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Self-awareness in the Medicine curriculum - The Myers Briggs Personality Inventory. Dr Richard Price School of Medical Sciences Education Development. Content. Rationale – why do we do this? Context – what is the MBTI? Content – what do we do? Impact – student evaluation?

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self awareness in the medicine curriculum the myers briggs personality inventory

Self-awareness in the Medicine curriculum - The Myers Briggs Personality Inventory

Dr Richard Price

School of Medical Sciences Education Development

  • Rationale – why do we do this?
  • Context – what is the MBTI?
  • Content – what do we do?
  • Impact – student evaluation?
  • Future thoughts and plans?
  • Growing importance of development of professionalism
  • Self-awareness an important part of professionalism
  • Self aware doctors are better doctors
  • Professional – ‘doctors use themselves to practice the art (of medicine). This requires a considerable degree of self-awareness’ (Thislethwaite and Spencer 2008 )
  • Practical – ‘Medical students are exposed to a hidden curriculum that places the acquisition of biomedical knowledge above the development of awareness skills that enhance the relationship between doctor and patient’ (Dobie (2007))
the mbti
  • An instrument that helps you identify your preferred ways of;
  • gathering information
  • making decisions
  • orientating yourself to the world around you
the mbi applications
  • Understanding more about yourself
  • Understanding more about others
  • Understanding more about how you interact with others
evidence base
Evidence base?
  • Model based on theory
  • Good research evidence of reliability and validity
  • But...
  • Is personality that fixed?
  • Transmitting the complexity of the model
  • Whether true or not, gives us a language..
important safety features
  • Attendance compulsory, participation voluntary – self awareness/ MBTI tool
  • No assessment or record
  • Confidential and purely for your benefit
  • A model – may or may not work for you
  • Clarity issues
  • Not pigeon – holing or judgemental
  • Not meant to be self-fulfilling!
  • No right or wrongs
  • No better or worse types
outline of session
  • Introductory comments
  • Do questionnaire
  • Theory
  • Explanation of categories to enable individual clarification
  • Coffee
  • So what? – communicating/ working with other types
  • Some light –hearted exercises
  • How do I learn?
  • Four dichotomous areas
  • Where do you prefer to focus your attention/ get your energy?
  • How do you take in information?
  • How do you make decisions?
  • How do you deal with the outer world?
preference 1 where do you prefer to focus your attention get your energy
Preference 1 – where do you prefer to focus your attention / get your energy?


  • Drawn to outer world
  • Prefer talking
  • Learn best by discussing and doing
  • Sociable and expressive


  • Drawn to inner world
  • Prefer writing
  • Learn best by reflection
  • Private and contained
preference 2 how do you prefer to take in information
Preference 2 – how do you prefer to take in information?


  • Future possibilities
  • Big picture
  • Imaginative and creative
  • Focus on patterns and meanings
  • Remember detail when they fit a pattern
  • Quick conclusions/ hunches
  • Trust inspiration
  • Clarify theories and ideas before putting into practice


  • Detail
  • Factual and concrete
  • Focus on real/ actual
  • Observe and remember details
  • Build carefully and thoroughly towards conclusions
  • Trust experience
  • Understand through practical application
preference 3 how do you process information and make decisions
Preference 3 – how do you process information and make decisions


  • ‘stand inside’
  • Empathic
  • Assess impacts of decisions on people/ personal values
  • Strive for harmony
  • Fair – everyone treated as an individual


  • ‘stand outside’
  • Analytical/ Logical
  • Use cause and effect reasoning
  • Strive for Objective truth
  • Fair – everyone treated equally
preference 4 how do you deal with the outer world
Preference 4 – how do you deal with the outer world?


  • Spontaneous
  • Flexible
  • Casual
  • Open-ended
  • Adapt/ change course
  • Like things loose and open to change
  • Feel energised by last minute pressures


  • Scheduled
  • Planned / organised
  • Systematic
  • Methodical
  • Make short and long-term plans
  • Like to have things decided / closed
  • Try to avoid last minute stress
  • How you and others communicate
  • How you and others work
  • How you can adapt to get the best out of others and your relationships with others
  • Simple eg.... T/F and feedback
Question ....
  • I have to finish my work before I can play
  • Or...
  • I can play anytime
  • I like to book my holidays 10 months in advance
  • Or…
  • I like to book my holidays 1 week in advance
evaluation results stage 4
Evaluation results Stage 4
  • 69% - ‘moderately/ very significant overall’
  • Recommend to others? – 87%
stage 4 evaluation contd
Stage 4 evaluation contd...

