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How do you go about telling your classmates you failed Step 1?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by twospadz, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. twospadz

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    I just notice people in my class who are missing from my rotation because they failed Step 1. I had a friend who failed Step 1 and told me but seemed carefree and light. Just wondering, if you failed Step 1, how would you go about telling your classmates if not at all?
     
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  3. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It
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    Step scores of classmates are none of your business. It's actually a workplace violation to ask them about it, especially if they don't want to talk about it. Aside from it being a no no at work/hospital setting, it's just down right rude. If they failed, I'm sure they have enough to worry about without having other people asking them about their scores. Most students only ask to gauge how much better they are.
     
  4. TBV

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    I wouldn't tell anyone if I failed step 1 and if I HAD to tell them (like gun to my head or something) I would probably do what they did just be like i didn't pass it is what it is
     
  5. J ROD

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    Would you announce to everyone in your class you failed? probably not..........

    You just notice that they are gone from rotations. Unless they have a medical reason, then it is usually academic.

    Just focus on your own stuff. Best advice.
     
  6. HelpPleaseMD

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    most people go through some rough patch throughout the training process. your friend is likely dying inside and did not want to make it an awkward experience for you. it really is none of your business unless they are reaching out to you for support.
     
  7. twospadz

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    I understand how everyone feels but contrary to popular belief, step 1 is not the end of the world or the universe. If I failed, and I told my friends this before my scores, I would just tell everyone my situation. Life is way more than sometimes what we can imagine, which is why we sometimes forget how insignificant we actually are.
     
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  8. TBV

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    Thanks Fredrich Nietzsche. Actually if you want to go into a more competitive, high paying, desirable specialty it's a little bit important.
     
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  9. karayaa

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    This is a simplistic combination of adjectives.
    Some people care about finding a good fit for their personality and values and lifestyle, more than the dollar amounts that people assume they will get.
     
  10. TBV

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    Justify it however you want, If you want the specialties that fit my simplistic combination of adjectives they put weight in scores. Just saying if your personality, values and lifestyle fit derm theyre gonna check the damn scores
     
  11. W19

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    Wow... People in this thread are really angry!
     
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  12. pre med 2014

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    I wouldn't notice if someone was missing from my rotation because I don't care enough to know who is doing which rotations in what order
     
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  13. masaraksh

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    I mean, in a class of like 100-150 people like most med schools its pretty easy to notice if a person you kept seeing around just stops being seen around. Its not like people are doing like daily counts of people and their location like they're some prison psychopaths.

    is it a workplace violation to ask how much people bench?
     
  14. Frazier

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    Student A: "So, how'd you do?"

    Student B: "LOLZ I failed that ****, man. First I thought I rocked it because I saw i got a 100. BUT apparently that isnt a percentage? Pssft."
     
  15. sloop

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    This is wrong. I agree that it would be disrespectful/uncaring to ask about classmates' step scores if they tell you they don't want to talk about it, but if they don't say that it's a perfectly reasonable question. It is weird to ask "hey, what score did you get?" so don't do that. But it's perfectly acceptable to go to a friend and be like "How did you do?" And if they tell you "well" or "fine" or "I passed," congratulate them, give them a high five or whatever. If they didn't you can offer consolation and tell them that you know it doesn't reflect them as a person but you are sure they will be a good doctor someday. If the question makes them uncomfortable, you can just follow up with "if you'd rather not talk about this, that's okay too."

    I get that this can be a touchy topic for those who fail, but it is also a question that can reflect friends' legitimate altruistic interest in each other's lives. It all depends on how you ask. I certainly don't think one is committing any sort of violation by simply inquiring.

    I do not agree with you that most people only ask to gauge themselves in comparison. I've seen this question asked/asked this question/been asked this question a handful of times and every time has just been out of friendly interest and hoping the person asked is not shut out of their own goals.
     
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  16. Kaustikos

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    Everywhere but Ortho
    I heard Vegeta scream "OVER 9000!" before I saw my score.
    Yeah, but it's just a touchy subject. One that you should respect. I'm not saying you shouldn't be concerned with your friends. I'm saying that it's just something people don't understand.
    I don't care what scores people get, nor do I ask. They can tell me if they want to. If anything, asking how things are leaves it open enough for them to discuss whatever.
    Right, friends. Sure. But if they were your friend, they would tell you like your friend did. Though it's unnecessary to make assumptions or pass judgement on those classmates because you don't see them on your rotation. They may have changed rotation, taken a month of or had an emergency to deal with.

