at least not to your satisfaction, at that point a doctor is bad,” Lin says. “I know doctors who have drawn blood or run a bunch of tests without telling patients why they’re doing them and what they mean.” It’s also important that a doctor uses terms you understand, rather than complicated medical jargon; otherwise, explanations are meaningless. Your health is too important to feel confused or uninformed.

    4. He doesn’t listen. Does your doctor hear you out without interrupting? “It all comes down to communication and whether you feel like you’re asking questions and they’re not being answered,” says Carolyn Clancy, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. She recalls visiting a doctor for a second opinion on whether she should go through with a procedure recommended by her dentist. “He made a big leap—that I didn’t want to have it done because I was afraid of the pain—and kept reassuring me that it was virtually pain-free. That’s not what I was asking. After three rounds, I concluded that we weren’t going to get to a productive place, and I didn’t go back.”

    5. The office staff is unprofessional. The receptionists are the link between you and the doctor. If they blow you off—or neglect to give your message to the physician, say about side effects of a new medication—your health could be at risk. Even if you like your doctor, a bad office staff could signal it’s time to look elsewhere.

    6. You don’t feel comfortable with him, or wonder about his competence. Doctors need to know intimate details you may not even share with friends or family members. If you’re unable to disclose such facts, you and your doctor may not be the right match. A sense of unease about his decisions and recommendations, even if you can’t say exactly why, is also a perfectly legitimate reason for cutting the cord, says Don Powell, president of the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, a nonprofit that promotes healthy behavior through wellness programs and publications. Beware of sloppy medical mistakes, too: If your doctor prescribes a medication to which you’re allergic, and you know that information is in your history, a separation may be in order.

    7. He doesn’t coordinate with other doctors. Your primary care physician should be the quarterback of your healthcare team, managing each step of the medical process. That means keeping track of specialists’ reports and instructions and talking with you about their recommendations. If he’s slacking, an important piece of your care could slip through the cracks.

    8. He’s unreachable. A good doctor is available for follow-up questions and concerns. Patient advocate Trisha Torrey, author of You Bet Your Life! The 10 Mistakes Every Patient Makes, recalls the time her husband developed severe tooth pain on a weekend. His dentist’s voicemail included a cell phone number and a promise of a quick response, but he never heard back. An emergency clinic visit and root canal later, he told his dentist she was fired. A growing number of doctors are making themselves available to patients via E-mail, text message, and Skype, and at the very least, you need to know that in an emergency, you won’t be left hanging.

    9. He’s rude or condescending. Time to part ways. Same goes if he trivializes your concerns as though they’re not valid. One of the clearest signs you should move on is if he walks out of the room while you’re still talking, says Clancy. That’s what happened when her sister met with a surgeon to determine if her daughter should go through with a procedure. “When my sister finished asking her question, the doctor was gone,” Clancy recalls. “She called me afterward and I told her, ‘You have to find someone else. You’ll regret it if you don’t.'”

  14. flewgy1
    flewgy1 February 17, 2012

    everyone, leave doctors alone, they put in the hard work to get to where they are and because of that they deserve it, start complaining after you spend 15+ years getting educated to save people lives, i do still agree about the superiority complex tho

    • RightOn
      RightOn April 27, 2013

      What about Physicists and Scientists? What is 15 yrs? NADA. These people spend their ENTIRE LIVES doing Science. Lets not even talk about comparing the IQ of a doctor to a Physicist! It would be an insult to a Physicist.
      Do you know who the most tech un-savvy people on the planet are??? Doctors.

      And what do these scientists make? Peanuts.

  15. Laurie
    Laurie April 13, 2012

    This doctor gave me a diagnosis of cancer, then asked me to step across the hall to sign surgery authorization forms. He asked the clerk to set up a date for surgery. He then went directly across the hall, I followed. He open the door to the small room, greeted the patient inside, & shut the door leaving me standing in the hall. When I returned to the clerk & she asked me what date would be best for me I said I would get back to her. I never did. My time spent there from beginning to end was maybe about half an hour. I decided to go with another doctor.

