SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

how long does it take med school students to become desensitized to things

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ronaldo23, May 13, 2008.

  1. ronaldo23

    ronaldo23 The Truth 7+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2007
    like blood, stools, naked old people, childbirth, bad smells, basically anything that a non-medical person would find "gross"
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. p30doc

    p30doc Ever true and unwavering 10+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    over 9000 seconds, also I am sure it depends on the person!
  4. 87138

    87138 Guest

    Jan 14, 2006

    If you've played your cards right, you've already been exposed to - and have become desensitized to - these things by the time you get ready to apply to medical school.
  5. Margaux1985

    Margaux1985 0k member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2008
    The great plains of NYC

    Sometimes never.
  6. mdgator

    mdgator 2+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2008
    I don't know about "gross" stuff. But things like pain and suffering (both physical and emotional), human cruelty, and even death...I'd say it happens frighteningly quickly. Don't know if this is necessarily a good thing...maybe it's a necessary one. But when I first started working at the ER that I've worked at for the past year, I thought about thest things that I saw at work constantly. Now, 11 months later, I can't even remember the last time that I really thought about work after I clocked out. (Sorry for the slightly unrelated post...but if you adapt as quickly to gross things, I'd say it only takes 4 or 5 months. Hope I don't sound like a complet jackass or's late and I'm medicated, and that's my excuse.
  7. ineedsleep

    ineedsleep 5+ Year Member

    There are different time periods for everyone. Some people who worked in medicine before hand are good day one. Anatomy lab does wonders for you. By the end of third year most people are pretty good with all this stuff. Doesn't mean we don't find it "gross", you just can hide it well. There are still a couple things that still bother me. They are mainly found under bad smell category. Some people are never good with some of that stuff and find specialties to match their sensitivities.
  8. LUCPM

    LUCPM 10+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    I'm not in med school yet but have worked at a long-term care facility for quite some time. One thing I can't seem to get myself desensitized is a colostomy bag.
  9. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy" 5+ Year Member

    May 23, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    That sensitivity means you're still human. :p
  10. Asp

    Asp 5+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2007
    Katy Perry's basement
    I suggest you go hunt a seal, slaughter it, and eat it raw. That should cure you of your "yuck" and "gross" reactions. For tips on how to do this see

  11. kevster2001

    kevster2001 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    Depends. Dont have too much exp but my first male genital/rectal exam was weird but got over the gross factor right away. As for cadavers, once youre dissecting some very specific spot, you basically forget that it was a human being. Kind of sad but can't constantly think about that stuff.
  12. The Doctor

    The Doctor EMH Mark I 10+ Year Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    I know I can never forget some of the experiences of anatomy lab. It's just not natural. Though I chose not to attend many of the lab sessions, I think it's something that impacts you on a very deep level, and some people more intensely than others. I had trouble sleeping and eating for a while, but most of my classmates didn't seem to have this trouble. Even for me, the feelings quickly passed.

    I don't know - for me, I've eventually gotten used to the physical/gross things - dissecting people, naked people, touching people, and disturbing pictures. After a while, you really don't think anything of it anymore. That said, the more difficul part for me is the mindset of medicine. I never get used to the idea of suffering, the fact that people are constantly dying in the hospital, getting diagnosed with leukemia, or having terrible chronic pain. Suffering and disease, learning about the inexorable deterioration of the human body - I think this is what you don't get used to, and if you are a young and relatively sheltered individual like I am, it may take some getting used to in terms of facing your own mortality.

    Don't worry though, plenty of time to work thru these things!
  13. jimboapu

    jimboapu 2+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2008
    ya, thats a rough one
  14. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy 2+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2007
    I still laugh at the word testicles and at the sight of I in trouble?
  15. milliya

    milliya Soon To Be Saving Babies 2+ Year Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    North Carolina
    oh good! there's still hope for me!
  16. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It 7+ Year Member

    Jan 18, 2008
    Always Bespin
    Don't even get me started on vagina!:eek:
  17. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod Physician 7+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    hSDN Alumni
    Oh man, simulated gyno exams are gonna be interesting...
  18. EpiPEN

    EpiPEN Aegis of Immortality 2+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    La Jolla
    I saw a med student eating a poo burger the other day. I ask why he would do such a thing and he told me that he got desensitized. I told him well, guess you can't go on spewing poo all day without taking some in. He nodded.
  19. EpiPEN

    EpiPEN Aegis of Immortality 2+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    La Jolla
    I would just avoid the awkwardness and tell the patient that she is getting a lookie at her naughty naughty ;)
  20. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    It'll hamper your dating life. Should it ever get to that point.
  21. paranoid_eyes

    paranoid_eyes 2+ Year Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    i can't stand the sight of blood or visible symptoms of infectious diseases (like smallpox or plague). Really makes me sick. But then again, i wanna go into psychiatry so it's all good :D
  22. SaveThisLabRat

    SaveThisLabRat $700 Billion Dollar Woman 2+ Year Member

    Mar 26, 2007
    California *\o/*
    All I had to do was watch 2 Girls 1 Cup a few times and I was good to go.

Share This Page