How important is it to have thick skin in medical schoool?

doctor in da makin

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I'm only a premed and was wondering if you guys ever had to deal with a rude superior or classmate.

Sorry if it seems like I'm ranting but...I'm asking because today I had to work with someone, a classmate, on a lab. Before the lab even started, I asked nicely if I could just borrow a single sheet of paper from her notebook and this person looked so annoyed by this. (Its just a piece of paper, right?)

We were supposed to share some cultures with our partners but I mistakenly started looking at her other cultures (I didn't know which was which) that we weren't supposed to share. In hindsight I should have asked first, but she told me in a very condescending way "can I help you?" and after I told her that we were supposed to share these, she told me again very condescendingly to look at the instructions. We hadn't even started the lab at that point, so its not like I messed up her results or anything like that. A few people were looking at us, so I apologized and continued on with the lab using my own cultures since their were extras.

BTW, she came in late and was also rude to the prof when she explained why she was late, so it wasn't just me.

This is probably nothing compared to what happens in med school, but just how important is it to have thick skin?

Also, would you say her behavior uncalled for?
 
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Are you in medical school? In general its a good idea to behave well around your fellow classmates, faculty, and staff. Be polite, courteous, and speak properly, you do not have to be good friends with them, but you need to show a fair level of respect to one another at minimum. If someone is behaving in a way that is out of line, I suggest going to the Dean.
 

themoonman2

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I may just be a pre-med, but I can tell you that there are jerks everywhere and in every profession. It's best to not stress over other people's behavior and move on. In my opinion, "Thick Skin" is just helpful for life in general.
 

Señor S

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There are some unpleasant personalities of course but no more than you'd find in the general population ime. I think for a lot of people just the fact of being criticized directly (even if constructively) is jarring, relative to the unconditional praise they've received for most of their lives.
 
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Psai

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Maybe she was having a bad day. Just got to let it drift off your back. When you're a third year medical student, you'll be at the bottom of the totem pole. You'll hear a lot of bs from people. Just have to suck it up
 

Chir0nex

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Honestly it sounds like you need to get over it, you will face much worse in med school. You will most likley have at least a few classmates who will be jerks, and even the nice people will have bad days with the stress. Once you are in the hospital you will certainly deal with doctors who have no patience for medical students.

So in short, grow a thicker skin.
 

MrTaco92

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You should have some pretty thick skin regardless of what field you go into. It's pretty inevitable that you'll come across someone hard to work with at some point in your life.
 
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StudyLater

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I'm only a premed and was wondering if you guys ever had to deal with a rude superior or classmate.

Sorry if it seems like I'm ranting but...I'm asking because today I had to work with someone, a classmate, on a lab. Before the lab even started, I asked nicely if I could just borrow a single sheet of paper from her notebook and this person looked so annoyed by this. (Its just a piece of paper, right?)

We were supposed to share some cultures with our partners but I mistakenly started looking at her other cultures (I didn't know which was which) that we weren't supposed to share. In hindsight I should have asked first, but she told me in a very condescending way "can I help you?" and after I told her that we were supposed to share these, she told me again very condescendingly to look at the instructions. We hadn't even started the lab at that point, so its not like I messed up her results or anything like that. A few people were looking at us, so I apologized and continued on with the lab using my own cultures since their were extras.
.
BTW, she came in late and was also rude to the prof when she explained why she was late, so it wasn't just me.

This is probably nothing compared to what happens in med school, but just how important is it to have thick skin?

Also, would you say her behavior uncalled for?
I bet 10 to 1 it's just that time of the month and the next lab she'll be an absolute peach.
 

Ad2b

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^^ If only work were that easy, eh?!
 
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Holmwood

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I'm only a premed and was wondering if you guys ever had to deal with a rude superior or classmate.

Sorry if it seems like I'm ranting but...I'm asking because today I had to work with someone, a classmate, on a lab. Before the lab even started, I asked nicely if I could just borrow a single sheet of paper from her notebook and this person looked so annoyed by this. (Its just a piece of paper, right?)

We were supposed to share some cultures with our partners but I mistakenly started looking at her other cultures (I didn't know which was which) that we weren't supposed to share. In hindsight I should have asked first, but she told me in a very condescending way "can I help you?" and after I told her that we were supposed to share these, she told me again very condescendingly to look at the instructions. We hadn't even started the lab at that point, so its not like I messed up her results or anything like that. A few people were looking at us, so I apologized and continued on with the lab using my own cultures since their were extras.

BTW, she came in late and was also rude to the prof when she explained why she was late, so it wasn't just me.

This is probably nothing compared to what happens in med school, but just how important is it to have thick skin?

Also, would you say her behavior uncalled for?
Accept her BS and try to work it out. You're a team.

