Apr 17, 2019
8
2
1
Status
Medical Student
Hey guys,

I’m starting my M3 year later this summer and I’ve had a concern on the back of my mind nagging me during my dedicated.

In short, I’m an MD student in a US school who has a mild to moderate stutter. For context, I can get along well in conversations, although I may sometimes be hesitant and self conscious. I can get the words out most of the time, but it may sometimes be choppy from some blocks on words. I may look like I’m struggling to get some words out, my have poor eye contact (partly due to being self conscious about stuttering, and sometimes it’s just a habit I developed to hide my face so people “don’t see my stutter”). I’ll leave it at that but I guess you guys can ask me questions if you want to know more.

Anyway, the anxiety from new encounters in stressful environments (that is, the normal arousal we get from such situations in addition to the social anxiety I may feel from having dear with stuttering) can sometimes make me “stutter more”. I’ve had embarrassing situations in some of my group clinical skills simulations that left me feeling pretty embarrassed. However, on my clinical skills exams (where it’s just me and the simulated patient) I tend to do better. Moreover, we had practice sessions where we had to see a mock patient, and then present to an attending. I tended to be more fluent during the presenting, but there was just one time where I had a bad day.

Now, I’m aware there isn’t much advice you guys could give me, as this is a personal thing I deal with and is hard to relate with for those who don’t have similar issues. In that regard, I was hoping to get some advice from the perspective of having dealt with a lot of patients, attending, and other members of the healthcare team.

I feel that it would be a good idea to disclose it with my attending and residents right up front, and then just going in there and work hard, show a dedication to learning, etc. However, I’m worried that some may take this as me trying to make an excuse so they “take it easy on me” .

I thought it would be appropriate to add that I’m aware that being physician requires a certain level of social competence and the ability to communicate effectively. I’m not looking for a short cut or an easy way out. I’m willing to go through the hard work of dealing with all of this. The good thing is that I’ve made great improvements in my social skills, and I’m a quick learner when I practice and actually have hands on experience.

Anyway, that’s all I can think of at the moment so I’ll add on more specific questions when they arise. Moreover, some of your input may spark additional discussion. Any advice will be very appreciated.
 

DokterMom

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My son's pediatrician has a mild-moderate stutter. When he's having a bad speech day, he'll stutter a bit. At which point, I remember - oh, he has a stutter -- because otherwise I completely forget because who cares? And then life goes on. He's also AOA from a top medical school and residency program and has been a wonderful physician for my son and my family. The guy's great -- who cares about a little speech thing?

Bottom line -- Having a stutter does not make you either less intelligent or less capable. Furthermore, it does not make you seem either less intelligent or less capable. It's just a little something unique to you, that's really not even all that unique.

Do you need to disclose it? No - Because if it happens, it'll be self-evident. And when it doesn't happen, it doesn't matter.
 
OP
S
Apr 17, 2019
8
2
1
Status
Medical Student
@DokterMom

Thanks for sharing your experiences with your son's pediatrician. I find it helps give me some perspective of what's going on "on the other side" of the social interaction.

I would be interested to hear what other people have to say.
 

Dave1980

10+ Year Member
Jan 25, 2007
94
168
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Attending Physician
I have a mild to moderate stutter. It has not negatively affected me in anyway.

I would say try not to hide your face because that is weird and just brings more attention to your speech impediment. Also I would strongly advise not bringing it up with your resident or Attending, everyone in the medical field knows what a stutter is. Just do your best and work hard.

You can even make an attempt to stutter more frequently and severely when just hanging out and making small talk so when you stutter during the rounds they will think "dang that guy is confident, his stutter is now only moderately debilitating" (jk).
 
OP
S
Apr 17, 2019
8
2
1
Status
Medical Student
I have a mild to moderate stutter. It has not negatively affected me in anyway.

I would say try not to hide your face because that is weird and just brings more attention to your speech impediment. Also I would strongly advise not bringing it up with your resident or Attending, everyone in the medical field knows what a stutter is. Just do your best and work hard.

You can even make an attempt to stutter more frequently and severely when just hanging out and making small talk so when you stutter during the rounds they will think "dang that guy is confident, his stutter is now only moderately debilitating" (jk).
Thank you. It's great to hear from a physician who understands what i'm dealing with here.

