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It's all a hoax

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Gumshoe, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. Gumshoe

    Gumshoe LARGE Member
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    How seriously do you guys take this whole med school process? I want to be a doctor as much as the next guy, but I just can't help but realize that this whole process is a fricking hoax .... and I don't mean this in a totally pejorative sense. It's just that, yes, you must have good GPA MCAT RECS, etc. but that they put you through so much stuff. Maybe it is because GPA's are so hard to compare person to person, and the other things are really what differentiates. It just seems to me that:
    a)doctors and their offspring get in much easier
    b)people act as if you need a 35 and 3.7 to even have a chance
    c)the whole process is like joining a fraternal order of elitists that have made being a doctor so hard, although MANY MANY people can do it.

    Just do your best and you'll get in. I just hate it that some people have to do outlandish crap to get in and then go through the first two years of med learning stuff that is voluminous and not even remembered.

    What do you guys think? I know it sounds harsh, and I have mad respect for doctors, but it gets ludicrous at times.

    Cheers,
    Gumshoe (did you play that nintendo game? -- great game)
     
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  3. kaos

    kaos Web Crawler
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    I'm starting to see it as a fatalist. If you were meant to do it, and you apply, then you'll get in. Either that, or it's pure dumb luck.
     
  4. Tweetie_bird

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    I used to believe the above was not true; however I am growing up and realizing how much of life (and med school admissions) is A LOT about politics. I know plenty of examples where fathers/uncles/aunts etc etc, have been able to help their whom ever to get in. I am lucky to have parents that love me, but neither of them know crap about medicine. Sometimes i try and explain stuff and I just get blank stares. I'm pretty much a person from a developing country with parents that love and support me in everythign that I want to do (hell, they brought me here to attain my "American Dream"), but as far as the politics goes, I got no game. Sometimes I feel pathetic....

    Oh well. What's meant to be, will be.
     
  5. athena21

    athena21 Senior Member
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    Okay,
    so I've read different theories on this board--which one is correct?

    1) kids/relatives of doctors get in more easily because they have "heritage" in the field and know what they're getting into

    2) kids/relatives of doctors get in more easily because their parents/relatives know people who can put in a good word for them

    3) a different reason

    4) both 1) and 2)

    what's the deal?
     
  6. ::Seabass::

    ::Seabass:: bringing burkas back!
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    I would have to say reasons #1, 2 and 3.

    1. It is a given you really do know more about what you are getting yourself into than someone who doesn't have doctors as parents, or a parent in the medical field. I have been observing the long hours my entire life and how they have to prioritize. Then again, at my 2 interviews so far, they wanted to know what other exposure, besides my parents, did I have.

    2. Being the child of a doctor makes it easier and less painful to access things such as shadowing physicians and maybe research. However, most of these doctors would do this for anyone who just called and asked, but not many do.

    3. Both of my parents graduated from Wash U. I just got a special invite in the mail today to interview at Wash U that explains I get preference over similar applicants, but not those better qualified. They also go on to tell you how hard it is to get in and of the 20 who applied last year who were related to alumni, staff, and faculty, only 4 got in. It kind of kills the excitement of an interview.
     
  7. Spidey

    Spidey Leorl's official stalker
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    I think it's because doctors children usually drink more orange juice. My statistics* show that people who drink more orange juice have a better chance at becoming doctors.



    * - statistics were received from the Institute of Complete BS
     
  8. Adcadet

    Adcadet Long way from Gate 27
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    A 20% acceptance rate is pretty damn good at Wash U. I wouldn't complain.
     
  9. Adcadet

    Adcadet Long way from Gate 27
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    I'm waiting for all premeds to unionize and demand reforms. AAMC obviously doesn't fight for our interests, nor do med schools.
     
  10. chapinsita

    chapinsita from premed to med!
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    I thought it was harder to get in if you are the son/daughter of a doctor because they feel that you don't really want to become a doctor, you are just doing it because your parents are making you or because you want to keep up the family tradition. My grandfather is an OB/GYN but I am not sure if I should disclose the fact that I have a Dr. in the family....I want to be a doctor for me, not to keep the tradition! (PS I got that info from my pre-med advisor)
     
  11. ::Seabass::

    ::Seabass:: bringing burkas back!
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    A 20% acceptance rate is pretty damn good at Wash U. I wouldn't complain. [/QUOTE]

    You're right, thanks for being optomistic. I just want to make sure I'm not wasting my parents money on the trip.
     
  12. Bikini Princess

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    I believe this phenomenon is true for all professions - whether it be law, acting, writing, modeling, accounting, to politics (ie George W. Bush ). It's true medicine is a family-oriented field; but I don't know that the same can't be said for other professions.

    (Of course, that doesn't necessarily make it right.)
     
  13. sluox

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Actually it's not hard to get into a medical school and become a doctor. Statistically 1/2 of the applicants get in. Now i say that's some pretty good odds. Premed isn't exactly what people make it out to be.

    1/2 of the time!! that's like flipping coin! com'on i know you can do it.
     
  14. Lee

    Lee Sleestack
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    Not a problem. Most doctors tell their sons or daughters not to go into medicine. Having a doctor in the family means that you already have a realistic idea of what to expect from a career in medicine.
     
  15. secretstang19

    secretstang19 Member
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    Is it REALLY that unfair that sons/daughters of doctors, faculty members, etc. get a little bit of preference? I would imagine that most schools use a policy like Washington U.'s: the fact that you have some connection to the school is used as a "tiebreaker" between similarly-qualified applicants, but won't get you in against better qualified applicants. Honestly, most medical schools receive so many applications from so many talented applicants who are capable of becoming good doctors that the admissions process ultimately comes down to a little hair-splitting. I don't have any doctors in my family, but it honestly wouldn't bother me to be rejected when someone who had identical grades/MCAT/activities but whose dad was a physician got in. Realistically, if you're on the adcom, what do you do as a tiebreaker? Flip a coin? Would that make anyone feel any better? My point is, a certain amount of arbitrariness exists in the process, but I don't think that there is any way to eliminate subjectivity from medical school admissions. I'm not saying that it's completely fair, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's a "hoax."
     
  16. Tuesday Weld

    Tuesday Weld Senior Member
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    Yes, #2 is a factor and it shouldn't exist. But neither should lowering admission standards for minorities; and that practice won't go away any time soon.

    I think that #1 is true also.

    #3 is probably true, and specifically, it could be that children of doctors have inherited qualities that are both genetically and environmentally advantageous to being a doctor.

    Most doctors are motivated and most are not below average intelligence. Both factors (which could be both socially and genetically inherited) could help the child of a doctor get into med school.


     
  17. Tuesday Weld

    Tuesday Weld Senior Member
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    Yes. I have nothing against doctors' families.

    I got into med school (I'm a first year student) and I'm not the child of a doctor. However, I would be upset if a child of a doctor had been chosen over me because of that and due to that one reason, I hadn't gotten in.

    Flipping a coin would be more fair if the two applicants were equal. Flipping a coin is arbitrary. But using factors that shouldn't be used as factors (lowering standards for minorities or giving preference to children of doctors) is not arbitrary. It's discrimination, imho.
     
  18. Smoke This

    Smoke This Sweet cuppin' cakes!
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    Preference because of that? While I don't know if this is discrimination (although I tend to agree with TW), it is profoundly unfair. It is unjust to overtly favor certain applicants like this, on such a flimsy basis.
     
  19. Raptor

    Raptor Found one
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    OH OH TUESDAY, I SMELL SOME COMPLAINING
     
  20. Raptor

    Raptor Found one
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    Well I say since we don't have the power to change the system, lets just play by the rules, like every game, there are those who have special preferences. Stop complaining and do something about it.
     
  21. poloace

    poloace Senior Member
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    i'm the son of two doctors... and i haven't received any special 'treatment' or consideration... if anything, i believe that adcoms look at me and think 'do you really want to do this, or is it just something that your parents think you should do...?'

    so, for every one candidate that gets in because his parents are physicians, i'm sure there is one like me... who will not get in... because his parents are physicians.

    peter
     
  22. INeedAdvice

    INeedAdvice Senior Member
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    A couple of comments to that. We *do* have the power to change. It's by discussing the problem (as we are now....it's not complaining if you're analyzing what's wrong with the system and suggesting that it be changed to be more fair). And another way to change the system is to urge voters to write Congress. Also, it looks like a lot of the posters who speak out against special treatment biases are *already in*. So, it's not "sour grapes". We got in despite of the special treatment to others. But it's good to let others be aware of how they can change the system. WRITE YOUR CONGRESS!

    I think there are a lot of problems with the current form of AA, but I also see the other side and agree that some form of AA is good.

    I wrote this elsewhere about doing an e-mail campaign to write Congress to modify the current AA system:
    __________________________________
    As someone else said, there's no use whining about what you perceive as an unfair system, because it's unlikely to change... unless you start an e-mail campaign (to your friends/families/co-workers) & to talk-show hosts & newspeople ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], etc...) to get U.S. citizens to write their Congressman or Congresswoman.

    Make sure to include in your e-mail something like the following:

    "Please forward this e-mail to everyone you know and also write your Congressperson about changing Affirmative Action. It takes 2 seconds to write your Representative because all you have to do is copy and paste the speech below and then go to the website":
    http://www.house.gov/WriteRep/

    Obviously the current system of "Affirmative Action" or "Reverse Discrimination" (depending on your point of view) isn't working:

    A) Under-Represented-Minorities (URM's) think that they need Affirmative Action (AA) to succeed, but resent being given a stigma and thought of as "being let into college with lower standards" if they get into a university such as Harvard (or any college for that matter) because it could never be proven otherwise.

    B) The majority of Americans are against it because Caucasians and Asians think lower standards should not apply to someone just because of their race.

    There seem to be two major problems that resulted in having to have AA in the 1st place:

    1) In this country, African-Americans and other minorities have a higher percentage of poor people and as a result, end up in school systems with lesser facilities.

    2) African-Americans and other minorities think that "whites" in the system are prejudiced towards them.

    Concerning issue #1, this is an economic problem and could be dealt with by changing Affirmative Action to take income into consideration (for all races), like many other low-income programs do, such as "HEAD START" which start helping students before they're even in kindergarten.

    In addition, if a "disadvantage" status could be proven (the same as a low-income status has to be proven), then it should also be taken into consideration. For example, you could prove that (a child has hopped from 1 foster home to the next, or has been abused, or has physical malformations) through court/legal documents, police, & doctor reports...

    Concerning issue #2, there are steps of anonymous test-taking methods or other methods that could be implemented to prevent any racist teachers ("white" or "black") from raising or lowering test scores of students based on their race.

    In addition, it should be illegal for schools to ask "legacy" questions or for med schools to ask "is your relative a physician?" question.

    The reason why I think this solution is a fair compromise is that it will still affect African-Americans and other minorities to a greater extent since their experience of prejudice and their percentage of poor are greater than non-minorities', and their "legacy" situations are less. Therefore, it will not neglect the fact that URM physicians are necessary for serving the URM community, and it will significantly reduce the "stigma" associated with African-Americans getting into universities.

    And such a solution will also take into account poor non-minority children and disadvantaged children of all races.

    Start your e-mail campaigns today. ;)
     
  23. ::Seabass::

    ::Seabass:: bringing burkas back!
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    Preference because of that? While I don't know if this is discrimination (although I tend to agree with TW), it is profoundly unfair. I like Wash U, but come on, it is unjust to overtly favor certain applicants like this, on such a flimsy basis. [/QUOTE]

    Flimsy? I would hardly consider myself a flimsy applicant. I have been invited to interview at schools with similar numbers where my parents had nothing to do with it.

    To stand up for Wash U, they send your parents a two page letter with all of their stats just to let them know how hard it is to get in (140 appyling with a 4.0, 576 applying with a 3.9, average MCAT of 12, etc.) AND my sister didn't get in to undergrad there a year ago even though she had a good (in my opinion) application.

    I agree with Poloace, they do make sure you aren't doing this because of your parents. Of all of the questions I have been asked, they tend to center around this topic about 50% of the time, which is a lot considering all the possible things they could ask.

    Alright, I have to figure out how to deal with Isidore and my interviews this weekend.
     
  24. Gumshoe

    Gumshoe LARGE Member
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    This has indeed broken down some good issues. My main thoughts on the subject are how it's just a bit unfair (overtly in that they ask if you are legacy, and then act on it) or subtle ---> you just have connections and MUCH more information at your disposal as a child of a doctor. I don't buy the fact that they are genetically more adept at becoming a doctor. Yes, they may have inherited good intelligence but many people have this quality. And as for environmental factors, those who come from loving families are as well as if not better able to become doctors. Isn't that what it's all about? Well, the final line is that you have to do a LOT to be a doctor, and have many qualities. I never put a value statement on whether or not it was fair, I just wanted to mention it as another part of the whole GAME they called MED School. Take care and I wish you all the best.

    Gumshoe

    Remember, the only time you ever really lose is when you stop trying.
     
  25. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
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    To the OP:

    Doctors' kids DO NOT get in much easier.... maybe a teeny tiny bit easier (only b/c of money and b/c med schools might feel more comfortable that the student knows what he/she is getting into).

    Also... stop whining!

    You may think the process sucks because it makes it really hard to be a physician... but that's exactly why I think it's great. You have to be one of the best (really only in the top 45%) to go to medical school.... and that's the WAY IT SHOULD BE.
     
  26. poloace

    poloace Senior Member
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    i agree... i don't want a little whining kid to become my physician...
    p
     
  27. turbon

    turbon Member
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    From the cases of Doctor Children I been seeing, Its easier for an exceptional candidate with stellar stats to get in than the other applicant with similar stellar stats. If you are a mediocre applicant on the borderline, then it is harder for you to get in than the other mediocre candidate.*

    *data obtained from 7 cases.
     
  28. agent

    agent agent, RN
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    my aunt and cousin went to loyola..

    i plan to use that to my advantage..

    is that wrong? :laugh:
     
  29. Nirvana

    Nirvana Senior Member
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    It's human nature to take advantage of a situation. So while the current system is flawed, go for it.

    But that doesn't mean that the system doesn't need to be changed, though. :cool:
     
  30. agent

    agent agent, RN
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    no i understand.

    i plan to get my stats high enough that it wont matter.
     
  31. San_Juan_Sun

    San_Juan_Sun Professor of Life
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    This argument appears everywhere, but I have yet to see someone propose a method for interviewing candidates that does a better job than the current system. (Crystal balls do not count :) ).

    The "system" certainly has flaws... although it may be better stated that some good prospective applicants slip through the cracks, and only a few people that don't deserve to get in actually do. For the most part, I beleive that those who ought to get in usually do. The "system" may be flawed, but I think it still does a pretty good job.

    Of course, I may change my tune if I don't get in..... :)
     
  32. katem

    katem Member
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    i am by no means an expert on this topic, but here are my thoughts:

    while it is frustrating that as a white, non-disadvantaged, child of non-doctors i might lose a spot to someone who is non-white, etc etc, and equally or even less qualified, i think continuing these preferences is important.

    with disadvantaged and/or urm folks, these people can then go on to serve as role models and mentors for others who might want to enter medicine and provide valuable alternative opinions or perspectives. i think the ideal physician pool would include people coming from backgrounds representative of our nation's racial and socio-economic diversity, in order to best treat all of the country's patients.

    as for letting in kids of doctors, it is possible that these applicants have a clearer understanding of the profession. perhaps more based in reality, though, i think medical schools show some slight preference to kids of alums to keep the alums happy, and giving money to the school. while ideally medicine and money would be independent, in reality they are obviously intricately entangled. frankly, i'd rather attend a school that has been made better by alum donations, and maybe has a couple slightly less qualified alum kids, than one that ignores this connection all together.

    the rest of the world is governed largely by connections; i think it would be impossible for medical schools to ignore completely all factors unrelated to the quality of a specific applicant.
     
  33. Wardens

    Wardens Long arm of the law
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    I agree a lot with what katem was saying about URM status. I'm a white male, and while it is more difficult for me to get into medical school, it's necessary for the future of medicine and this country. The role model argument in helping to equalize the social status of race in this country is a good one, but I also think that medicine, and more explicitly patient care, is in need of a change. How is a white upper-middle class doctor supposed to relate to a native american patient who's faced a life of oppression . . . or more importantly vice versa? The beauty of america is its diversity, and an important part of patient care is the ability to relate, to make a sympathetic or empathetic connection, a connection found in matching diversity with diversity. Maybe this argument is too idealistic; nevertheless, it is the route that medical schools have taken to solve the endless criticism of doctors who refer to their patients as the neural blastoma in bed 2. These URMs have the same drive for medicine that non-urms have and will be fine doctors. Is this fair? perhaps not on the level of the individual, but on the level of society, it seems the right way to go.
     
  34. INeedAdvice

    INeedAdvice Senior Member
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    Hi katem,

    That's the point of my post on the previous page. Right now, the Affirmative Action laws by the U.S. government, have quotas for African-Americans and other minorities, but not for financially disadvantaged people! Med schools can say that they use the latter as a criteria, but it wouldn't be enforced by the Government because there isn't any quota law for socio-economically disadvantaged people!

    The U.S. government law only pertains to African-Americans and other minorities. It pertains to their race or ethnicity and not their economic background.

    For example, if a company that had 100 employees, which is considered a "large" sized company (or a medical school), would decide to employ (admit) *only* wealthy individuals, the Government wouldn't enforce any law because there is no law for having a quota of financially poor people.

    However, if that same scenario were that they employed (admitted) a small number of African-Americans and minorities, then the Government would come down on them...

    I think the Affirmative Action laws *should* be changed to take into account a person's socio-economic background (not just their racial and ethnic background).
     
