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Debunking Myths Medical Students Believe

Discussion in 'Medical Students Cafe' started by Ghada Ali youssef, Jan 27, 2017.

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  1. Ghada Ali youssef

    Ghada Ali youssef Golden Member

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    To say that our healthcare system is in disarray is an understatement. Medical students, physicians, and patients are all struggling under the weight of a broken system. The first step towards positive change is debunking some of the incorrect assumptions contributing to these issues.

    Myth #1: Working more is better
    Go to any medical website, and you’ll see a plethora of articles addressing physician depression, burnout, suicide, and self-care tips. It’s no secret that medical school, resident and physician requirements need to change for the sake of everyone involved, patients included.

    Especially in our career-driven culture, working overtime and being stressed are seen as badges of honor and signs of commitment. Physicians, especially, feel extra pressure to work more because of the high-stakes nature of their profession and all the people depending on them. This mentality ends up hurting patients and the healthcare system more than it helps.

    Recent studies show that dissatisfaction with career and care among physicians and patients drastically decreases when given duty-hour flexibility. These findings need to result in serious change if we are to sustain physicians, patients, and healthcare system as a whole.

    Myth #2: Black patients have better immune systems
    Though this may seem like a ridiculous assumption, it’s startling how many medical students base treatment of patients between different races on biological differences that don’t exist.

    For example, recent surveys show the majority of medical students believe African American patients have better immune systems, stronger bones, higher tolerance to pain, and even thicker skin. These false assumptions have led to the mistreatment and under-treatment of black patients for decades.

    Possibly more disturbing than any cultural influence leading to this myth is that some medical schools are teaching this to students. By the time medical students become physicians, these misconceptions can become ingrained, and therefore harder to correct. Perhaps, by providing less than adequate care to an entire portion of the population based on a misconception, we create the problems we’re ostensibly trying to address.

    Myth #3: Our healthcare system specializes in customer service
    Though it would make sense that an industry that exists to help people would be experts in treating people well, the reality is the U.S. healthcare system currently has the worst customer service of any other field.

    Most of this is due to the fact that patients have been replaced by paying third-parties as the customer. What medical practices don’t realize is by putting their patients second and cheating them out of the best care, they’re actually losing more business and profit than they are gaining.

    Patients who feel mistreated with avoid visits, neglect advice, and make your job harder. Patients who feel accommodated will seek you out, apply your suggestions, and make your life more enjoyable. In other words, your patients’ satisfaction will directly affect your own, so providing the best customer service possible is a win-win approach for all involved.

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