medical students not socializing enough?
Check out this post on Dr. Shock’s blog on a recent study that medical students are socially segregated from others.
In my experience, medical training by its nature is very intensive. I wouldn’t want to go to a doctor who wasn’t intensively trained. Most people wouldn’t. That said, the practice of medicine is also a very personal undertaking, the success of which largely depends on one’s ability to connect with patients. This has become quite clear as I have moved through my own training. Moreover, the role of the physician is increasingly spilling over into the world of science where social qualities are also very important for success. What to do? It can be argued that in the last 5-10 years, great progress has been made in “mandating” more social physicians. In the U.S. at least resident (and medical student) work hours have been capped at 80 hrs/wk, which many who have trained through both eras feel is considerably more humane to the training physician. At the same time, there is sometimes an urge to do too much. Most recently in the U.S., there has been some discussion of reducing the resident work hours to ~60 hrs/wk–which many believe will be detrimental to resident training and the continuity of care for the patients. At the end of the day, a career in medicine is not easy. It is hard not to realize this by the end of first year medical school. And social qualities are critical to success as a physician. It is also hard not to realize this by the end of first year medical school. A medical career, and I would say the training as well, necessitates that the student/resident/fellow learn to balance the absolute need for intensive training (these are patients’ lives in our hands) with the need to be a social human being.