ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: Medical School Hazing

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Medical School Hazing

Upon entering medical school, I figured there was going to be some sort of hazing or initiation rituals someone would make me go through. Seeing as this is the medical profession, I assumed that most of the hazing would involve various demeaning verbal assaults on my intelligence, ability, and/or character by preceptors or angry residents. Perhaps the older students would make us clean up shit off the floor that a patient so lovingly deposited. However, I never really expected to be put down until a little later on in my career, because they honestly can't expect us to really know anything useful after three weeks.

So it came as a surprise that my first putdown would come not from any health professional or person affiliated with the medical industry, but from what seemed to be a group of old cranky men who use the VA hospital as their hangout. A group of us were heading into the hospital to learn how to take blood pressure, use an opthalmascope, and other assorted random stuff that we'll never actually do as doctors because they pay other people to do such things(and as an aside, none of us could really figure out why my medical school made us shlep to the VA anyways - granted, it's not a shlep by pure distance, but it took me about 20 minutes to drive three blocks from the VA back to the main campus for seemingly no benefit; after all, we were just using some small rooms and that's it). We obviously stood out, looking like total jackasses in our white coats that were made short on purpose to identify that we were in training and not yet worthy of the full on white gown. A few thought it would be fun to wear the stethescope around their shoulders. That probably didn't help either, since none of us were over 25. Anyways, one of the old-guy group took a look at us and laughed. He then said "Hey you guys gonna be future doctors?". I replied, "Hopefully!", trying to be polite and respectful to old people like i was taught. He then said (looking directly at me) "Wow I really hope not!". In five seconds this guy managed to pick out my total ignorance with everything about medicine. Needless to say, I was impressed. Oh and that doesn't do wonders for one's self esteem, knowing that the verbal abuse gets much worse later on.

Now that I have typed this out it doesn't seem like a big deal...oh well