Saturday, April 18, 2009

Why Male Medical Students Get The Shaft

Believe me, I'm thankful I'll never have to push a tiny person through my genitalia after growing it for 9 (really 10) months, I'm also happy living without a monthly hormonal cycle, but sometimes you miss out on good learning experiences being a guy.

At my school, we work with family doctors once a week throughout the year. Most of us go in pairs, often one guy and one girl. Almost every girl who comes in for anything uniquely feminine (yeast infection, pap smear, breast exam, etc.) will only see a female student. This double standard does not cross genders because male patients seem to be more than happy to talk about erectile dysfunction or drop their trousers in front of either a guy or a girl.

This dichotomy does not affect most of us because we will eventually deal with these illnesses in the hospitals when we are 3rd year students; however, it would probably be better for everybody if we gained some practical experience sooner rather than later. If you reach the point where a urinary tract infection has put you in the hospital, do you really want a medical student who has never talked to a female patient about anything "feminine" before?

The students who are really hurt by this discrimination are the male students who are interested in OB/GYN. There aren't many, but those few miss out on clinical experiences that may decide their future careers.

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