Medical Student Burnout and the Challenge to Patient Care

The above is the title of an article in the New York Times. It depicts the emotional trauma endured by its author during her four years in medical school. While her suffering is depicted at length the reason for it is not. It reads as if she were unprepared for the Spanish Inquisition which as usual appeared unexpectedly.

The truth is that medical school was never very hard if you were prepared and really interested in the profession. If you were very smart you didn’t even have to be interested to get through without a lot of effort. Today medical school is even easier.

It’s easier to gain admission, 50% of applicants get accepted, and it’s very hard to flunk out. The long hours of the past have been replaced with much shorter work weeks. In short, medical school today is no harder than any other professional school – law, engineering, dentistry,etc.

If being a medical student makes you a bowl of quivering jello you’ve picked the wrong profession and should seek the right one. I don’t see any connection between medical student burnout and poor patient care. The issue is a straw man

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