I can think of so many stories from personal statements where people present problems they've seen in society or clinical spaces. When they described these problems, they never just complained about the issue and left it at that or worse said something like, "I want to be a physician to make sure this problem never happens again." When my applicants have described problems, they usually show what they did in that moment to address the problem or they reflect deeply on what they think they could do in the future, using their identity or competencies, to reduce the problem. Showing this problem solving often highlighted their creativity.
The stories they told often described them doing something outside the box. For example, I remember one applicant talking about how during Covid, she had to record patients' stats for her research; however, she was not allowed to enter the rooms, so she faced a dilemma. She described buying a pair of binoculars that she used to look through the glass windows on the door to collect the information she needed from the monitor. Another applicant described her creative way of helping a patient feel more comfortable in a stressful moment. In all the situations, the applicant faced a challenge and had to use creative methods to solve it.
Finding creative methods to address problems is a skill set. Although it's not one of the Core Competencies, I believe that creativity is a necessary trait in leaders, and healthcare providers are leaders.
If you think you're a creative person, let that shine. Don't be afraid to show off what you did to solve a problem. Don't be nervous reflecting on the role of creativity in medicine. At the very least, this concept is not overused in personal statements, so it would be unique. But I would argue that creativity is needed in medicine now more than ever as we continue to face challenges with health disparities and access to healthcare. Sure, there are already many smart people in medicine attempting to tackle these issues, but guess what....they haven't done so yet, so we're all counting on your generation to help address some of this.