Researchers Discuss “The Sorting Hat of Medicine” in New Journal Article

While our usual thoughts about the Sorting Hat might be about quizzes that tell us in which Hogwarts House we ought to be or even the songs that accompany the Sorting Ceremonies in the Harry Potter series, researchers Maria Baimas-George and Dionisios Vrochides have taken another perspective. Just as the Hogwarts Houses attract certain personalities, Baimas-George and Vrochides explained that medical specialties do too.

Using the analogy of the Hogwarts Houses, Baimas-George and Vrochides wrote “The Sorting Hat of Medicine: Why Hufflepuffs Wear Stethoscopes and Slytherins Carry Scalpels” to explain their perspectives. The article was published in the Journal of Surgical Education earlier this month.

The fictional world of Harry Potter, a generational literary phenomenon, describes 4 distinct houses in the wizarding Hogwarts school, each valuing particular traits of mortality that correspond with personality types. As such, we hypothesized that with each medical specialty often attracting particular personalities, the percentage of residents who self-sorted into the different Hogwarts’ houses would vary depending on their chosen specialty.

For their study, Baimas-George and Vrochides sent a web survey to surgical coordinators and residents across the United States in order to find out more about their respondents, including the Hogwarts House in which they felt they belonged.

When discussing their findings, the authors noted that the real world has no Sorting Hat for medical specialties and that medical students must make the choice for themselves. Still, they found that each of the four Houses correlated with a medical specialty, “perhaps reflecting attributes that are particularly crucial or advantageous for a specific medical or surgical specialty.”

Baimas-George and Vrochides described how the Houses of the 251 residents surveyed related to their specialties.

Surgical specialties were found to have significantly fewer self-sorted Hufflepuffs (p = 0.002) and more Slytherins (p = 0.0061) than nonsurgical specialties. General surgery had significantly more Gryffindors (p = 0.04) and fewer Hufflepuffs (p = 0.0017) whereas orthopedic surgery had significantly more Slytherins (p = 0.0282). Pediatrics had significantly fewer Gryffindors (p = 0.0096) and more Hufflepuffs (p = 0.0006). Obstetrics and gynecology had significantly fewer Gryffindors (p = 0.0082) and the highest percentage of Ravenclaws when compared to all other specialties (35.3% vs 19.9%; p = 0.1344). Family medicine had no self-proclaimed Slytherins.

The authors also related the perceptions of the different Hogwarts Houses to the perceptions of those in certain specialties. Slytherin traits such as ambition, cunning, and resourcefulness were similar to the views held of those in surgical careers, where some of the words used to describe surgeons included “powerful” and “clinically astute.”

As fun as it is to see a link between the magical world and the Muggle world, Baimas-George and Vrochides had an even greater point: Knowing what personality traits might influence a person to choose a certain specialty over another is important.

Perhaps by understanding more thoroughly traits that allow for optimization of a profession, medical students may choose satisfying career paths that fit and satiate their personalities. And further, understanding the types of personalities attracted to such profession and knowing whether or not he/she will fit in and be happy around such personalities, can also serve to create a stronger and more content workforce.

To read Baimas-George and Vrochides’s article, visit ScienceDirect.

With which Hogwarts House do you most identify? What do you think of these findings? Tell us in the comments below!

Mary W.

I am a Slytherin, a lifelong fan of Harry Potter, and a member of MuggleNet staff since 2014. In my Muggle life, I am passionate about human rights, and I love to travel around the world and meet new people.