    Please. Classmates asking classmates how they did doesn't serve any genuine concern. Med students are a competitive bunch by nature. It's part of the grind. They don't ask because they care. Unless it's friends.
    You may think it's fine. But where do you draw the line on what's okay for people to ask you? Paycheck? Bonus? House you own/suburb you're at?
    Because those are things that are none of your business.
     
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  17. Kaustikos

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    It's not anger. This is more about not being intrusive or oblivious when talking with colleagues.
    It's the same as the match. I really don't like schools that try to have students announce where they're going. It's rude. Some people aren't happy about it/nor do they want to talk about it.
     
  18. MeatTornado

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    Everyone eventually figures out who failed. Med school is a small community and the rumor mill is intense. Most people try to keep it hush hush... Maybe tell a close friend or two but word will get around.

    As for asking about scores or "how did it go": just don't do it.
     
  19. sloop

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    I don't think there's a limit of what you can ask people about. It all depends on how you ask. Unless you're autistic, it shouldn't be difficult to ask what you want to ask in a way that's not threatening or demeaning.

    I do not think most med students ask this out of competitiveness. I think it's mostly asked because in third year you see a bunch of your classmates for the first time in a while and meet some new people from other med schools. It is a recent common experience to talk about over lunch or during a lull. I also think lots of people are genuinely hoping people did well.

    If you're not being malicious and you leave an escape route open with how you ask, I don't think it's off-limits. People are very good at recognizing genuine people and distinguishing malicious people from concerned/curious people. I just don't think it's s health culture when you have important aspects of med school that, as a rule, never get talked about in person and only get discussed on this site.
     
  20. sloop

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    Sorry, I just disagree with this. If you're autistic or a really ****ty communicator, don't do it. Otherwise, you should be good enough at reading people to know when people might be open to talking about it and you should be able to ask it in a way that doesn't make you sound like a dick.

    This all just really depends on the circumstances. Even if I get the impression that somebody just failed, there are ways to bring it up if you have a good-hearted reason for doing so. They may not want to talk about it and that's their decision but you can ask. I feel the same way about approaching people who seem like they're holding back tears and I suspect may have had a family tragedy or significant recent stressor. Personally, I feel like a ****tier person when I don't offer to talk about it. Again, their decision whether to take me up on it. I just know that when I'm upset or stressed about something, I often won't talk about it with people but deep down wish that someone would invite me to talk about it.

    I just think the main rule is not to be a dick. Don't ask if you're just trying to get off on someone's struggles. If you're coming from a good place, I think people worry too much about this issue.
     
  21. TBV

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    Why you keep throwing around "autistic" though?
     
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  22. MeatTornado

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    The lack of tact really makes you question the advice. There's probably a gap between this person's perception of how empathetic and how great of a communicator they are and reality.
     
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  23. sloop

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    I'm being somewhat hyperbolic but my point is that the sort of social tact involved here is well within normal capabilities. I don't understand why people find this non-negotiable territory. The only thing I can think of is a person who has pathologically poor social and communication skills (I.e. an autistic person). So yeah, you can make fun of me and say my example is inappropriate but I used it because it serves perfectly to make the point I was trying to make. Your ad hominem attacks do not impact the substance of my argument for this not being an off-limits topic with colleagues.
     
  24. TBV

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    I'm not talking about your substance, and I don't care about your argument. I just find it odd that someone who's future job it is to be empathetic couldn't say socially awkward instead of effectively making fun of the mentally disabled.
     
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  25. sloop

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    Haha. Yes, because the requirements of tact for discussing scores with a person you will work with in the future are exactly the same as those for a meta-discussion about whether step performance is no-go conversation territory. Get real.

    Not that it matters, but I'm a great communicator and always have been. Again, it's telling that instead of responding to the substance of my points about discussing scores with other students, you have chosen to ignore my post entirely and jump on the bandwagon of trying to discuss how a single analogy on an internet board surely indicates a global character flaw. It's fine, though. Please continue this conversation because it's amusingly defensive.
     
  26. sloop

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    I didn't say socially awkward because I think even socially awkward people can navigate this territory if they're not malicious people. People can tell the difference between a socially awkward person who is genuinely coming from a good place and somebody who's asking to be a self-serving dick.

    For a well meaning person to really **** up this interaction requires pathology-level social deficits. This is not making fun of those with those deficits—they are real deficits. The point is that normal people don't come off as malicious by simply being awkward.

    As an example, if someone says they don't want to talk about it and you back off respectfully that indicates that you weren't trying to be a dick about it. If you keep perseverating on the topic, you're likely either an dingus or you're autistic. I struggle to chalk these things up to just being WNL-type awkward.
     
