Originally Posted by Tic
I always appreciate when students are honest about this question. It's mostly just a get-to-know-you question anyway, but sometimes the answer helps me direct certain cases or teaching points your way that are more in-line with your interests.
It's been my experience that most other 'normal' residents think this way. If you've got a weirdo or an asshole then it might be better to be cagey.
I feel the same way. I'm a psych resident, and I usually ask med students what they're interested in just to get an idea of who they are and to think of ways to apply things about psych to their area of interest. I DO NOT hold a grudge against those who say something other than psych. It wouldn't be realistic to expect everyone who rotates on psych to want to do psych.
While some odd characters will indeed grade you down for not professing an interest in their specialty, the flip side of pretending you're interested in a certain specialty is that in some cases you might be graded more harshly because you're being held to a higher standard. You really do have to try to get a feel for the person you're dealing with.
In psych, most of us are pretty easygoing and won't take it personally if someone admits they want to be a surgeon or internist. In fact, there was one med student who did not seem to have the right personality for psych, though he was clearly quite bright. We were happy that he wanted to go into surgery because he did seem well suited for that.
It kind of amuses me when I can tell that someone is totally just saying they're considering psych because they're on psych. I want to tell them "It's okay, I really don't care. I'm just making conversation".