Negative remarks about other specialities can discourage students from pursuing these fields. Instead, focus on sharing the positive aspects of your discipline.
“What are you interested in?” Most medical students have an answer prepared to this question as they’re almost always asked by everyone they meet. Once we’re fourth years, the question is, “What specialty will you apply for for residency?” Many factors influence this decision, including passions, previous clinical experiences, and work-life balance goals. One factor that may influence this decision is disparaging remarks made by doctors about other fields.
These statements may occur in a large lecture hall setting or in a clinical conversation. They involve a physician in Specialty X saying a negative comment about Specialty Y. While they’re not always a direct factor dictating a student’s specialty choice, they may indirectly impact a student’s decision by influencing what field students choose for shadowing, rotations, and extracurriculars.
Traditionally, we think of these disparaging comments being detrimental to Specialty Y. These comments place negative value judgments on those who pursue Specialty Y. Consequentially, students may minimize their exposure to Specialty Y to distance themselves from this judgement. Unfortunately, this choice prevents opportunities to find out whether it’s a field that would bring them satisfaction.
However, the disparaging comments may also be detrimental to Specialty X. These statements showcase to students that such negativity is acceptable within Specialty X. Thus, students may minimize their exposure to Specialty X to reduce their presence in this environment. Unfortunately, once again, this choice prevents opportunities to find out whether it is a field that would bring them satisfaction.
The opposite of negative remarks is excitement, enthusiasm, and passion about one’s specialty. Learners become intrigued and pursue experiences to learn more about this field. In conclusion, doctors should focus on sharing the positive aspects of their discipline.
This piece expresses the views solely of the author. It does not represent the views of any organization, including Johns Hopkins Medicine.