    • medaholic
      medaholic April 17, 2012

      Laurie, that is most unfortunate. Goes to show that having high intelligence is no indicator of manners or decency.

  16. simon paine
    simon paine July 11, 2012

    i totally agree with “I am saying that doctors with empathy and human compassion are much better than just doctors with their book smarts” after all this profession is customer facing most of the stands to reason that you would think that all doctors have a good bedside manner but that is simply not always the case.well at least that is my own experience,no i`m not a doctor.

  17. Joe BLow
    Joe BLow October 7, 2012

    That scale is BS. It actually lists MDs with an IQ below 100. You probably need 120+ to be a Doctor and get a PHD.

    • RightOn
      RightOn April 27, 2013

      Not really. I know many doctors that got their medical degrees from the Caribbean, or 3rd world countries paying serious dough. They didn’t need to secure high USMLE scores either to integrate themselves into the medical system here.

      High IQs belong in the domain of Physicists and Scientists, who get paid peanuts.

  18. georgiamxer45
    georgiamxer45 November 13, 2012

    I will say this,,,as a a member of the Naval Special Warfare Combat Medic course, and a graduate of BUD/s training,,,,and now working as a CCP, TCCC, EMT-T, I have seen cases where the MD’s were totally lost, not that they aren’t bright guys,,,just not having any day to day real trauma,,,i.e. combat,,,,there is is a huge difference in the field and the trauma bay in a hospital setting,,,,these Doc’s are great at what they do,,,but they don’t see the type of trauma we do,,,,neither do the trauma Doc’s,,,they just don’t,,,,I have moved a couple of them aside to tx a pt,,,not because of their incompetency,,,,but just their lack of experience in these situations,,,,more special operations medicine needs to be integrated into the civilian world,,,,we do things that save lives,,,quickly, and without thought,,,it’s instinct,,,,MD’s are extremely bright, intelligent people,,,,but in severe trauma cases,,there needs to be more “outside the box” thinking!!

    • leland Kendrick MD
      leland Kendrick MD August 17, 2014

      well ,don’t expect me as a Doctor to disagree with you.
      Thanks seriously for what you do.
      You do it so well and make it look so easy.
      We are after all a team, and should work as a team.
      Don’t be afraid to say I do not know.
      I am honestly worried about stopping at a roadside incident with all
      the Emergency personnel their. Their professionalism and care would
      make me feel incompetent.
      Thanks again.
      I have learned much over the years from patients ,,nurses,EMT, respiratory therapist, and others it’s always good to listen.
      A good professor once told me,if you listen to the patient long enough
      they will tell you what is wrong with them. I commonly have to listen
      along time.

  19. Lago
    Lago January 15, 2013

    Doctors; Social workers with prescription pads. Not original with me.

    As someone who has worked extensively with grad students, MDs, PhDs, MD-PhDs, DVMs, DMV-PhDs, and so forth, the degree is more a measure of perseverance, not intelligence nor competence. That said, as a group the PhDs tend to be the most rounded, the MDs best dressed, the MD-PhDs narrowly focussed, the DVM-PhDs, the most knowledgeable generally, and the MD or DVM-pathologists the most interesting – fun to work with.

    From the military perspective, the sorting is quickly made informally by performance – rank and scores are superfluous, as noted by the Corpsman assigned to SEALS. From my own experience in the intelligence community that is also the case at lower levels. The back channel gets immediate results, the chain of comand gets boged down in ritual. Fraternal organizations, such as CIA are a private joke among us.

    As a victim of the VA medical system, I can say with authority that the emphasis is on pro-forma treatment, particularly for mental health issues. I feel sorry for those poor bastards coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the “budget problems” they will encounter when they require treatment. There was plenty of money to get them screwed up (3 trillion and counting), AND plenty of enthusiasm for throwing them into harm’s way. Then bill comes due.

    As for the poor doctor’s plight with student loans, too bad. In-state tuition for medical school is not onerous for most states. But elitism prevails. The best return on educational investment is for the plumber. Roughly comparable apprenticeship time-wise. Better hours, same income, doctor calls you, not the other way around. A good plumber’s work lasts a lifetime. Hell, you might actually KNOW a plumber.

