Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Guest Post: Medical School Now and Then

I graduated from medical school in the 1970s. My daughter started medical school two weeks ago. Many things I thought were crazy in the '70s are still crazy today (like the schools requiring Calculus and Organic Chemistry for no reason I can fathom even after thirty years of working in hospitals and clinics). And why did I have to memorize the Krebs Cycle? But some things are vastly changed.

1. The Interview Process.
I remember the male interviewer asking me, "Are you engaged.........or anything?" I thought it was a fair question at the time. After all, letting a girl into medical school was risky. She might fall in love with a surgeon and drop out to get married. So I was quick to let the interviewer know that I was completely uninterested in ANYTHING like that. Little did I know that I would fall in love with a graduate student and get married at the end of my second year, right before National Boards.

I hear questions like that are illegal nowadays.

2. The male:female ratio.
My class was around 5:1. A group of us girls would sit in the back of the lecture hall dressed in jeans and men's shirts and hiss at the sexist remarks from the podium. We had a teacher who projected gigantic photos of scantily-clad models in front of the class between the pathology slides. I hear they don't allow that anymore. But looking back, that hissing and booing was a lot of fun; it was a great bonding experience for the women students.

Now there are more women than men in medical school, which is why the pay for primary care doctors is dropping compared to the rate of inflation.

3. The money!
The tuition that medical students pay nowadays is insane. I was upset when my tuition rose to $2000 my 4th year. With all the blood drawing, xray fetching, middle of the night foley catheters and EKGs, I thought the school should be paying us. I wonder if students today still provide all those services for the hospital even though they are paying $40,000 for the privilege.

"Fiddler" practices Internal Medicine in the Pacific Northwest. She has two daughters, ages 18 and 23.


  1. LOL! Just rolling over here!

    I just can't even believe that about the slides in pathology!

    My husband and I did medical school together- graduated in 2000. The class was about 50/50

    I ran into a little gray haired woman at my church last year. She bragged that her grandmother was a doctor! Her. Grandmother. Wow! She practiced medicine from her house. Wonder how the school was back then!

    Awesome guest post!

  2. In my country 90% of women are doctors, guess no call and 36 hour week is a the reason. Yet, I still cannot get over how much bragging goes around woemn-doctors. In my mind even though I work ungodly hours in this country it is still NORMAL.


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