My son took the ACT in preparation for college applications. On the back of the scoring report, the ACT provided its World-of-Work Map. The World-of-Work Map organizes occupations into clusters, graphically showing how different jobs relate to primary work tasks. The primary work tasks include working with data, working with things, working with ideas and working with people.
The assignment of health care workers into this chart is quite insightful, and perhaps a little problematic. The chart lists two forms of health care work groups, specifically “health care” and “medical diagnosis and treatment.” By health care, the chart refers to hands-on professionals like athletic trainers, dental hygienists and health service administrators. Under “medical diagnosis and treatment,” the chart includes doctors, dentists and veterinarians.
The placements of these two categories on the chart are quite different. The health care workers are listed in the range for “working with people.” These jobs are for “people persons,” those who like helping, caring, serving for, and selling things to other people. In contrast, the “medical diagnosis and treatment” jobs section is on the chart just about smack in the middle of the section for people who like working with ideas. These medical jobs, according to the chart, should appeal to people who like to work with ideas; in other words, people who like gaining knowledge, insights and new ways of expression.
Based on what we know about what drives patient satisfaction and about what it takes to be a good physician from a patient’s perspective, this chart underestimates the importance of working with people for a career in medicine. Sure, it’s important for physicians to be good at ideas, to understand science, to make accurate diagnoses and provide effective, safe treatments. That alone isn’t enough, though. Doctors have to be personable, and they have to establish effective relationships with their patients.