    Think of a doctor as an expensive snobbish automobile mechanic, generally familiar with diesel and gas engines and their support systems. Often limited to general diagnostics and palliative treatment – a service writer or a waiter if you like. The actual repair and hard-core diagnostic work goes to specialists, many of whom are two-year technicians, some might be other doctors such as surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, etc.. These specialists, of course, don’t wait on customers. They too are supported by technicians such as nannies, equipment operators, office staff, PAs, surgical nurses, nurse-anesthetists, etc.

    On the suffering of the Resident: Any bonehead resident or hospital administrator that subjects their staff to 80-hour work weeks is inviting medical errors and/or legal action. Eighty-hour weeks are usually reserved for self-employed types. If a resident isn’t smart enough to know this is bad medicine, then he/she really didn’t learn much in med school or isn’t too bright after all – negating the initial premise. Showing a little back bone wouldn’t be out of line either.

    “Good doctor” is becoming an oxymoron.

    IQ 150+

    • Clueless
      Clueless April 24, 2013

      Such drivel from a boob with an IQ of 150+? Seriously? The fact that you felt the need to post your IQ as some badge of honor while attempting to undermine the very premise of this article says it all.

  20. Swapnil
    Swapnil February 24, 2013

    dude please… Not all doctors are intelligent and smart… Especially in present era Where half the institutions are private… In a private college… You pay the donation, pay the fee… And Even without attending a single lecture you get your degree certificate after 6 yrs.. and If you don’t wanna slog during exams, there’s a bypass…. Pay some hundred bucks to the clerk… And you have university paper in your hand… And When such doctors come to practice you know Whats gonna happen…… Capitalism is ruining India…

    • RightOn
      RightOn April 27, 2013

      Doctors and high IQs??? You have got to be kidding me!
      I personally know so many “doctors” that got their medical degrees from 3rd rate medical schools in the Caribbean, or colleges in India (like Swapnil says) just by paying some serious dough!

      I work for a National Lab in the United States, and work with a lot of physicists. You want to compare brain power, and book smarts? Try comparing your super-duper smart doctors to these physicists. “Most” of your smarts might soon hang their heads in shame…

      Over the course of my life, I have been to doctors that otherwise seem to have graduated from good med-schools. I am yet to meet one who is REALLY impressive. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But most physicists that I ran into are downright smart.

      How competent is the Medical system in the United States anyway, that takes these Caribbean graduates or Karnataka(a state in India that caters to dumb med students who can get a medical/dental degree by paying dough) graduates, and floats them as “specialists” in the field? I would do my research about the doc before I go see him/her anyway.

  21. Lauri Lähde
    Lauri Lähde April 3, 2013

    Indeed, one shouldnt think doctors as either bad or good. theres a wide spectrum just like in engineering.

    basic engineer knows alittle about everything, same with general MD.

    After specilizing to say mechanical engineering or ortophedic surgery you know more about that field, but even there, there are better and worse doctors and engineers.

  22. Nick
    Nick May 29, 2013

    From what I’ve gathered, medicine is a really shitty field, and a lot of hopeful med students lose their passion for medicine during med school. Med School breaks you down emotionally, and to survive a lot of students become emotionless.
    Not only that, but they are studying all hours of the day, so of course they lose some connection with the outside world.
    To say they need to integrate more humanities courses into their cirruculum is absurd. Humanities won’t help you on the USMLE or licensing test, so why waste precious time with those courses? There also isn’t any time for additional courses. Unless med school is longer than 4 years..which would put the student in more debt, and would probably be yet another deterrent for enrolling in med school. Moreover, there would be less doctors to help the increasing idiot Americans who do harm to their bodies that can easily be prevented.

