A Med Student’s Dilemma: For Doctors-to-Be and Patients

I was on Facebook earlier, feeling rather like a failure because nearly all of my friends seem to have decided to become doctors (WTF guys? Kidding.) (Not really. Only slightly.) or at least my news feed was filled with med school related updates. There was one that caught my attention, and I think this is something that both doctors-to-be and patients-to-be can think about.

If I were already in med school, I don't think I can morally opt to go back to folding jeans at the Gap.

To a med student two doctors say:

Doctor A: “Study your books. You owe it to your patients.”

Doctor B: “Now, you just need to pass. Study smart.”

It seems to me, both doctors have a point; however, in my experience in hardcore studying (a rarity in the field of literature), it always pays more to study smart. There are only so many hours in a day, and you only have one body and one mind. Doctor A’s advice is ethically accurate, but totally impractical.

Then again, would you walk into a doctor’s office again if you found out his studying method was “study to pass.” Probably not. You probably want a doctor who can cough up a text book when asked because maybe you’ve watched too many episodes of House and think that the only kind of disease you’ll ever get are the obscure and potentially terminal ones. If you nodded your head, you definitely want a med student who goes by Doctor A’s advice.

As for me, I content myself in thinking that whatever my doctor can’t remember off the top of his head (he is a former med student who went by Doctor B’s advice) , he can look up. And if it really calls for it, he can always refer me to a doctor who can get me some help. I just hope he acts in a timely enough manner to do either of those before my obscure and potentially terminal disease takes me to a better place.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Flash Gordon
    Jun 30, 2011 @ 15:34:57

    I read every textbook I purchase for every class. But that’s really because I love new textbooks, like Hermione Granger. :p

    At least most schools offer a list of objectives for each subject the AMA wants every doctor to know and as long as you know those, you should be good for any test and for meeting patients’ needs.

    All-in-all, I don’t study just to pass. I’d shoot myself if I ever got a C in a class in med school. I do owe it to my patients to do well in med school and kick ass on my tests so that when I finally see my future patients, I can do them justice. I do this knowing that there is an easier way (studying to pass) and making the conscious decision to not go that route.


    • sm1tt3nk1tt3n
      Jul 01, 2011 @ 08:04:40

      tl; dr. LMAO.

      Seriously, though, I wasn’t trying to guilt anyone. The point I was trying to make was that doctors (and med students) are human too. Our expectations from them should be within reason.

      If, like me, you choose to read every word on your textbook, it shouldn’t be because you owe it to your patients (What patients? The patients you haven’t treated? How is it possible you owe them already? Isn’t it usually the patients who owe the doctors? Even after a quick five minute visit? I’m confused now.). If you know your book to the letter, it should be part of your quest to be the best. Now who doesn’t want that?


What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: