The Complaints Department

complaining copy

Medical students are largely the same as other students. In particular, we like to complain. Without end, it seems.

It has been barely a week back, and I have yet to have a social interaction with my colleagues where someone hasn’t complained about something to do with being a medical student. This, to be fair, includes myself. I am also caught in this behaviour, even while I hate it.

I hate it, because most, if not all, of it is unjustified. In particular, the complaints are program-specific. We’re not learning enough of X. They’re teaching us too much Y; it’s not important. Z wasn’t in lecture, why was it on the exam. Our W program isn’t as good as it should be. I wish they would just tell us V.

Insert appropriate onomatopoeia here.

Perhaps the constant exposure to this kind of talk is making it seem greater than it is. Even so, it seems to suggest serious entitlement issues among medical students. I know myself very well: I have entitlement. I can also hear my classmates: they have entitlement, too.

What bothers me the most about this is that I know we would all be much better students if we could drop this arrogance. In approximately six and a half months, we will enter clerkship. This means that we will be working in health care teams, on the wards, taking care of patients. We must know what we need to know to do our job.

This is the pressure that drives us. However, the crux of the problem is that we project our blame for not knowing what we need to outside of ourselves. The nearest convenient, and obvious source, is the program teaching us.

Rapidly, it is becoming clear to me that it is not really the job of the U of A’s faculty of medicine to make sure we know what we need to know. (And, so that I am perfectly clear, the University of Alberta’s medical school is an excellent one. This is something that I realize when I am rational.) It is our job, as medical students, to find out what we need to know and know it.

We really don’t like this fact; it places the onus on myself and my colleagues to make sure that our knowledge is up to snuff. Having these future goods concerns bothers me, because I already know how good (or bad) my knowledge is.

I hope this is the motive behind the winging of my colleagues and myself. Under this analysis, we save a certain morality. And even if it is not the motive, I should end this post here, before I find myself complaining further. That would be not just annoying, but meta.

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