  35. LowtideUSC

    LowtideUSC New Member

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    This whole thread was created by a person who said, "I want to be a doctor as much as the next guy." WTF does that mean? As lame as this might sound, I personally don't know anyone who wants to be a doctor as much as I do. I look around at the people in my classes and I get pissed because all I see are a bunch of clueless egotists, that think they should become doctors because they got straight A's in high school. There are a lot of smart people in this world, but by no means should they all be doctors. I know that's not some new and ingenious thought, but its true. To become a GOOD doctor, requires some unique character and personality traits. I think the application system that is in place is the best attempt medical schools can make at finding and weeding out the thousand of guys who "want to be a doctor as much as the next guy."

    Then to comment on the whining that is going on about how some people feel that they are at a disadvatange because of their parents aren't MD's or because they're white etc. Your true disadavantage isn't your background or race, it's your victim mentality. Medicine is currently in a pretty bad state. There are plenty of doctors and patients that feel they are victims in the current system. Medicine doesn't need anymore victims. I feel that if you really want to be a doctor (and are capable), your application should reflect it and medical schools will notice it.
     
  36. agent

    agent agent, RN
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    WOW!

    I agree.. brains aren't everything.. you need to have a real passion in order to maintain the level of energy needed to provide good patient care.
     
  37. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    Welcome to SDN, LowtideUSC!! :) Very insightful first post. :clap: Good luck with your apps!! :)
     
  38. Gumshoe

    Gumshoe LARGE Member
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    Let's not pick and choose statements to make our arguments, guys. EVERYONE wants to be a doctor here, or they wouldn't be on this board. That is what I was saying. We all go through crazy stuff, then some more than others, and guess what --- the people that do MORE a lot of times DON'T get in. That's what I'm talking about. So, even if you want it more, you're not guaranteed, lowtide. You must understand this.

    Good luck to you all.

    Gumshoe
     
  39. Smoke This

    Smoke This Sweet cuppin' cakes!
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    That's not what I said. I said the basis is flimsy. What I was suggesting is that giving an applicant preference because his or her parents are alumni of that school is an undeserved and unfair boost to that applicant's competitiveness since it is not based on the applicant's own aptitude or merit. I would prefer to have a level playing field. I know legacies are unavoidable, but I would rather not have them be official school policy.

    I mean that with all due respect to you. My beef is with the institution of Wash U, not with yourself, and I apologize for any offense you might have taken.
     
  40. doctor girl

    doctor girl Senior Member
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    That sounds a bit racist. So a white doctor is more likely to make stinging sarcastic or snide remarks about their patients than a black doctor ? :rolleyes:

    What? Don't black people have the abilities to be rude and offensive or the wit of an ascerbic tongue? Offensive and rude people come in all shapes and sizes.

    Also, I think socioeconomic status is as important, if not more important, than race if medical schools want to continue to make it easier for certain applicants to get accepted. With all of these 'doctor X could relate to better than doctor Y to patient Z' scenarios, here's one for you. A poor white boy from the hills of West Virginia could probably relate better to a black patient from rural Kentucky, than could a wealthy-grew-up-pampered black doctor from Beverly Hills or NY City.

    People don't just get along based on their race. Economic status has much to do with a person's peer group.

    I would advocate having affirmative action for poor trailer, errr,... I mean poor white people as well (there goes that out-of-control ascerbic tongue). :p
     
  41. Wardens

    Wardens Long arm of the law
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    That's a valid point. I think socio-economic status should play an equal role in helping doctors to relate their patients, and I think it would be great if medical schools started to diversify in this respect as well. They try to do this in many competetive colleges, so I'm sure they could do it in medical schools as well. Good call.

    I wasn't, however, attempting to make any sort of racist remark. I understand that whites, african-americans, native-americans, etc. can all make cynical or sarcastic remarks about patients, but that wasn't the distinction I was trying to make. Sorry if i didn't make that clear. I just think that this cynicism is a problem with patient relationships that 'may' be improved if there were more diverse classes of doctors being graduated.

    I also think that we cannot make a decision as to which is more important in patient care: socio-economic identity or racial identity. Can't both be equally valuable? It's true that a white doctor from a poor family in west virginia could relate well to a black patient from elsewhere in appalachia, but race or ethnicity also factors in. While this will open up room for another debate, I think many americans identify themselves with their ancestors, and each ethnicity has its own cultural subtleties. We 'could' call us all americans, but I don't know many who would give up their Irish, scottish, african, german, iriquois, etc. histories for that. Some may, but regardless, like identifies well with like. Whether we're talking about race or class, this like identification helps improve patient care.
    This is a fun discussion. :)
     

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