In our clinical years, we are often sent to placements having been prepared for practice both in terms of knowledge and skills. But one thing remains unknown and unprepared for when we make those first steps – a part of the job you don’t learn in textbooks. How much are we really prepared for working with members of the public on a daily basis?
Since the start of this academic year, I have personally been the victim of discrimination from patients on two separate occasions. On both occasions the Islamophobic remarks made against me came as quite a shock. I was subconsciously aware that some doctors may have to deal with this during their clinical practice, but I was definitely not expecting to have to deal with prejudice as a student.
I think my experiences and my surprise might reflect the surprise of many medical students if they ever had to deal with discrimination. Perhaps this is because we are not prepared adequately to deal with negative or even obscene patient behaviour within medical school, or maybe we just ignorantly assume that we will never have to deal with it in our student lives. Whatever the case, this is an area which medical students could definitely be better equipped to deal with.
I want to provide some practical advice on what medical students should do if they are ever the victim of discrimination during their time on placement and how they can deal with the matter appropriately.
Here’s my guide:
Haseeb Hamid is the MSC deputy representative for Glasgow