Monday, 25 May 2015

Medical students bullied

For those of us old enough to remember the 'Doctor in Charge' TV programs in the early 70s the notion of young doctors being tormented and bullied by omnipotent senior surgeons is nothing new. But that was a TV show forty years ago. Apparently it is still happening and worse.

Medical students bullied

Medical students are being bullied, harassed and belittled in Australian hospitals but they do not report the culprits for fear it will jeopardise their careers, new research suggests. There are also concerns that some doctors' use of fear and humiliation to teach medicine is contributing to high rates of anxiety, depression and burnout among students and undermining patient safety. A recent qualitative study of 18 medical students' experiences of bullying in Victorian hospitals found most had seen it or experienced it themselves.Some students believed it had caused clinical anxiety.There was also a culture of fear, humiliation and "tough love" in teaching. One student spoke of "ring of fire" tests of emotional strength and will power."You know your years as a junior doctor are supposed to be hell," one participant said.Another student described holding a patient's heart during a surgical procedure while a cardiologist fired impossible questions at her. Meanwhile, an anaesthetist was silently mouthing the answers in the background because he had seen the ritual before."The stakes were so high and she (the medical student) was so terrified," Ms Lambert said. "Students talk a lot about this sort of intellectual humiliation." In 2013, a beyondblue survey of 1800 medical students found 52 per cent were emotionally exhausted and burnt out; 7.5 per cent had anxiety; 9 per cent had high levels of psychological distress; 8 per cent had a current diagnosis of depression; and about one in five had considered suicide in the previous year .For all categories, these were much higher rates than the general population. A detailed story on these matters will go to air on Four Corners tonight.

Lifting the lid


Melbourne's 'prestigious' private school Scotch College has admitted for the first time that students were abused on school grounds.( Geelong Grammar has come out today 26/05/15 with a similar letter asking past students to speak up.) In a letter emailed to former students, Scotch said the school had received a handful of abuse claims, all of which had been resolved. The school said it took abuse allegations seriously and encouraged any victims to come forward. The school said it had offered compensation and a sincere apology to the ex-students involved and that no more cases were pending. Most cases relate to one teacher who worked at the school in the 1950s and 60s and has since died. For a long time private schools and privately run institutions have adopted a culture of secrecy, silence and cover-up . The current royal commission has compelled some (Xavier College was another to ‘come out’ recently) to face the truth of their past and acknowledge past horrific failures. Hopefully past students will be able to step forward and bring these matters ‘into the light.’

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