Recognize that sometimes people are a little passive aggressive for whatever reason. That icy heart will melt over time.
 

ExcaliburPrime1

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You definitely need to have a thick skin, but that goes for every job and every aspect of life (but perhaps particularly in medical school).

Moreover, your little anecdote gave me the impression that you are a bit needy or annoying. True, a little piece of paper isn't a big deal, but why is it that you were not prepared and felt like you could impose yourself on someone else? Same for the cultures - besides failing to read or understand the instructions, you proceeded in a discourteous way by not being on board with your partner.

Now, this person might be a jerk in general, but you should work on the parts you can control (i.e. being prepared, reading instructions, and being respectful with a new partner) and that will enable you to deal more effectively with jerks.

You're still young and learning, of course, so don't sweat this incident too much, and learn to make the best of it. :)
 

DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines

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^ What @ExcaliburPrime1 said. Take it from a needy and annoying overly-sensitive people-pleaser IRL with some years and mileage on you, you need to cultivate a mask if growing thick skin just isn't in your DNA. Fake it till you make it. However, that being said, come prepared to work. Seriously. Read the assignments. Do your own work. Work hard. Play hard. Make friends. That's ranked in order of importance. I don't know anything about medical school but that read like some high school bs there and I am frankly getting a warm fuzzy over how supportive this thread is. It's a welcome change from some of the other ones. People are always going to be jerks. For whatever reason. Maybe she was PMSing. Or maybe she just didn't like you. For whatever reason. Are you going to let her attitude stop you from excelling? Being unprepared might though...
 

ortnakas

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Short answer: yes. You definitely need a thick skin in med school. But in all fairness, you really need thick skin to be an adult doing just about anything.

I'm not sure what part of your story was offensive-- mostly your lab partner just sounds annoying.
 

Goro

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Did you happen to read the thread on being pimped where the OP thought the questioner was being evil because he merely asked her a question that she didn't know the answer to? One of the more epic, but topical threads.

tldr: yes, you will need a thick skin.

Because my school is west of St Louis, we have a sizable pool of CA students. Some of them are so thin skinned that light passes right them.

Here's another example of what you may have to deal with in, say, 3rd year:

Dr X: So, doctor in da makin, can you tell me some of the steps involved in GERD leading to esophageal adenocarcinoma?
You: I don't know.
Dr X: Have you even gone to medical school???

Now if the Dr says "What are you? F'ing stupid?"

THAT crosses a line!

A classmate rolling their eyes at you? C'mon!


I'm only a premed and was wondering if you guys ever had to deal with a rude superior or classmate.

Sorry if it seems like I'm ranting but...I'm asking because today I had to work with someone, a classmate, on a lab. Before the lab even started, I asked nicely if I could just borrow a single sheet of paper from her notebook and this person looked so annoyed by this. (Its just a piece of paper, right?)

We were supposed to share some cultures with our partners but I mistakenly started looking at her other cultures (I didn't know which was which) that we weren't supposed to share. In hindsight I should have asked first, but she told me in a very condescending way "can I help you?" and after I told her that we were supposed to share these, she told me again very condescendingly to look at the instructions. We hadn't even started the lab at that point, so its not like I messed up her results or anything like that. A few people were looking at us, so I apologized and continued on with the lab using my own cultures since their were extras.

BTW, she came in late and was also rude to the prof when she explained why she was late, so it wasn't just me.

This is probably nothing compared to what happens in med school, but just how important is it to have thick skin?

Also, would you say her behavior uncalled for?
 
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I mean, I know it's not easy to not get annoyed. You're going to feel what you feel- just don't internalize it, don't let it ruin your day.

Some people are just that way, anywhere and everywhere. Flip 'me off in your head and move on.

But yeah- it could be she was just annoyed you weren't prepared. In that case, you know what you need to do.
 
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GiveMeThatMD

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Some will show respect where it surely hasn't been earned, some will be a doormat for everyone to walk over, and, honestly, some people just wake up and eat a giant bag of d*cks for breakfast.
 
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Spector1

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You should learn to have thick skin. It always helps.
 

Lawper

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Now if the Dr says "What are you? F'ing stupid?"

THAT crosses a line!
Surprisingly, that is actually popular in clinical years and in residency. Seems like it's among the least harmful things angry attendings can say to their trainees!

Sources: Clinical Rotations and Residency Forums, and a recent article in TIME about residents suffering from depression and mental illness, partly attributed to vicious attendings
 

StudyLater

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Surprisingly, that is actually popular in clinical years and in residency. Seems like it's among the least harmful things angry attendings can say to their trainees!