    I think the “superior” complex is more complicated than people realize. To a doctor, they have gone through so much grueling training and rigorous education that most haven’t, so they feel like they work harder and everyone else is stupid. Which is true. People are dumb. They don’t listen to their doctors who know more about illness than you do from reading about your symptoms online.
    No licensed doctor is “incompetent..” You pass a single med school course and then you can challenge the intelligence of doctors.
    And of course docs can’t learn everything in 4 years, the body isn’t as simple as people think.
    It isn’t like, “oh I’m having chest pains, the doctor can fix this easily.” Well your chest isn’t disconnected from your body. It’s up to the doctor to know what interactions drugs will have on other organs, and how a drug will interact with the multiple other drugs your on. Since everyone’s so unhealthy these days.

    • clink
      clink June 29, 2015

      Couldn*t agree more. Well said.

  23. Roy G. Biv
    Roy G. Biv August 12, 2013

    I’m an engineer who has found himself working among doctors. To be honest, most doctors I’ve met are not smart, and some are downright dim. A small few seem bright. A doctor’s training largely consists of rote memorization of dogma. Most doctors seem to equate learning with memorizing. This is quite troubling. They typically don’t know how to create anything or solve problems or do deep analysis, but have memorized procedures, drug names and dosages, anatomy, etc. I exclude surgeons from this critique. The reason doctors are so highly paid is as much about the government enforced racket as it is about their useful skills.

    The Med School process doesn’t filter out stupid, it filters out the uncommitted and non-dedicated. Doctors have to work through a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy with the healthcare system, and have to listen to whiny patients, so I give them props for that. But for real intelligence, I’d largely look to other fields.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous May 10, 2014

      Doctors take on a large amount of liability. Scientist, engineers,college professors and lawyers, intelligent and hard working as they may be, are not held directly responsible for the lives of other human beings. General rule is the more risk the more money.

      • Bris Vegas
        Bris Vegas June 2, 2014

        The most incompetent physician or surgeon can only kill one patient at a time. A scientist or engineer can easily kill or injure many thousands of people by making a mistake (eg Chernobyl).

    • Ak
      Ak August 9, 2015

      I got a secret 4 you. I have never scored under 145 on an iq test or in the bottom 99.5% of the SAT’s. Also, I have a couple Ivy League degrees to boot. And to put it in further perspective, I made about $300k last year. I am average among my physician friends. The only people smarter than me
      In college were a few who went into the hard sciences and pretty much everyone who went into Wall Street.

      See, I got a secret for u. Talent follows money and prestige, and let’s face it, medicine has engineering handily beat.

      If people aren’t besoded by your pedantic musings, it doesn’t mean they are dim. They just find u dull and uninitiated.

  24. MuDPhuD
    MuDPhuD January 5, 2014

    The University of Wisconsin study is often cited but it samples a relatively small demographic (included in the study were Wisconsin men with occupation groups having at least 30 case samples or more over a window from 1992 to 1994.). There are other studies whose results differ in terms of IQ values or ranges. Generally, medical doctors are in the higher rungs of IQ, but have stiff competition from other professions like engineering, law or economics. In fact, many analyses place professors, physicists, mathematicians and engineers at the top of the intelligence scale, rather than doctors (e.g. I happen to be an MD/PhD with undergraduate training in engineering, and subjectively, I found many of my engineering classmates to be brighter and better problem-solvers and abstract thinkers than my medical school classmates, the majority of whom had life-science backgrounds. Having experienced a medical education and an engineering education, I must admit that the engineering curriculum was more challenging in many respects because of the degree of abstract reasoning and logic required, which actually gave me an advantage in medical school because my problem-solvimg abilities were great for unraveling difficult clinical cases (e.g. multiple comorbidities, polypharmacy, unclear diagnosis). IIn any case, having a high EQ is probably as important as a high IQ in medicine because of the interpersonal and interprofessional aspects of the job.

  25. Patrick
    Patrick March 24, 2014

    If I got results then I would return but when the patient has to both diagnose the problem and treat the problem, I see no reason to return or trust the doctors. Personally I think that doctors are better actors than scientists.

