Monday, 29 January 2007

The 'Perfect' Medical Student

At the risk of alienating many of my readers, its about time I moaned about medical students. Not all of them mind, you all know the types. The ones who have already been published in an internationally renowned journal by the end of the first term at university. By the end of the second term they are president of the student council. During their first summer they go to Africa to cure AIDS whilst also managing to present their international research at some flash conference in Hawaii. Always top of the year, or there abouts, captain of the football/hockey team, doing a part time research project to cure cancer, etc etc. You get the idea, those perfect medical students who are involved in everything, always work hard, brown nose everyone and probably think they're better than everyone else.

I've always hated those types, some people have even accused me of being jealous of them. That's ridiculous, it couldn't be further from the truth. I do acknowledge the fact that they'll probably get their first choice job, will be consultants before you can say 'I'm a medical student get me out of here', and will probably be running the country before they're 30. I just can't stand their attitude, maybe I'm just too cynical but their brown nosing, underhand and selfish tactics piss me off. They're always far too enthusiastic and can often be found having 'secret teaching' which should be open to the rest of the group but which they've conveniently forgotten to inform the others about.

I think I need to make a distinction between those who work hard to look clever and those who falsely epitomise perfection. I've recently come to realise, its not those who genuinely put in the effort to look good who annoy me. Its those who's ears prick up at the prospect of being published to boost their CV and those who take up places on student committees to give them something to write about on applications. Its these people who sneakily have 'secret teaching' without telling anyone else. These people are completely false, they don't actually care about anyone or anything but themselves, its those people that I hate. Not the people who work hard and actually care about others.

Hmmm, I seem to have made another booboo about what I'm talking about, I've lost myself so if you're reading you've probably got no idea what I'm talking about.

Basically, no longer do I harbour immense hate towards those 'perfect' types its those who want to be perfect in a false, CV whore type way that I can't stand, those who will actually use underhand tactics in order to make themselves look better than you.

I've recently realised that I need to put in a little more effort to make my CV worthy of giving me a job. I don't intend to be someone who just cares about myself, I'm perfectly happy to share my knowledge with the next person, unlike some.

I need to start thinking about my posts a bit more to make them make the sort of sense that I want them to. *dumbass*


the little medic said...

Can anyone tell me why my formatting fucks up when I put a picture in?

ablelam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MJ said...

Your post made perfect sense. Trouble is, I think they'll be a lot more of that type of medical student soon because of MMC and the crappy way to apply for jobs.

Has it ever occurred to you that these sort of people are just 'economical with the truth' on their CVs and aren't as great and good as they make out to be?

On paper, my CV looks good. Not great but good. I worked hard at med school and have completed good rotations with good references. I haven't had any work published (but then I haven't tried that hard). I was involved on the hockey team as a committee member at university and I have been a mentor to medical students on placements.

However, I would classify myself, without all the additions, as an average doctor. After all, bullshitting only ever gets you so far.


missbliss said...

I think you do pretty well on the writing front for a scientist.

Fret not, I'm a rumpelstiltskin when it comes to CVs (meaning I can make straw into gold!).

Even I know the types you're talking about. Being a good professional means being good without:
1) being underhand and deliberately depriving others of the same opportunities so they can look better
2) mentioning the latest buzzword or soundbite at every opportunity as a crutch because they know nothing else

Anyway, off to watch Panorama - medicine for suicide causing suicide? Could that not be because depression is also rather linked to suicide??

j00ni said...

I agree with MJ that MMC puts us in direct competition with our peers, and thus virtually encourages the attitude you describe.

Having said that I think that there has always been a lot of that attitude about, and medicine in particular seems to be the perfect breeding ground. I suppose you just have to accept it and live with it, trying not to sink to their level. Personally I feel the means must always justify the end, and could never intentionally deceive my fellow med students - though I can be guilty of being over keen, I would never be so to make others look bad (I hope)

And what you said about running the country, well who better as a perfect example of such personalities as MPs eh?

HospitalPhoenix said...

Sure, there are people who are good on paper, but they're not necessarily the people the bosses want working for them. As a good-on-paper doctor, I can assure you of that! And for the record, I have a great CV and have never brown nosed in my life. If I had, it would almost definitely have helped me up the career ladder, but my conscience would never allow me to stoop to that level. And if anyone brown-noses me when I'm a consultant, I'll think they're a twat.

A good CV gets you shortlisted and nothing more. If you have the best CV on the planet, then fuck up the interview or have a member of the panel take out their personal insecurities on you, you won't get the job.

MMC may be standardised, but you're still being interviewed by human beings.

And on the research side of things - bollocks. A medical student who 'publishes' something has obviously just got their name on someone else's work. I supervised an elective student who wanted to spend his elective researching, and he has his name on one of my papers for simply turning up at the lab a couple of times a week. He didn't even understand the work I'd been doing so he got me to explain it all to him in case he was asked about the paper in his FY interview.