That's strange that you say I shouldn't bring it up, as it sounds kind of counterintuitive. I would like to hear your views as to why it would be a bad idea. I'm not questioning wether or not what you say is a good idea, but i'm just curious to hear from a physicians perspective.
 

Dave1980

10+ Year Member
Jan 25, 2007
94
168
281
Status
Attending Physician
I think it's unnecessary and socially awkward. You will eventually stutter in front of them and then they will know you stutter. It's simple as that.

In med school I had an Attending with a really, really bad stutter. He dgaf. He was a baller and is/was really successful at a high-powered academic institution.
 
OP
S
Apr 17, 2019
8
2
1
Status
Medical Student
I think it's unnecessary and socially awkward. You will eventually stutter in front of them and then they will know you stutter. It's simple as that.

In med school I had an Attending with a really, really bad stutter. He dgaf. He was a baller and is/was really successful at a high-powered academic institution.

Thank you. That's awesome to hear about that one attending.

I can definantely see how it would be socially awkward to disclose it to everyone. Adds a certain vibe in the room.

I guess the best thing to do is be remembered as "the one guy who had a stutter but seemed to dgaf and just gave it all he got", than the "student who always made things weird with members of the team"
 

DokterMom

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This --

Actually, I have a speech impediment also. Something with R's and W's in proximity gets my tongue all twisted up. Sometimes I breeze on through, but other times - yikes! When I get tied up i knots, I just say "oops! There's my speech impediment again" and say repeat the phrase either correctly or much, much worse, but with a chuckle. Just one of those things. In elementary school, they tried to send me to speech therapy for a while, but I told them to leave me alone because I truly wasn't bothered by it and anyone could tell what I meant.

Do that.
 
Apr 26, 2018
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Had a guy in my lab who could have a bad stutter. He would keep looking at you and his eyes would turn up/back. Did anybody care? Not at all. When it happened the first time it became evident that he has a stutter and that's about it. Everybody working with him was cool and patient, knowing that when he stuttered you'd just have to wait until he could continue.

Bottom line: don't make it a deal when it's really not. It's ok and people understand. And those people who don't are jerks, so f*** them.
 

nlax30

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Oct 4, 2006
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I think it's unnecessary and socially awkward. You will eventually stutter in front of them and then they will know you stutter. It's simple as that.

In med school I had an Attending with a really, really bad stutter. He dgaf. He was a baller and is/was really successful at a high-powered academic institution.
I agree with this. I don't stutter but have a close family member who does. It'll be pretty evident in normal interactions that you stutter and no need to awkwardly try to bring it up. In the end just be confident and go on being you.
 
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Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
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Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
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Hey guys,

I’m starting my M3 year later this summer and I’ve had a concern on the back of my mind nagging me during my dedicated.

In short, I’m an MD student in a US school who has a mild to moderate stutter. For context, I can get along well in conversations, although I may sometimes be hesitant and self conscious. I can get the words out most of the time, but it may sometimes be choppy from some blocks on words. I may look like I’m struggling to get some words out, my have poor eye contact (partly due to being self conscious about stuttering, and sometimes it’s just a habit I developed to hide my face so people “don’t see my stutter”). I’ll leave it at that but I guess you guys can ask me questions if you want to know more.

Anyway, the anxiety from new encounters in stressful environments (that is, the normal arousal we get from such situations in addition to the social anxiety I may feel from having dear with stuttering) can sometimes make me “stutter more”. I’ve had embarrassing situations in some of my group clinical skills simulations that left me feeling pretty embarrassed. However, on my clinical skills exams (where it’s just me and the simulated patient) I tend to do better. Moreover, we had practice sessions where we had to see a mock patient, and then present to an attending. I tended to be more fluent during the presenting, but there was just one time where I had a bad day.

Now, I’m aware there isn’t much advice you guys could give me, as this is a personal thing I deal with and is hard to relate with for those who don’t have similar issues. In that regard, I was hoping to get some advice from the perspective of having dealt with a lot of patients, attending, and other members of the healthcare team.

