Residency Interview Question #5: When was the last time you got mad?
I had a disagreement with one of my classmates during a residency interview study session about the correct answer to an ambiguous, ethical-type question. Both of us felt that we were correct, and I began to get angry at my classmate’s refusal to acknowledge other points of view or compromise, as they felt there was only one right answer. I asked my classmate to explain more fully why they believed their answer was correct and why other potential responses were wrong. Once my classmate more fully explained their point of view, I realized that in their perspective the question was not ambiguous at all. I apologized to my classmate for getting angry, and we agreed to disagree on the right answer.
This disagreement taught me that getting angry over every difference of opinion or perspective is not helpful and that moving forward requires some form of compromise. After this argument, I investigated ways to practice better conflict resolution, especially when a perfect solution is not available. This was a teaching moment for me about remaining open-minded and flexible, but it also highlighted the importance of having effective communication strategies, as this type of disagreement could potentially impact patient care if doctors are unwilling to consider alternate viewpoints.