I read an interesting article today on the need for change in the culture of medicine.
The idea that one learns best through humiliation is bizarre to me. I’m sure there are fellow students who thrive on that feeling of being challenged and pushed, but there is a certain way of encouraging someone to think outside the box without making them feel like they’re being hung out to dry.
In the past, I’ve had experiences with doctors where if I don’t provide a spot on answer within a second of being asked the question, I’m accused of being a rubbish medical student. I’ve had seemingly funny quips about whether I even attended medical school, which I’ve awkwardly laughed off. Truthfully, in that moment I probably wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole.
I wish I could say I only speak from personal experience of being on the receiving end of an old school doctor’s grilling, but I’ve seen it happen far too many times to my fellow students. And it’s not a nice experience to watch, let alone go through. Some say that it’s all part of being a medical student. Apparently getting grilled by your seniors is viewed as some sort of twisted rite of passage. One that we all go through to reach the end goal of being able to inflict that pain on some poor soul beneath us.
I exaggarate of course, but reading this article on just how toxic medicine can be made me realise one of the reasons why I felt so demoralised by the profession.
This post is a bit of rant after a discussion over how medical school can quite frankly, be a bitch. But it doesn’t have to be. There are certain stresses to the job that you can’t change: dealing with life and death is part and parcel of being a doctor. However, medics can help make the learning and training less awful by not humilating students and making them feel even smaller than they already feel.
We already know we’re the bottom of the food chain. There’s no need to keep reminding us of how little we are.
Disclaimer: I have actually also had good experiences, despite my moaning. Some doctors know exactly how to push you as a student and at the same time make you feel like you matter to the team. Those are the doctors that are I personally have responded best to. They are the ones who I have walked away from with positive vibes about that specialty. Which is probably why I most definitely do not want to do surgery.