‘How much has it helped your skills and understanding in...’

  • Communication issues – 56%
  • How you learn – 47%
  • Relationships with others – 61%
  • Working in groups – 62%
  • Organising your life – 50%
and 1 year on
And 1 year on...?
  • Significant overall – 55%
  • Recommend to others– 79%
personal insights
Personal Insights...
  • I had never considered the usefulness or importance of personality type before and prior to the session had felt perfectly settled with my personality as it appeared to me...However, after the session I found it interesting to look at myself with this new knowledge and gain a better understanding of why I might behave in a certain way in certain situations as well as generally which I hadn't previously considered. It also made me more aware of interactions with others.
personal insights1
Personal Insights
  • I honestly thought this was one of the best sessions I've had so far in medical school (and I've already done first year once!),
insights about others
Insights about others...
  • I do feel that some less thoughtful people may benefit from this as it reminds them that those around them are not carbon copies and that they should act accordingly
  • Learning how to interact with other personality types was very helpful
  • It has made me more patient with P people and deadlines.
it s ok to be me
It’s OK to be me...
  • It helped me to realise that my personality and approach to situations is not wrong as I previously believed that when others tackled situations in a different approach to myself, their approach was right and mine is wrong.
  • It gave me a better understanding of why I struggle sometimes with work or revision when I copy the revision styles of other people, as it probably isn't the option that suits me
it s ok to be me1
It’s OK to be me...
  • Really helps you understand yourself more, for example I am a very feeling person and I have often wondered why I find feedback hard to take.
it s ok to be me2
It’s OK to be me...
  • I always felt that I had a personality that was different from my cohort. The session showed that was true but also helped me realise that it didn't matter
  • It is the best thing the Medical School could offer us! Getting an understanding of my personality helped me change the way I study and learn to a much more productive and satisfying one. Also, realising that not agreeing with people in groups is mainly a matter of personality type is extremely useful as it helps you accept differences and not take things personally.
it s ok to be me3
It’s OK to be me...
  • One little sentence said in the session made a world of difference to me and that was the least common type in the UK is INFJ (and INFP) and if you're one of these and feel out of place, this might be why. I'm not from the UK and have often found the British way of thinking a real struggle for me. This certainly has helped, as well as seeing so many with my type on the course. I'm not using it as an excuse, but rather a tool to change my reactions and already, less than a week later, I can see a difference. Thanks so much! I admit that I did not think this session would be any good but I'm glad I was proven wrong.
interesting but not useful
Interesting but not useful...
  • Although it was relatively interesting, it didn’t really tell me anything I wasn’t at least vaguely aware of in my personality type.
negative aggressive
Negative/ aggressive...
  • Personally I never think about my personality
  • I know myself, and don't need to be told about my personality

Personality is far too multi faceted and its origins and expression too multi-factorial for a scientific evaluation of it to be worthwhile. The concept of reducing it to a 4 dimensional black and white analysis is arbitrary and unhelpful. For it to take three hours is a joke.I also found the idea that I am fundamentally limited in the ways that I should be behaving most of the time in order to live a life that is suited to who I was biologically set up to be, potentially destructive.Personally I think that Myers Briggs is medical school funded narcissism and would have liked to have seen the money spent on other things

potentially harmful
Potentially harmful?...
  • I found it quite unsettling as an introvert with a tendency to overanalyse anyway. Particularly after googling further information about my personality type and finding postings from people feeling they didn't fit into the world, considering themselves, 'alien' and struggling with interpersonal relationships.It made me question whether or not I'm actually suited to medicine, as though of course everyone can act in multiple ways outside of their own personality type, perhaps if you are never able to be your 'shoes off self' its more tiring/stressful?I've actually tried to avoid thinking about it at all since, as I don't think its very helpful for me to do so.
future links and developments
Future links and developments
  • Initial session year 1 – questionnaire and self assessment.
  • Links to communication, teamwork and learning style - compulsory
  • Year 4 – repeat questionnaire and brief overview of theory.
  • Brief review of links to communication
  • Links to career choice, understanding and managing stress, decision making
wider agenda
Wider agenda
  • Improving support for transition to the workplace
  • Large prevalence of stress in medics
  • Possibly one way to enhance ‘individualisation’ of provision within a large student body – appraisal, personal education plans, enhancing feedback etc

Thank you!!!