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J R Soc Med. 1993 July; 86(7): 400–403.
PMCID: PMC1293010

Selecting anaesthetists: the use of psychological tests and structured interviews.


To test the predictive validity of a selection system for Senior House Officers (SHOs) and registrars in anaesthetics, 140 doctors short-listed from 635 applications between 1980 and 1987 were assessed by a semi-structured interview assessed and a personality questionnaire (Cattell 16PFQ-form C). The 62 doctors selected were followed up for between 3 and 8 years. Future performance was predicted from the psychological tests and by the interviewers. Academic, clinical, behavioural, and overall performance were used as criteria of outcome. Correlation coefficients between prediction and outcome measures were statistically highly significant (P < 0.01). Using multiple regression, equations could be derived from five of the Cattell personality factors to predict overall performance. Personality measures discriminated significantly between the best and poorest performers. Interview predictions were also statistically significant (P < 0.01). The method provides a blueprint for the effective selection of junior anaesthetists. Wastage in terms of those leaving the specialty was 16%.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Vickers MD, Reeve PE. Selection methods in medicine: a case for replacement surgery? J R Soc Med. 1990 Sep;83(9):541–543. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Reeve PE. Personality characteristics of a sample of anaesthetists. Anaesthesia. 1980 Jun;35(6):559–568. [PubMed]
  • Bruce DL, Katz SE, Turndorf H, Trounstine P, Hardesty A. Psychometric comparisons of trainees and consultants in anaesthesia and psychiatry. Br J Anaesth. 1983 Dec;55(12):1259–1264. [PubMed]
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