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3 Words that Medical School Will Make You Hate

Discussion in 'Pre Medical Student' started by Egyptian Doctor, May 8, 2014.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

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    1) Empathy

    When it comes to choosing medical students, medical schools begin by selecting specifically from the highest performing students, then proceed to determine which among these individuals actually care about people. What factors do admissions teams care about the most? Grades and test scores. This makes sense considering medical school is cognitively demanding and these objective measures allow for an easy way to cut through the massive number of medical school applications. Especially given that, despite all the good things that can be said about volunteering, the motives behind volunteering and helping others are subjective. (For instance, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the vast majority of volunteering done by medical students is done primarily to get into medical school.) However, when one takes the time to actually think about the personality traits often required for the pursuit of high grades; such as competitiveness, status seeking, neuroticism and possibly narcissism, it’s easy to understand how the doctor profession has a problem with empathy.

    So the question Medical Schools constantly face is what to do with a bunch of highly competitive applicants that may or may not be empathetic. Apparently steps 1 through 3 involve taking a ridiculous amount of time teaching medical students how to be empathetic. As a medical student you are going to hear more about empathy than you thought possible. You will be taught to sit down in a chair when you enter a room, because studies show that it makes the patient feel better. Make sure to ask open-ended questions that allow the patients to get out their story, and nod occasionally to make them feel listened to. Essentially you will be taught what empathy looks like, and how to go through the motions when talking to patients. It is all rather shallow and occasionally pretty funny, especially considering that it becomes increasingly hard to stay genuinely empathetic the longer one stays in medical school.

    The main reason is because nobody shows you empathy. As I alluded to earlier, doctors as a whole are competitive, as well as extremely busy. The only statement of empathy you will get from most doctors is, “toughen up buttercup”. Do you know who else doesn’t care about your problems? Pretty much everybody. Our future salaries exclude us from empathy for our current struggles from the every day person. All the while you will be overworked and digging yourself into a debt hole, which you’re too busy to worry about as you are pitted against all medical students around the country on a single test that largely determines what you can and can’t do in your career. Empathy does find it’s way into OSCE’s, which are timed tests where you perform clinical skills like physical exams, obtaining a pertinent history, and indeed showing empathy; however, only if time permits. Let’s not forget that medical schools will teach you all the empathy you want to know until you miss a tuition payment. Then it doesn’t care so much about empathy. What becomes glaringly clear is that practicing empathy for people in need is an individual endeavor, and an important one at that. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to stop you from rolling your eyes the 1,000th time this word is thrown at you.

    2) Professionalism


    Professionalism is actually a great idea that medical schools have fervently adopted.
    What often gets lost in the academic rat race that is required to enter medical school and succeed, is the fact that eventually this academic path leads to a job. A job with a boss that tells you what to do, customers that need to be serviced and appeased, as well as responsibilities that cannot be procrastinated. What at first seems rather obvious becomes anything but. The first problem is that many medical students have never really had a real job. Many of the highest performing students went from high school, to college, to medical school without ever having to do a nine to five, and whose only “boss” were their parents. Even individuals who have had nine to fives will end up getting lost in the openness of the first two years, where medical students can wake up when they want, stream lectures, and learn at their own pace. Eventually, medical school requires a subjective metric by which to make even the most brilliant of physicians abide by the rules of the workplace.

    However, what starts off as a good idea falls apart rather quickly. In the first two years professionalism goes from a worthy ideal to that arm twist that gets medical students to do things that are actually the least useful to their future professional lives. Nutrition lectures, humanities lectures, class-wide kumbayas, you name it. I agree that hypothetically it would be unprofessional to turn in an essay about “how I feel” late, however until writing essays becomes a serious part of a doctor’s responsibilities, it seems rather dumb to act like it is. Moreover, professionalism is just as easily used in the even more subjective, “I don’t really like you” type of way. In this case, arbitrary preferences of the individuals in charge suddenly become the manual for professionalism that you must abide by. In the end, professionalism just becomes another hoop to jump through, however one that you’re not entirely sure the location or dimensions of.

    3) Alternative Medicine

    The last words you will likely begin to dislike are alternative medicine. Why? Because you will spend all of your time learning about real medicine. The kind of medicine that relies on science and has had its efficacy proven by intelligent people conducting research. Why does x therapy work? Because it was experimented on animals, then a small subset of humans, then a large subset of humans and all of them showed a benefit. Is this system perfect? No. However, it is infinitely better than the methods that the vast majority of alternative medicine takes (which is usually none). herbal medicine, Reiki, much of chiropractics, though they have their merits, these merits will blow the doors wide open to what they can purportedly do. Did you know realigning the spine can help with asthma? Well it’s never been proven, but it’s also never been disproven either, 100 dollars will let you find out. What quickly becomes apparent when evaluating alternative medicine as a whole is that it can cure just about anything; as long as it’s not an actual emergency.

