Thoughts and insights from medical students
Med-students: Why we are sicker than our patients
Whilst having a friendly chat over coffee today with some colleagues the topic of exams came up. No suprise there considering the time of year we're in! A friend asked if any of us planned to attend a mock exam course this Saturday. I explained that I wouldn't be going as I hadn't covered enough material to make sitting a mock exam worthwhile. Two things suprised me at this point: Firstly, that two people in the group reacted to my response by rolling their eyes at one another, and secondly by how hurt I felt by this response. It's not the first time I've had a response like this from medical colleagues. Now, I can't be sure exactly why I got this response but I'm pretty sure of the reason.
Medical school culture is interesting, and like all subcultures has good and bad aspects to it. One of the bad aspects (probably the worst) is over-competitiveness. In days gone past over-competitiveness in medical training seems to have been much more visible: Stereotypically, in students fighting to 'get one over on eachother' in order to impress consultants. Today, (though many students are quick to say how much they dislike over-competitiveness), I believe it is as strong as ever, albeit far more covert and subtle. Over-competitiveness has gone 'underground' and more often manifests itself in other ways; namely, through deception and distrust.
Over-competitive students use deception to 'get one over' on 'the competition' by misleading others:
This breads a culture of distrust as students cease to believe any information that comes from another medical student. Hence, the rolling of eyes whenever I say I haven't covered a revision topic.
However, deception and distrust bring about something far worse: isolation. If we (med students) cannot confide in one another about our revision, fears, failures, and exam anxieties, who can we confide in? And what on earth does this kind of subculture say about us as human beings and future doctors?
Though I have refused to buy into this subculture I have to admit that being constantly distrusted by others is starting to wear a bit thin. It's a shame that we so poorly view the personal integrity of our peers. If medicine is about teamwork maybe we should start being more cohesive by being honest and refusing to let the culture of distrust isolate us from one another.
Tags: competition, competitive, competitiveness, over, study, exam, exams, revision, gunner, gunners, integrity