Journal Article: Entitling the Student Doctor – Defining the Student's Role in Patient Care

Authors: Richelle K Marracino, MD and Robert D Orr, MD
Submitted by: Mary Launder, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Oscar Thompson, a third-year medical student on a shift in the emergency department, is eager to participate in as many procedures as possible. According to the triage nurse's history, the next patient to be seen is a 58-year-old man who has had fever, headache, and neck stiffness. Anticipating his first lumbar puncture, Oscar approaches the room with enthusiasm. The nurse whispers that the patient is irritated and can't wait to see the doctor. The student pauses, draws back the curtain, and says, “Hello, I'm Dr. Thompson, how can I help you today?”

The question of professional identity and how to introduce oneself to patients is one of the first faced by every medical student. Why do medical students introduce themselves as “doctor” and what problems are presented by his choice?

Read the full article in the Journal of Internal General Medicine/U.S. National Library of Medicine National Center for Biotechnology here.

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