A lesson relearnt

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 27 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:721
  1. Vasandhara Mahendrayogam, foundation year doctor
  1. 1West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds
  1. vasmahendra{at}

    At medical school, the importance of introducing yourself to the patient was continually emphasised. The first box on any OSCE (objective structured clinical examination) mark sheet was devoted to this simple, but fundamental tenet of being a doctor. For a “clear pass,” one had to state one’s name and role and clarify the patient’s preferred form of address.

    These were easy marks to be had, so I learnt a spiel by rote: “Hello Mr/Ms ……, my name is …., I’m a medical student, would it be alright if I examined you?” I must have repeated this, or some variation thereof, …

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