  26. BC
    BC August 31, 2014

    I’m a Physician and here is my impression of the general intelligence of Physicians. Obviously, they need to be of above average intelligence to get into medical school but there are other factors involved. Getting good grades in school has more to do with ambition and drive than intelligence. There are plenty of highly intelligent people who get poor grades because they don’t care to put in the effort. The personality of a Doctor is generally intelligent, status oriented, ambitious and highly driven. If someone is highly intelligent but lacking in the other qualities, they probably won’t become a Doctor. There is quite a range of intelligence among Doctors. Remember that getting good grades doesn’t directly correlate with intelligence. Some Doctors are brilliant and some actually are not that bright. To participate in the modern American medical system, you actually have to be a bit of a drone. It is cookbook medicine. The public doesn’t seem to realize that most Medical Doctors are doing exactly the same thing with little of their own thought put into it. There is a “standard of care” that must be followed by board certified Physicians. Basically, prescription meds and surgery are your only options. Now some Doctors are smart enough to see that this is not the best way to practice medicine but others are brainwashed. Some Doctors are actually not very good at thinking for themselves, which I would say is not a sign of high intelligence. While I hate to generalize, I would agree with the above comments about Engineering requiring more intelligence than medicine. Of course, we have to remember that there are all different kinds of intelligence. A Doctor may be brilliant at medicine but terrible at engineering and an Engineer may have the intellectual aptitude for engineering but not for medicine.

  27. Sesh Narasimhan
    Sesh Narasimhan October 6, 2014

    When I was 7, I had my IQ tested and it was 141. However, when the counselor informed my parents, he also told them that I am “distracted” and if I do not focus, I would be a case of ‘wasted intelligence’. I am an Interventional Cardiologist with a higher degree (research degree). I have an idyllic memory. On paper, I should be a ‘pod’ with poor people skills. I am not! All my patients love me & I get on with most of my colleagues. I might be the 2.5% on the Bell curve in that I relate to my patients, have empathy and I have not been sued. While most of the physicians who have replied on this website are from the US, I am from Australia. I have spent time in the US working as a doctor and I agree with the comments made by my colleagues. My philosophy is as follows: ‘Medicine is what I do; it is not who I am’. If physicians follow this, I suspect that most of the crinkles would be ironed out.

    • Bella
      Bella November 9, 2014

      I take it you mean you have an ‘eidetic’ memory. 😉 I jest though, as you are obviously intelligent.

  28. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 21, 2015

    MD’s may have general greater IQ but they do not understand every thing, a politician shouldn’ know about Physician, although an MD has full IQ should know about politics so that mostly social science litrates are more democrat than……personal.

  29. Jay Davis
    Jay Davis August 26, 2016

    I have seen some doctors who only are in it for the million dollars. I have seen people get into med school with even C averages. I used to work at an engineering school, and believe a PhD in any accredited engineering discipline requires a lot more intelligence.
    In the US look at how they circumcise boys and collecting fees. telling lies and even CDC starts the droning when all western doctors outside of the US know circumcision is exaggerated advantages at best and a scam at worst.

  30. RN
    RN September 3, 2016

    Wow….I actually read most of this thread. I’m an RN and work very closely with Doctors every day. I also have worked several jobs before becoming an RN.

    Anyone who thinks doctors are not smart….is an idiot! You cannot compare a doctor and an engineer. Just like you can’t compare a engineer and a lawyer. I go to the professional I need. I don’t go to a lawyer for medicine, or a doctor for financial advice.

    Doctors are people, and guess what? There is a whole spectrum of intelligence levels of doctors, there are some that I get quite frustrated with as a nurse. But there are very few who I would say are not smart, and usually you can tell with a few simple questions. (Do they have hospital privileges?…there are some who choose not to that are still smart though. So you can easily dig a little deeper)

    Sounds like most of you who think doctors are dumb have had some pretty negative experiences. But that doesn’t mean they are dumb. They are among the highest IQ of any professional if you take IQ to mean anything. But really it’s not about IQ anyways. It’s all about ability. Ability to connect with the patient, find the Heath problems, and deal with those problems either by medical treatment or management. Some docs do well with management others with medical treatment, and some get so tired of people not sticking with their treatment that they become jaded and tired and focus on a paycheck. I’m sure there are engineers and lawyers who do the same. But I get frustrated by those same patients. When I get a 60 yr old man with bilateral pneumonia on triple antibiotic therapy saying “Help me with my jacket so I can go smoke” I get more than a little annoyed.