    And don’t think this is just a harmless personal prejudice. I once had the unfortunate experience of talking to an EMS worker who asked me about a treatment he had his daughter undergo to cure her of Down syndrome. This treatment occurred in some woman’s basement, where she performed a procedure that involved finding compounds that the daughter was allergic to, and then proceeding to cure her through the use of some fancy electromagnetic machine. Somehow this was supposed to cure this little girl of her Down Syndrome. He paid 800 dollars. He then asked me, just a medical student, if he was scammed. It had to tell him yes. It’s pretty sad to see a knowledgeable man’s desperation turn into a quick buck. In the end I feel the situation is best summed up by this joke: Do you know what they call alternative medicine that has its efficacy researched and proven? Medicine.

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  2. Freezehold

    Freezehold Young Member

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    Dont be an ASS. You know number 3 is NOT TRUE. You and your 100 years of OCCIDENTAL MEDICINE, cant do anything against 5000 years of ORIENTAL MEDICINE.
    Of course there are things that wont work as they say, and people that'll say they can do it but cant...
    But it works! You know why?. Because whatever you do your pacient will die anyway even if you dont want to.
    I guess you will have to find another career man.

    Egyptian Doctor, Today at 3:11 PM
     

  3. GaboGalban

    GaboGalban Young Member

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    How about no.
     

    Aldo Quevedo likes this.
  4. Shahid Dar

    Shahid Dar Famous Member

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  5. OB1

    OB1 Young Member

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    Hi,
    I found the article interesting, your take on "alternative medicine" is fairly simplistic.
    There is no doubt there are some people doing dodgy crap and charging for it, the same as there are doctors who have taken $ from companies such as cigarette companies and drug companies and pushed the product motivated by personal gain rather than health outcomes for their patients.
    The main point is though in the 1950's - 1960's doctors were seen as the authority on health and a lot of the older generation around now still have that attitude. Out of this period developed the need for ways to deal with chronic conditions that didn't involve taking drugs (with long lists of side effects) to manage symptoms. This need for better results lead to people trying different forms of therapies which in Australia is now a $2 billion industry. Rather than teaching medical students to automatically disrespect anything that hasn't come from a drug company it would be good to see doctors having an open mind.
    What we need is more good quality research, this will happen when educated people take an interest in what else is available that hasn't been created in a lab.
    The western medical models preoccupation with evidence based medicine is great except there is a major problem with it.
    The people who fund the research corrupt the results - google drug company fraud and you will get many examples of the very companies who fund research that are demonstrating unethical behaviour.
    There is also evidence of research projects that showed unfavourable results not being published & really dodgy research practices such as in one gardesil trial the control group was given a different vaccine rather than a saline injection (therefore rates of adverse reactions were not apparent).
    The structure of some drug trails where prior to the trail starting the sample group is given the drug for a short period of time and anyone who has an early reaction is not included in the trail also reduces the rates of adverse responses as the most sensitive are never tested.

    Check out Dr Ben goldacres website Bad science for other examples of poor scientific rigour in drug trails.
    The cholesterol/statins and dietary recommendations which have been accepted as a evidence based "fact" is also being questioned as there is some evidence that the original data was cherry picked to produce a particular outcome which has lead to a multi billion dollar industry.
    The issue is that these examples demonstrate that the evidence that is used by doctors can be tainted, incomplete and be more about drug company profits and less about what is the best possible health outcome for the individual client.
    So it is relatively easy to look down your nose at alternative therapists and group then in with fortune tellers & scam artists however the majority of people who use these therapists get some benefit from doing it, otherwise they would choose to spend their money elsewhere.
    It would be great to have doctors that were inquisitive and interested in what else is out there and work with complimentary therapists, to do the research and to get better health outcomes for people in need of help, rather than an us vs them approach.
     

    Artemesia likes this.
  6. Dr. wills

    Dr. wills Well-Known Member

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    Alternative medicine is very appropriate in the modern generation.
     

  7. Markom

    Markom Active member

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    Alternative medicine is usually poorly researched hard to dose, rarely more effective that placebo and sometimes quite dangerous. I will stick to the scientifically tried medications when treating my patient not the word of some tribesman swearing this or that herd cured hit renal insufficiency... Don't forget that even though people had these drugs for thousands of years it didn't seem to do the much good seeing as modern medicine has significantly increased quality and quantity of life.
     

    Igor Babii likes this.
  8. Igor Babii

    Igor Babii Famous Member

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    The magic words "no side effects".:)
     

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