"Becoming A Physician or Becoming A Jerk: Does Medical Training Harm Students?"
Becoming a Physician, November 2005
© University of Southern California
More Info: Becoming a Physician speaker series
Event description: by Joshua Hornstein
The process of becoming a physician is rigorous. As is well known, undergraduate pre-medical students must successfully complete years of physical and biological sciences in addition to scoring highly on the MCAT just to become eligible to apply to medical school. The competition is intense and the experience can be both alienating and exhausting. The previous two lectures in this Fall series have exposed the intellectually engaging and personally fulfilling dimensions of pursuing a career in the health profession. However, what neither of these two lectures mentioned was a darker side to the practice of medicine. The pressures of competition and drive for scientific perfection extract a heavy toll on students and young doctors-in-training. Recent research has demonstrated an alarming increase in mental health problems among undergrad and medical students including: anxiety disorders, depression, alcoholism, drug use and burn-out. The question raised tonight is: Does the actual experience of pre-medical and medical training harm students pursuing a career in the health sciences?
To help us examine this nuanced and rarely talked about issue are two highly respected experts in this field of medical balance and wellbeing.
- Dr. Lee Lipsenthal is the founder and CEO of "Finding Balance in Medical Life", a San Francisco-based institute specialized in medical wellbeing and impairment.
- Dr. Paula Stoessel is the Director of the Mental Health Services for Doctors in Training at UCLA Medical School.
Both these speakers are in a unique position to expose the common problems seen in pre-med and medical students and hopefully give us insight into the ancient Hippocratic aphorism, "Physician: Heal Thyself."
Joshua Hornstein, program director for the Becoming A Physician series, moderated the event.