What personality characteristics predict successful performance among neurosurgical residents? Until a recent study we conducted with J3Personica Founder & CEO Alan Friedman, published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, nobody knew for certain.
During the 2014-2015 application cycle, J3P administered our personality assessments to 54 neurosurgery applicants from the Cleveland Clinic Neurosurgical Residency Program. This pilot study, the first of its kind for neurosurgery residents, aimed to determine the correlation between traditional measures used to evaluate an applicant, such as United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE I) scores, number of publications, and grades.
“Currently, most residency programs rely on subjective or irrelevant criteria, such as appearance, interviews or letters of recommendation,” says Friedman. “Such sources often provide little information concerning one of the most critical aspects of success: the ability to perform your best work in life-or-death situations. Our Residency Select tool provides objectively based data to supplement existing selection criteria.”
The study found that high performers remain calm under pressure, are rule compliant, are sensitive to patient needs, and stay current with medical trends. Low performers tend to overreact to stressful situations, are sensitive to criticism, are overly self-confident, and make impractical decisions. From a values standpoint, high performers had a strong desire to help others, a need for structure to minimize risk, an appreciation of doing what’s right for the patient, and valued relationships more than profitability.
“When dealing with patients, particularly in neurosurgery, the stakes are incredibly high,” says Edward Benzel, M.D., Chairman, Department of Neurological Surgery, Cleveland Clinic. “Therefore, it was important for us to identify additional tools and methods to ensure our selection process was as accurate as possible when considering candidates for our Neurosurgical residency training program.”
Although it is important to recognize that there is no best personality for a career in neurosurgery, the data gathered in this study provides meaningful and objective information that may be helpful in the selection and development of neurosurgical residents.
J3Personica is working at every level of the healthcare system, and recently completed a similar study last year aimed at identifying characteristics associated with successful orthopedic resident performance.
“At J3Personica, we are increasing self-awareness within the healthcare system from the trainee to the practicing professional,” says Friedman. “We are revolutionizing the way healthcare prepares people to care for people, and we have the science to back it up.”