Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus


BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 16 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:S3a-7216
  • Although the perceived threat of a bad reference is generally considered to be one of the most powerful normative forces in medicine, recent research suggests that in fact the problem is the reverse. In the United States all applications for residency programmes are accompanied by a Dean's letter which should reflect overall performance in medical school. When researchers compared actual medical school records with more than 500 of the deans” letters they found that more than a third suppressed relevant negative information such as failing an exam or a clinical firm.

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