  27. TBV

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    You're missing the point. I'm trying to teach you a life lesson, you should listen because nowadays a free education is hard to come by. What you do with your score and your friend's scores is your business but you should probably question your communicative skills as well. As a future physician you should look at how you communicate your ideas; especially in a public forum.
     
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  28. TBV

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    That's a really good differential, you must be a first year :D
     
  29. sloop

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    I appreciate the "lesson" but I've gotten great feedback from physicians and patients on my communication skills. It is something that parients have actually gone out of their way to directly tell me. Hence, your concern as a random internet user does not lead me to question them.
     
  30. TBV

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    Allow me to venture a guess that you weren't calling them autistic at the time?
     
    #29 TBV, Aug 13, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  31. W19

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    Or you can preempt like one my classmates who put in our class Facebook page that she is going to repeat MS1... What's the point of this thread?
     
  32. sloop

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    Yeah, this was part of my point when I talked about different requirements for talking to people I work with and talking to random people on the Internet. What was your point?
     
  33. Frazier

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    This isn't pre-allo, goddammit. Rise above the ish and agree to disagree.
     
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  34. zeppelinpage4

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    People on SDN as a whole really lol.

    There's a handful of users, who are exceptions, I'll actually pay attention to them, the rest seems to be pointless bickering.
     
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  35. Psai

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    Or whining about things every medical student goes through as it were
     
  36. ortnakas

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    Even if you are a well-meaning person, and I'm sure you are, this is just an interaction you shouldn't be having. My grades are none of my classmates' business, and my classmates' are none of mine.
     
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  37. sloop

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    That's fine that that's you're opinion. I don't ask people I don't know and I think in total I've asked like 3 people in a super general way ("it went okay?"). My view on this is that I interact with people because I'm interested in their lives. If I wasn't interested in them, why would I talk to them? People are free to have boundaries and once I know those I respect them. I tread a little more carefully when I'm likely to run up against a boundary but I don't worry excessively about it.

    People are also private about how much money they make and stuff. It doesn't mean that you can't ask about it in the context of a related conversation when they seem open about it. This stuff just depends so much on context.

    A lot of people aren't nearly so private about this stuff. I've always been open about my grades. I don't go telling people needlessly, but if it comes up I'll tell people.
     
  38. TBV

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    My point was to stop calling people that you haven't examined autistic. It's hurtful to people that are autistic as well as family members of autistic persons and people who work with people with disabilities. Its fine to use autistic in a diagnostic manner but to use it as a talking point you are much better off saying socially awkward. This is the world we live in nowadays. Get used to it or leave it.
     
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  39. sloop

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    I'm better off using an analogy that is less precise and illustrates less well what I meant so that I don't offend people, most of whom aren't even going to see this thread?

    As long as we're being PC Police here, should we start discussing the phrase "This is the world we live in nowadays. Get used to it or leave it"?
     
  40. sazerac

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    Besides Facebook, an alternate solution is to tell the class gossip privately. The word will then ripple through the rest of the class pretty quickly.

    If you provide the gossip with new or at least confirmatory information, you might get rewarded with new information yourself, like "you failed too? Omg Suzie and Johnathan also failed... I heard Suzie dropped out, but Johnathan is repeating 2nd year".

    If you are into that sort of thing.
     
  41. W19

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    @sazerac It's amazing that people who are in their mid/late 20s act the way they do in med school... They gossip, complain etc.. Someone in my class posted on our class Facebook page that some people who got special accommodation (i.e. extra time) for exams should not get it because 'one can clearly see that there is nothing wrong with them' and it's unfair to the other students. Boy! That person created a war that day. It's safe to say to someone will report (or has already reported) that individual to administration.
     
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  42. fancymylotus

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    That's disgusting....ditching FB was one of my better decisions, I think.
     
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  43. Wilf

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    :barf:
     
  44. Kaustikos

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    Because you literally have not been in their situation. It's especially not okay when they haven't experienced this situation.
    You need to understand that some people don't really feel like the other person is being empathetic/sympathetic when they ask that. They feel shame/guilt/fear/etc that is only compounded by other people asking.
    Despite what you may think, people do get judged for their hiccups/failures/shortcomings and students DO fear that when they experience these failures. THAT'S why I'm saying this. It's especially irritating when your classmates/friends/family/etc ask you. Keep an open mind.
     
  45. Crayola227

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    I know someone who did poorly, dropped off the map, and were pretty upset that they then became like the new med school pariah.... I pointed out that people likely didn't know what to say or how to approach them (like after a tragedy of death) and that they could reach out to those people to let them know it was OK to talk.

