Intended for healthcare professionals

Student Editorials

Between a rock and a hard place

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 01 April 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:020493
  1. Sandra Nicholson, clinical lecturer1
  1. 1Department of General Practice and Primary Care, Queen Mary University of London, Medical Sciences Building, Mile End Road, London E14NS

Helping medical students cope with the rigours of undergraduate training

Much has been published about the stress and hardship endured by medical students during their undergraduate training. Several determinants of this stress have been investigated, such as financial hardship, relationship difficulties, and heavy work schedules.2 Medical staff attitudes and poor teaching techniques stand out as affecting students' self esteem. They influence their academic progress, personal lives, careers, and, ultimately, patient care13

The debate about the causes of this stress and about whether it is possible to alleviate this suffering continues. Unfortunately, it is still believed by some that training should be an “initiation rite” into medicine and abuse a feature of it,4 and the literature continues to justify that abuse, which is sometimes sexual.6

Studies have outlined student abuse by teaching staff, …

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