Your mom wants to tell everyone her daughter is a hot-shot doctor, but does being a doctor gel with your personality?
Carl Jung theorized that there are four basic psychological functions through which we experience the world around us: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. Later his wife and daughter expanded on this theory and created the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. The theory is that our behaviors are predictable based upon our perceptions and judgement. There are 16 different personality types based on an individual’s preference to 4 different categories, as follows:
- A focus on the inner world (Introversion, “I”) verses outer world (Extroversion, “E”).
- A focus on information as you’re taking it in (Sensing, “S”) verses interpretation and applied meaning (Intuition, “N”).
- A focus on decision-making and logic (Thinking, “T”) over perspectives of people or special circumstance (Feeling, “F”).
- A preference to make a decision (Judging “J”) over being open to new ideas (Perceiving, “P”).
Each letter represents the preference within each category. There are 16 possible combinations, and each provides insight into how you experience the world. The Myers-Briggs test takes about 12 minutes to complete.
The Myers-Briggs Indictor has been used to guide people in their career choices. It is an often-administered tool by HR departments to determine whether you, as a candidate, will make a good fit for the role they’re trying to fill.
While we may think that doctors use critical decision-making skills over feelings or intuition, the truth is that doctors span all 16 different personality characteristics. Other characteristics of great doctors include an investigative or inquisitive nature. Within the confines of Myers-Briggs, one study showed a preference towards sensing, thinking, and judging (STJ) with a stronger profile observed in experienced physicians over brand new doctors. The authors interpretation is that career stage is associated with personality preferences.
Here’s the breakdown of what that study found to be the best personality type of a doctor.
A person scoring high in the “S” or sensing category.
Sensing individuals pay close attention to physical reality – what we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. This person notices facts, stays grounded in the present and what is real. Makes practical use of things. According to the Myers and Briggs Foundation, the following statements apply to these people:
- I solve problems by working through facts until I understand the problem.
- I am pragmatic and look to the “bottom line.”
- I start with the facts and then form a big picture.
Someone who scores high in the “T” or thinking category.
People who score high in the “T” category like to find the truth or principle to be applied. They are less concerned with the specific situation, but rather analyze the pros and cons and apply logical decision-making skills. These people are not influenced by personal wishes or thoughts. Typically, T people identify with the following statements:
- I enjoy technical and scientific fields where logic is important.
- I look for logical explanation or solutions to most everything.
- Sometimes I miss or don’t value the “people” part of a situation.
Scoring high in the “J” or judging category is a doctor-like personality characteristic.
Judging uses decision-making skills over preferences. Judging is not about passing opinion. These people prefer an orderly or planned life that is under control. The following are identifiable for people who score high in the “J” category:
- I like to have things decided.
- I appear to be task oriented.
- I like to make lists of things to do.
To be honest, these sound like great traits for a doctor to have. I think if we’re truly being honest with ourselves, we would rather have someone who pays attention to what is real than abstract when being diagnosed with an injury or illness.
For fun, below is a list of personality types associated with medical specialties who score high in sensing, thinking, and judging. You can take the test to see if you have the best personality for a doctor and where you fit on this list. Does it resonate with you? Still want to be a doctor? Then go for it! And remember, there are a lot of other medical specialties that don’t subscript solely to sensing, thinking, and judging.
- Family practice
- Orthopedic surgery
- General practice
- General surgery
- Orthopedic surgery
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