    Then again, when a loved one died during med school and I came back a few days later (everyone knew why I was gone) I actually appreciated that while everyone knew, no one tried to talk to me about it. Maybe someone said "good to see you."

    Is failing Step 1 and not starting 3rd yr on time and people noticing as bad as if someone died? Not what I'm saying don't want to debate that one.

    If this is someone you genuinely have concern for, as in, you actually email or have each other's phone numbers, have had some personal chats at some point, like you have a relationship where it wouldn't be weird or random tp them for you to pipe in with "how have you been?" (Safest bet) or even "haven't seen you around lately, I was thinking of you".

    Usually people like the idea that their presence or absence is of some genuine personal consequence to another human being, especially someone they may care for in turn.

    What people don't like usually is to have someone make it about scores or grades or things seen as measures of personal worth (not that they are, but ya know).

    So that, my friends, is how to show care and concern without putting people on the spot.

    Same thing when questioning patients. Is this about satisfying your own curiosity while putting someone on the spot about something irrelevant?

    You wanting to know their score or why they are not there is irrelevant to inquiring about their well being.

    What is, is expressing that another human being noticed their absence and cares. You don't have to bring up grades idiots unless that's really what you care about.

    What I said above will allow the person to acknowledge this however they see fit. They can flub something about needing to change their schedule for personal reasons, emergency, administrative reasons, any of that hore**** is probably truthfully compatible with failing step 1.

    Or they are dying to tell someone they failed but didn't want to seem like they were calling anyone to their personal pity party.

    I vehemently feel this way. Asking about scores and grades? No no. Saying nothing when someone drops off the planet? Like my friend above, sounds bad form and hate to see it happen to someone if it hurts them. So all I can figure is this is the best way to navigate this.

    So why the **** are you focussing on whether it's due to Step 1 pass or fail? If you really care about this person and respect personal boundaries, way the **** would it be about a score? Leave them alone if you're not capable of showing genuine and general concern.

    If you're worried how it will seem to talk about Step 1 scores, why don't you just let people that want to tell you theirs just bring it up? Why even agonize over this?

    This is about curiosity, not how to approach someone who's missing with concern, because I think we just covered that you can do that independent of scores.
     
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  46. TheShaker

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    Honestly, I wouldn't ask anybody outside of my close friends since it's such a personal question but if you're going to answer, then just go ahead and tack on another 30lbs to your 1RM. No one will ever know.
     
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  47. Kaustikos

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    Agreed. I've had some colleagues struggle with medical school, so it was easier to admit to my shortcomings because they knew how I felt or where I was. As in I didn't want to be here, am trying to move past it but hate being bothered by it. They knew it sucked and that no one else really understood. Especially faculty or counselors (seriously the worst giver of advice: study harder. Like thanks for the insult saying I'm not studying hard enough).
    I'm of the opinion that you can apologize for being in that position, but tread further unless you know what it's like.
    Like step grades: don't ask unless you really feel it appropriate. Or let them tell you. If you feel insulted or believe you should ask them: then you really need to evaluate proper communication.
    Example: say a colleague had a personal matter to deal with and left for a week. Came back but didn't tell anyone. Would you really try to pry and ask what happened?
    Unless their job performance started to tank, I'd refrain from asking. Actually, I'd move past it and try to at least give positive feedback about their performance.
    People that have failed (for whatever reason) don't like to talk about it. They want to focus on getting over that obstacle without bringing attention to themselves. Because, though some people may not realize it, their questions or interactions about what's up can bring them right back to where they didn't want to be.

    Look, I'm not trying to condescend. I'm trying to give you an understanding of why it's a bad idea to ask people how they did on things. If someone got a score they're happy with, they'll tell you. But don't push them for answers when they don't.

    Also, final point I really am jealous of your predicament. What I mean is how you came back and no one asked or tried to bring out the truth. Given what happened to me during the summer between first and second year, I am jealous. I had classmates, faculty and even the Dean ask what happened. I didn't want to talk about it. I deliberately deflected with sarcastic remarks and no one got the hint. I had to demand the HR person email everyone to stop asking me because it was literally a workplace violation and, to myself, harassment.
    But the Dean decided to give a lecture in which he "incidentally" explained what happened with another patient example.
    So, given what happened to me, I may be biased to some people. But it's not bias. It's an empathy for those people dealing with situations they don't want to talk about and feeling harassed when people ask about it. And then the fear about telling them truth with the idea of being judged or looked down upon.

