News articles do not necessarily represent the views of BC Family Doctors. We share news written by or about family physicians to keep our members up to date on topics impacting our professional lives.
By Drs. Jane Philpott, Tony Sanfilippo, and Karen Schultz
In an ideal world, medical students would go into the [CaRMS] match feeling that all areas of medicine are equally valued, and their choice would be based solely on interest and aptitude. Unfortunately, it is increasingly clear that students are exposed during medical school to attitudes that suggest medicine is hierarchical, with some disciplines more valued than others. This causes many students to question and even change their intended career paths.
“Since entering this environment I have felt more of a need to compare myself and have felt that choosing a primary care specialty will be looked down upon…. why is that? I did not come here with that attitude.” – medical student
These subtle and not-so-subtle messages that students infer from actions and inactions of people and institutions, constitute an unfortunate aspect of what has come to be referred to as the “hidden curriculum.” The hidden curriculum is a powerful thing. It can either reinforce or undermine formal curriculum and values.
As an institution that values respect, collegiality, diversity, and inclusion, we need to address these root causes and be a part of the solution. We need to ensure that all areas of medicine are equally appealing to students so they can make their choices based on interest and aptitude. Addressing the hidden curriculum will require a multifaceted approach and an ideological shift within our profession. All of us will need to be committed and involved.
Read the full article in CMAJ Blogs.