I feel that it would be a good idea to disclose it with my attending and residents right up front, and then just going in there and work hard, show a dedication to learning, etc. However, I’m worried that some may take this as me trying to make an excuse so they “take it easy on me” .

I thought it would be appropriate to add that I’m aware that being physician requires a certain level of social competence and the ability to communicate effectively. I’m not looking for a short cut or an easy way out. I’m willing to go through the hard work of dealing with all of this. The good thing is that I’ve made great improvements in my social skills, and I’m a quick learner when I practice and actually have hands on experience.

Anyway, that’s all I can think of at the moment so I’ll add on more specific questions when they arise. Moreover, some of your input may spark additional discussion. Any advice will be very appreciated.
See this guy?
Perrin White, M.D. - Faculty Profile - UT Southwestern

Has a grand mal stutter. Never stopped him
 

Tintinnabula

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Feb 2, 2011
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where the belles ring out
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I had a classmate with one. Got into a primo choice for residency in her field and has never struck me as anything less than a fully capable team member and future colleague.
 
OP
S
Apr 17, 2019
8
2
1
Status
Medical Student
I really appreciate the input. It's encouraging stuff to hear for sure.

This is sort of a random question, but is still somewhat on topic. Although i'm just starting my M3 year, i've been thinking about Step 2 lately (hey, can't help think about the future sometimes) and I was wondering if signing up for "accommodations" for the CS would be a good idea or a shot in my own foot?

I'm not too informed on what the accommodations actually are, and how they effect your residency apps (i'm assuming they're flagged).
 
OP
S
Apr 17, 2019
8
2
1
Status
Medical Student
come on man...

you're not disabled. you have a stutter. don't be a victim.
Really appreciate the encouraging words. I guess i'm just worried about how rigid the grading is for CS, as well as am concerned I may be perceived as incompetent rather than having a stutter, given that it's my first encounter with the person who may not get the idea in time.
 

Merely

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Jul 12, 2012
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You’ll have no more issues with a stutter than the average med student. Keep grinding and you’ll make a fine physician some day. Always put your patients first and no one will think of you as the guy with the stutter but as the excellent doc. Good luck.
 
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IsWhat

5+ Year Member
Jul 13, 2012
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By the middle of third year all of your worries will most likely be gone. After getting shat on by the surgery attending for 6 weeks in front of the surgical staff, or getting chewed out by your pediatric attending in front of families, you will gradually stop giving a rip what other people think of you and start focusing more on the work you are doing.
 
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hmockingbird

7+ Year Member
Jan 31, 2011
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I’m not sure what accommodations you could get/would need for CS. Maybe extended time? I have a soft voice and almost failed some OSCEs because I “wasn’t projecting” (this isn’t acting school) so my advisor told me to just tell all the CS actors that I have a soft voice and to tell me if they couldn’t hear me as part of my intro spiel. Maybe you could do something similar?
 
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OP
S
Apr 17, 2019
8
2
1
Status
Medical Student
By the middle of third year all of your worries will most likely be gone. After getting shat on by the surgery attending for 6 weeks in front of the surgical staff, or getting chewed out by your pediatric attending in front of families, you will gradually stop giving a rip what other people think of you and start focusing more on the work you are doing.

I appreciate the reassurance. Like I mentioned, by stutter isn't severe, and i'm a quick learner and a pretty self-aware person (spent a lot of years during my undergrad involved in meditation and all that lame granola stuff). I feel that I just need exposure and practice, and rotations will be well beyond my comfort zone.
 
OP
S
Apr 17, 2019
8
2
1
Status
Medical Student
I’m not sure what accommodations you could get/would need for CS. Maybe extended time? I have a soft voice and almost failed some OSCEs because I “wasn’t projecting” (this isn’t acting school) so my advisor told me to just tell all the CS actors that I have a soft voice and to tell me if they couldn’t hear me as part of my intro spiel. Maybe you could do something similar?
Yeah, that's why I was hesitant to bring up accommodations because I don't really know what they can do. The thing is I just don't want to be seen as incompetent, unconfident, etc. In that regard, i'm not saying that i'm some outstandingly confident and socially adept person inside and only have my speech impediment to blame. I guess I was trying to figure out how to mention that I just have a bit of "lag in the system", so to speak.