    Which as much as I hate to say it: med students are guilty of. Even residents. Only because they haven't been in those circumstances. When you experience failure, setbacks or even some sort of experience that is detrimental to your performance or progression as a medical professional, then you can give input or advice. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut unless they approach you. Or you see that they're potentially on a downward spiral. Which case, I definitely advocate approaching them and at least telling them that though you don't know why they're doing this, it is definitely influencing not just their evaluations but the possibility of being a physician. Also saying that they should at least try to talk to someone.
    I mean, our class had to deal with a classmate who failed two courses first semester and was forced to remediate the year. They acted like it was okay, but when the semester ended and they came to our party... They broke down. They felt like a complete failure. They wanted to quit because they didn't feel like they were good enough to be a doctor. My only advice (which did help a little) was that I can't imagine their predicament. But based on my interactions, I knew that they definitely weren't unable to be a physician. They had a setback. But the important thing now is to not give up. To take a moment to look back and see where they went wrong and to improve on it. Never give up. Unless you literally don't care about being a doctor (which they definitely did and why I tried to help), then don't let this setback make you decide to quit. Told them they weren't incapable of being a doctor, but that they were honestly being challenged. They were being challenged with a circumstance, which if they overcame, would help them. They'd see that whatever challenge or bumps in the road they encountered, they had that one experience where they didn't give up and succeeded... which goes a long way.
    So, don't feel like you need to pressure or ask a person what their score is. Regardless if they failed or weren't happy with their grade. Because being helpful in that regard involves being helpful in overcoming that obstacle. Even if you don't know their score, telling them they're smart, or knowledgeable, or capable of being a great doctor lends way better credence than asking about their score.
    I hate knowing about a person's academic performance. I personally prefer seeing how they do in clinic. If I see someone do amazing in clinic with their assessment/plan, then it makes it useless to know their step scores. Like, I know they're great/knowleable about medicine. So, do bring their scores, I'd just chalk it up to a person with great clinical prowess but bad luck on exam.
     
    #46 Kaustikos, Aug 17, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
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  48. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It
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    To reiterate, as I said and person I quoted, it's not wrong to be concerned or want to reach out.
    But how you do it is important.
    Like the Crayola said: it's about just asking how they are or what they're up to. If you care about a person, you won't focus on what you presume is the problem, but trying to be there and help them however you can. Even if it's coming over and just engaging in fun, distracting activities or doing things that person enjoys doing to distract them while simultaneously helping them at least begin to trust you or feel better.
    It's almost identical to a patient in pain. Yes, they're in pain. But if you at least acknowledge it, it works wonders. It moves on to distracting them from it with humor or jokes so they at least have a moment where things feel better.
     
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  49. Etorphine

    7+ Year Member

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    Didn't read the more recent replies, but to answer your original question:

    You don't...most likely everyone will know anyway
     
  50. Crayola227

    Crayola227 The Oncoming Storm
    Physician 2+ Year Member

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    Best piece of workplace advice I ever got: no one really cares about your problems at work. Don't bring your problems to work. Work is about solving problems. Your colleagues want your help in solving problems. They don't want you adding to the pile, where now you are the problem to be solved.

    So people should just politely ask, how are you? And leave it at that. Someone might press for more details but I know now to leave it vague.

    There will be moments where you bond with someone and pour each other's hearts out. Still a bad idea. When this happens, it should only be equal measures in kind and I would not start that pot and I'd still be holding back.

    There comes a point where everyone wants to know what the **** is wrong with you, this is just a wake up call you're not hiding/addressing your problems well enough at work. You need to seek help outside work and put up better walls.

    If it goes further than that, go to separate medical professionals, document, and superiors above you just for damage control, HR, and secretly with attorneys.

    In order of who you can be most open with:
    Priest (can't subpoena)
    Attorney (very hard to subpoena and if you are paying them and ask the right questions, least likely to **** you)
    Carefully with your personal med providers, they can easily be subpoenaed
    Colleagues, knowing that anyone can become a witness
    Most guardedly with anyone at work, especially with PDs, Chiefs, Clerkship Directors, Faculty, Deans, if I'm talking to HR I definitely am talking to a lawyer
    I might be more frank with Ombudsmen, but still with attorney advice
    Spouse I put last, they are not compelled to testify, they still can if they feel like it

    Parents can be called to witness against you but in general I find to be the most trustworthy at least with your sad work feelings, they usually don't make a point of destroying you at work if things go bad unlike friends or SO

    I don't put much stock into friends either

    Maybe an online forum if you're careful enough

    Being a doctor especially is a lonely road, one frought with peril

    I don't want to tell people to be this isolationist and have their struggles become more of a problem, but as above there is a circle of trust that drawn correctly is least likely to harm
     
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