Sources: Clinical Rotations and Residency Forums, and a recent article in TIME about residents suffering from depression and mental illness, partly attributed to vicious attendings
I'd actually be less offended by a direct insult than a rolleyes or some other passive aggressive BS. At least someone telling me "F*ck yourself you worthless **** stain," is doing me the courtesy of being straightforward with me about my shortcomings.
 

Lawper

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I'd actually be less offended by a direct insult than a rolleyes or some other passive aggressive BS.
Likewise of an attending/resident giving you a bad eval for spending extra time taking care/playing with a very sick child, simply because you didn't manage your priorities better. That crosses the line.

Medicine, like any profession in the real world, has good bosses, bad bosses and really nasty bosses. A thick skin goes a long way.
 
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Goro

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How about this?

Attending: Dr. Lawper, where is the Zonule of Zin?
Lawper: Umm, somewhere in the eye?
Attending: And what box of cereal did you get your Medical degree???

This scene is paraphrased from a classic law school movie, The Paper Chase.

Professor Kingsford: Lawper, can you tell us where is McBurney's Point?
Lawper: Um, in the abdomen?
Professor Kingsford: Take out your cell phone and call your parents. Tell them you're about to fail out of medical school!




Surprisingly, that is actually popular in clinical years and in residency. Seems like it's among the least harmful things angry attendings can say to their trainees!

Sources: Clinical Rotations and Residency Forums, and a recent article in TIME about residents suffering from depression and mental illness, partly attributed to vicious attendings
 

Lawper

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How about this?

Attending: Dr. Lawper, where is the Zonule of Zin?
Lawper: Umm, somewhere in the eye?
Attending: And what box of cereal did you get your Medical degree???

This scene is paraphrased from a classic law school movie, The Paper Chase.

Professor Kingsford: Lawper, can you tell us where is McBurney's Point?
Lawper: Um, in the abdomen?
Professor Kingsford: Take out your cell phone and call your parents. Tell them you're about to fail out of medical school!
:laugh::laugh::laugh: actually laughed at the first one. That was pretty good.

The second one was pretty harsh but i mean, harshness is often necessary to get to the point. But i realize there is a very fine line between attending abuse and criticism.

Honestly, i would just prefer constructive criticism presented bluntly. It's just a tragedy that insults and abuse from the higher-ups are so mainstream and deceptively harmless that reporting them to clerkship/program director will be dismissed as foolishness. It's a shame really, especially given reports on student/resident depression
 
OP
D

doctor in da makin

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Thanks for the replies, everyone. I was just a little surprised when she said that to me, especially in such a rude way. I would understand a little more if it was a superior that made me feel stupid and embarrassed me, but to have a peer do it seemed wrong to me.

And we really aren't lab partners, we just happened to sit next to each other that day. I'll make sure to avoid that next time; its really for the best
 

MrLogan13

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How about this?

Attending: Dr. Lawper, where is the Zonule of Zin?
Lawper: Umm, somewhere in the eye?
Attending: And what box of cereal did you get your Medical degree???

This scene is paraphrased from a classic law school movie, The Paper Chase.

Professor Kingsford: Lawper, can you tell us where is McBurney's Point?
Lawper: Um, in the abdomen?
Professor Kingsford: Take out your cell phone and call your parents. Tell them you're about to fail out of medical school!
Speak up. Fill this room with your intelligence.
 
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DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines

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I was just a little surprised when she said that to me, especially in such a rude way. I would understand a little more if it was a superior that made me feel stupid and embarrassed me, but to have a peer do it seemed wrong to me.
In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." And I'll add - but there are 7+ billion people on this Earth and I'm damned sure some days it may feel like a good percentage of the ones you encounter may try to.

The question is - Are you going to let them?

In the grand scheme of things - this person doesn't matter. Try to start looking at toxic encounters like that. Don't overanalyze, don't second guess yourself, don't beat yourself up over it later. Take it for what it was, learn from it, apologize if necessary, and move on.

Also - IMHO thinking of other people in terms of "superior" and "inferior" won't help you much either. Your professors are there to share and impart knowledge so that you can join their ranks and beyond. That's what they get paid to do. In essence, you (or your parents) pay their salaries! (Don't let that go to your head.)

The only difference between you and them at this point is the amount of schooling they have had and their pay checks. Of course they deserve respect. But so do you. Remember that. They're not gods.

Don't let others limit you.
 
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Ad2b

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A day of life in my real world.

Man: "Oh my gosh - it's your birthday coming up, what are you going to do?"
Me: "nothing much - spend time just relaxing" (truth? I spent it on a very nice secluded island MCAT prepping; but my message was to downplay my life)
Man: "Very cool."
Me: changes subject to ask when his is, blah lab blahblahblabh

At work, 5 days later, I came back to find my office with a tiny Happy Birthday poster in it, signed card that pops up replete with a stethoscope around one of the pop up character's hearts, and a syringe cut and pasted into the hand of another pop up character (I was feeling the love! Seriously, I was touched. NO ONE has ever done a thing for me.)

