SJT: Key Domains – Professionalism

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July 15, 2014 by Emedica

Professionalism is a concept which is difficult to define but relatively easy to spot! Although most UKCAT students will not have acted as a ‘professional’ in their lives to date the test wants to know that you have the skills and the instinct to do so. Many of the skills are simple ‘life skills’ which you will probably have employed in your academic career (hopefully!) given that you’ve done well enough to consider such a demanding career!

Some key areas, which you may well already be expert in, include the following:

  • Commitment to learning

A thirst for knowledge is a crucial quality in any demanding academic pursuit or professional career. UKCAT will want you to demonstrate that you’re prepared to prioritise your learning and be willing to ‘go the extra mile’ rather than settling for the bare minimum.

  • Perseverance

If at first you don’t succeed…… No one succeeds first time every time. The world is divided into those who give up on the first attempt, those who give up after a couple of tries and those who doggedly battle onwards! A medical or dental career WILL involve numerous setbacks and numerous opportunities to give up, or back down, or settle. In order to ensure you’re the ‘right stuff’ this section of the UKCAT will check you’re not a quick quitter!

  • Resilience

Similar, in some ways, to perseverance but more about your response to difficult situations. It’s likely that at some point in your training someone will shout at you for example. Are you the type of person to go home and cry into your pillow or the type to chalk it up to experience, learn the lessons necessary and show up with undiminished enthusiasm and vigour the next day? (Or maybe a bit of both!)

  • Initiative

It’s important that you can take intiative. It’s hard to train someone who wants to be spoon fed every step of the way, even harder to entrust the health and wellbeing of patients to someone like this. On a lower level the UKCAT wants to know if you’re someone who will look for soluitions and act on them when a problem presents or if you’re the sort of person who will simply complain about the problem.

  • Good working relationships

Protect these! If you have to work with someone you want to have a good relationship with them. You don’t need to like them, or socialise with them but you do need to be able to work in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. It’s important that you prioritise your working relationships and consider them in every scenario.

  • Good communication

Someone who is poor at communicating with people is unlikely to make a good doctor or dentist – both of which are jobs which require good and detailed communication with colleagues and patients. Keeping everyone involved in a case ‘in the loop’ in an efficient and timely manner is a crucial skill.


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