The experience of being an applicant is a familiar one. We apply for admission to colleges, medical schools, internship and residency programs, professional societies, clubs; we apply for scholarships, research grants, hospital appointments, jobs, promotions; and for acceptance by communities, referring networks, colleagues, and business associates. The process of application is sometimes simple but may be hazardous, threatening to self-esteem, and painful.
The ill person seeking medical help—the pros-pective patient—is also an applicant in important respects. He goes to a medical facility (physician, clinic, hospital) when he has troubles that he considers (1) more or less serious and (2) amenable to help by the physician's skills. At the same time, he often has doubts as to whether he is "really" sick and whether he will accept the treatment offered. Similarly, the medical facility does not offer treatment to all applicants. There is a growing body of evidence to