It sucks that students are being pitched against each other academically, no doubt about it. But be assured that students who do things 'just for the CV' are wankers, and any Consultant worth their salt will see them for the brown-nosing twats they are.

Que sera sera.

The Angry Medic said...

Nice post. You got lots of erudite comments from doctors, with a view to MMC and post-med school, but as a med student, I get exactly where you're coming from. These ponces who walk around grabbing awards and padding their CVs should all be castrated with a very blunt brick.

Thanks for the birthday wishes! Glad to see your banner's working now--hope I helped. Looks like your blog's starting to take off :)

Merys said...

The only problem lies with the 'if you can't beat them, join them debate'.

I'm not suggesting sly and underhand techniques, but I've started building up connections to get some extra clinical experience. I've told my colleagues about this, and even told them how I got it...however, I'm not going to spoon feed it to them on a plate

Ocyrrhoe said...

I know exactly what you mean.
As a mediocre medic, it was really frustrating listening to others going on about what they were putting down for each question of the foundation job application - not knowing which of the 5 trillion examples of probity to choose from, all the while wondering if I even had done something that fit the bill.
In the end I got my first choice of job. I like to think that its not cos no one else wanted it - after all, it does not include psych or chemical pathology!
When you do something you really enjoy - it shows. Compared to those that do something just for their CV.
Trouble is getting it across in writing (rather than the eager glow on one's face).
On the bright side, a blog will give you the practice!

Ocyrrhoe said...

I know exactly what you mean.
As a mediocre medic, it was frustrating listening to others trying to decide which of their five trillion examples of probity to use for the FP application, all the while wondering if I had anything that even closely fit the bill.
In the end I got my first choice of jobs. I like to think that it is not because no one else wanted them (after all, there is no psych or chemical pathology).
On the bright side, considering that you have to convince future employers/FP scorers in writing (rather than showing an eager glowing face), keeping a blog is good practice!

shiny said...

yeah, definitely a case of jealousy ;)

HospitalPhoenix said...

Good grief Angry, you're using long words today. I had to look up 'erudite' just to check.

And just for the record, don't forget that every doctor's opinion will be heavily weighted by their experiences.

My (bitch of a) boss actually told me she didn't want to shortlist me for a job but had to because I was 'the best applicant on paper.'

If I'd arse-licked into the bargain I'd have been in there.

The next man's experience may be completely different...

But I'd beg you not to castrate the genuine high-achievers along wth the arse-licking brown nosers. We get a hard enough time as it is.

Kirk said...

I stumbled onto your blog and I have enjoyed reading your posts. I looked for your email but couldn't find it so I am posting here. I'd like to add a link to your site on my blog if its all right with you! Thanks!

Calavera said...

Good post, I wholly agree.

I should be saying something significant and deep like everyone else, something to make you feel better, but instead I'll just talk about myself instead, because, evidently, I don't do enough of that at my own blog and must pollute yours, too.

There's this girl in my year, oh, let's call her... umm, Annie. Goodness gracious me, she is the epitome of the type of student you have written about. Especially with regards to the 'secret teaching.'

She runs off, disappears, and then comes back, hours later, saying stuff like, "Oh... where have you guys been?" And we'll be like, "Um, in clinic." And then she'll say, "Oh." So it kinda begs the question: "Where have you been?" Whereupon she'll look all smug and say, "Oh, this really nice SHO/Registrar taught me some stuff on ECGs/Chest Xrays/Neurological examinations. You should have come, it was really useful."


the little medic said...

Thanks for all the great comments people. I'm glad to see its not just me who's had such experiences.

HospitalPheonix - I think thats the problem with my post. It started off as a rant about high achievers until I realised that's not what I meant it to be, most of my med school friends are among the highest achievers but they differ from the people I was moaning about because they are nice people and would never purposefully try and make me, or anyone else look bad.

It's those sneaky brown-nosers that make me sick.

HospitalPhoenix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You've been plugged at DNUK!

Renal said...

I don't know all that many medics who attempt to epitomise perfection.

Personally, I'd split them roughly in half, there's those that are a member of a sports team, involved in the union, drink a fair amount of alcohol, are sociable and so on. The other half study hard, spend entire days in the library and seem to have few friends outside of study groups.

Of course there's a middle ground and all sorts of exceptions, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that most medical students are towards one of the extremes.

Future Doctor said...

i totally understand what you mean, but couldn't you argue that many med students will border this personality before even entering med school. Hopefully most people would enter medicine with the desire or part desire to benefit people, however how many people do you think did that work experience or volunteering at their local hospital purely to help others. Yes i no people do it out the goodness of their hearts, but i doubt that most pre-meds will volunteer first, and then later realise this benefits their application to uni. Other way round I think.

But yes i understand completely what you say. The people who do everything possible to look top notch with no care for anyone else.

BTW Love reading your blog. Great insight, keep up the good work!!!