    Many of you are clearly frustrated with your physicians, that doesn’t make them dumb. Yes the best physicians are the ones who connect well with patients…and they are difficult to get in to see. Just like the best tradesmen are busy and the best lawyers are expensive. So some of you go to walk in clinics where you don’t see the best and brightest of the bunch…not their fault. And the more you display a contrary attitude towards them the less time you will find they spend with you, because they feel it’s a waste of their time. Not everyone sits in a garage telling the mechanic how to fix a car, but everone has an opinion about Heath care. Sit and listen to a doctor and sometimes you might find they will listen to you, then you might just see how smart they really are Or bitch about them when they enter ther room and watch them leave, and with them probably your best chance to hear something that could majorly impact your life that day, your choice.

    • medaholic
      medaholic October 25, 2016

      Thanks for your perspective!

  31. Kenneth Gutman
    Kenneth Gutman February 22, 2018

    I haven’t read all the posts, by a long shot, but read enough to see that disparaging IQ is almost a sport. I think that’s a mistake, and for the plainest of reasons. The real and measurable ability TO REASON — and thereby SOLVE PROBLEMS (a.k.a. ‘figuring things out’, which in auto mechanics is known as ‘trouble shooting’ and in medical practice as DIAGNOSIS) is what IQ testing is all about. Enough said? Only for the intellectually honest among us. As for the rest? They can’t be reached any way (unless you count for useless chit-chat — which I don’t).

  32. g
    g March 14, 2018

    No such thing as EQ. people with higher iq also have better social skills.

  33. Hithere
    Hithere July 9, 2018

    Disagree Medicine is a dificult discipline that requires a high degree of logical reasoning. Its a complete myth that more intelligent people have less EQ. They may be less extroverted but that is irrelevant.

  34. Randy Claywell
    Randy Claywell April 24, 2020

    I made the same mistake guessing that MD’s had science degrees. It’s a technical degree. Just like a trade school. Don’t expect a nonscientist to think and act scientifically.

  35. H rollins
    H rollins September 24, 2021

    First of all, is IQ even a valid way of measuring intelligence? Recent studies have shown that IQ tests are not good at capturing a person’s intelligence. So many academically gifted persons get falsely labelled as unintelligent because they did poorly on IQ tests. Doctors certainly do need to have a certain level of intelligence to do well. GPA levels, MCAT, USMLE and A levels used in the UK seem to be the only valid tests that predict medical student performance and future physician performance. IQ tests don’t have the same predictive validity as the tests stated above. And for those who say you need a high IQ to do well in the above tests, well, that’s incorrect. So many persons with average IQ scores do well on the MCAT, USMLE, and A levels. This means that these individuals are bright and intelligent enough for med school and to practice medicine. Just that IQ tests couldn’t capture their true intelligence. As for the above study done by University of Wisconsin…well, years ago, SAT exams were basically IQ tests. So, if you had a high IQ, you also most likely got a high SAT score, which would then allow you to enter your desired pre-med program and then med school. Now, SAT scores are more like standardized tests, which means they won’t correlate strongly with IQ. This means that someone who scores low on an IQ test can score high on SAT, get into their desired pre med program and then med school. I guarantee, if a new study was conducted, the IQ scores for MDs would be lower than stated above. IQ tests need to stop being used as an intelligence test. Better tests need to be developed to assess intelligence, that too, to assess whether someone is intelligent to do medicine or not. Just know, that if you got into med school, you are intelligent and capable enough to be a doctor.

  36. Darl
    Darl December 22, 2021

    When I was growing up America had very good smart, caring and loving doctors. The internet is our doctor. Whenever a doctor come into your room as far as I’ve seen. That laptop is where they search and get their information from. Not including all doctors just what I have observed.

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