Two days after that, I was at school when someone asked what I'd done lately, his response?

"She's worthless. Hasn't done a thing." (told to me by various people who work in the department)

Truth of the matter is that I had given everything to my boss 3 months ago, he reports to someone who is my peer, and he is jealous and conniving. My boss is waiting on the internal group (which includes said guy above) to figure out WTH they are doing.

That is real life. You learn quickly who to trust and how to just grow a spine, take the high road, laugh it off, and move on. If you don't, life will suck.

Your lab mate? Maybe she had PMS, maybe she's worried about her grade, maybe she's worried she's failing and doesn't know what to do. I find almost everyone that treats another person like guano is insecure. See them as insecure, be confident in who you are, and be kind. Be kind, be kind, be kind.

The follow up to the above?

Recently, it was his birthday. The entire office was decorated in fairy princess things. His cube, his desk, the entire middle median thing; they had streamers, balloons and roses. They had cake, sang and cheered.

10' away from me (I'm an external consultant). I was not invited.

My response to the scene when I came in for the day?

"OMGosh - how awesome! Happy birthday!!! Oops, I think they got the 52 mixed up, shouldn't that be 25??? Here let me fix that :) Happy birthday - I hope you have a fabulous day and enjoy yourself!!"

Be kind, be kind, be kind. Take the high road.
 

Smurfette

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Why is your icon wearing a doctor's stethoscope
This is the first I've noticed it...Lee or others must be updating the badges. stethoscope = physician badge. I'll have to look and see what the other icons look like now!

EDIT: I guess they are temporary icons due to some issues with the old ones loading on some platforms. They'll change again once there's a permanent fix.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

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That is definitely a mating call OP. She might just be into you. Definitely get that number!! :naughty:
 

musicalfeet

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Thick skin is important...in the sense that you need to accept that there are going to be people who are a**holes in this world..everywhere. An appropriate reaction to that girl would be to just ignore her and do your own thing from now on while keeping things professional. Only talk to her and work with her when needed. I probably would have called her a b**** in my head but smile to her face because that's how the world works!

Plus, 90% of the time someone is an d*** to you, it's usually due to some issue of their own, not with you. It's just often easier to blame someone else for our frustrations and hardships than it is to take accountability for our own. Once you realize that, you won't take anything personal from whatever these people say anymore. It might even be comical or make you feel bad for them.
 
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getdown

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Definitely need thick skin when you're working with overworked, tired people in medicine. However, you need to pick and choose your battles. Let it slide when you know you can't win and have nothing to gain from it. But obviously don't let people think you're weak and can just walk all over you. Stand up for yourself and confront the d-bags if necessary. Some people just respond better to a strong showing rather than meekness.
 

allantois

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I still think that there are few fields where the work environment is more poisonous than that of hospitals.

Enjoy nurses' run **** show everyone.
 
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StudyLater

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Thick skin is important...in the sense that you need to accept that there are going to be people who are a**holes in this world..everywhere. An appropriate reaction to that girl would be to just ignore her and do your own thing from now on while keeping things professional. Only talk to her and work with her when needed. I probably would have called her a b**** in my head but smile to her face because that's how the world works!
It's not like she's your boss, and she's already clearly shown she has no intention of being a helpful or accommodating partner. Call her a b*tch to her face if you so desire. Just make sure you never miss data or anything like that (which is probably what you need to do anyway, if this attitude of hers persists).

Plus, 90% of the time someone is an d*** to you, it's usually due to some issue of their own, not with you. It's just often easier to blame someone else for our frustrations and hardships than it is to take accountability for our own. Once you realize that, you won't take anything personal from whatever these people say anymore. It might even be comical or make you feel bad for them.
Exactly. It's actually impossible for me to get sincerely angry with anyone, since I always default to this reasoning.
 

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I still think that there are few fields where the work environment is more poisonous than that of hospitals.
Said no one in the business world ever :) Best place I ever worked was the hospital. Bar none. Most toxic? Anything publicly held.
 

musicalfeet

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Said no one in the business world ever :) Best place I ever worked was the hospital. Bar none. Most toxic? Anything publicly held.
Let's add music industry to most toxic...I swear I've hardly met anyone who was a decent person in the field of music..
 

allantois

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Said no one in the business world ever :) Best place I ever worked was the hospital. Bar none. Most toxic? Anything publicly held.
People running their own business don't have to put up with toxic employees :shrug: