The life in a medical school can only be described by those who have ‘passed through’ the medical school, experienced the sad moments and even the happy times, and eventually graduated to being a hardcore doctor. To the casual observer, medical students have no problems, except that the have to study day and,
like bats at night, stay awake to study some more.
For clinical students who are posted to the wards to have a first hand experience of how patients are managed, the experience is blissful. This experience has shown, could be marred by the hierarchical system the medical profession, as a system, is so fond of upholding.
A typical ward round, in most teaching hospitals, would include, students; 400 Level, 500 Level and 600 Level, the sister nurse, and the doctors; Consultants, Senior Registrars, Registrars, Medical Officers and Intern doctors. (Recall that I already said medicine love hierarchy to a fault, but that is besides the point for now).
The consultant, the leader in every unit as above, may decide to engage the students in some form of unplanned question and answer session while he reviews each patients. It is at this point that some senior clinical students may become uncomfortable, for the following reasons;
- The fear of failing to correctly answer a question, when asked. This is one big problem for some. It is made worse in the presence of junior medical student, who may laugh him to scorn (In medical school, it is a big offence to giggle, laugh, or make a funny face, when seniors are being drilled with questions. You stand the chance of receiving mal treatments from your seniors.)
- Junior clinical students who are under dressed or over dressed for the ward round may receive an unsavoury treatment from older students. I was a victim of this!!!. I had just started my medicine clinical posting, and as a newbie, I reported late to the rounds without a tie. The consultant had no problem with me, but the scorching gaze of my seniors remain marked in my mind to this day.
- An overzealous junior clinical student. Yes ooo. This is the height of it!!! It is generally accepted that every level of student do not overstep his limit. It becomes irritating when junior clinical student decide to shove seniors aside, in a bid to impress the lecturer. This happens even to this day. It is the main thing that draws the anger of senior students.
The list, though not exhaustive, occur commonly and frequently. I witnessed number (1) and (2) last Friday alone.
Medical school could be much fun if those simple, unwritten rule and ethos are adhered to. The rules does not diminish the personality of the adherents. Junior or senior clinical students must work seamlessly and purposefully for the experience to be worthwhile.