Med School Hell – Why It’s Not A Sign Of Weakness

This post is raw and holds nothing back. If you’re uncomfortable with vulgar language, please turn back.

March 24, 2007
By: Hoover


How many times have you heard “it’s a sign of weakness?” This clever jab of an insult comes mostly from the surgery camp based on my experiences. This saying and a dollar will buy you a 20 oz. Coke, and here’s why.

Weakness Is A Product of the Creator

Weakness is nothing more than the opinion of the accuser. They think you are weak by participating in some action that they deem exemplifies weakness in you. However, to a “normal” person, your actions are seen as very common. Weakness never comes into the equation.

It is the training (or more accurately, brainwashing) that has led these people to feel this way. Molds are cast early in training, and to deviate from that mold is a “sign of weakness” in itself. That is what they would have you to believe.

The Inbreeding of Inaccurate Thoughts

These abnormal schools of thought are inbred within the various specialties of medicine. As the medical student is taught that taking time off is a “sign of weakness”, he begins to believe that this is in fact the case. As his training continues into residency, this misconception is further hammered into his head by frequent reminders from upper-level staff.

By the time he reaches attending status, he is a super-breeder of misinformation. Years of brainwashing has taken its toll, and he himself believes that false information is true. The process then goes full-circle, as the attending inseminates lower-level residents who in turn inseminate their juniors.

It’s an orgy of falsities.

Weakness In Action

Many of you may be wondering what all of the hoopla is about. Here’s a list of frequently cited “weak” actions on the part of residents and medical students:

  • Working less than 80 hours per week
  • Taking more than 2 days per month off
  • Wanting to eat at least once during the day
  • Being sleep deprived and showing it at work
  • Putting your family before your work
  • Taking a full Saturday off instead of rounding until noon
  • Calling into work sick

If you take a close look at all of the above “weak” actions, you’ll see that they really don’t show any weakness whatsoever.

Dehydration and Rotations

While on my internal medicine rotation, we had a resident who was obviously sick and should have stayed at home. Every 3 or 4 hours he would receive a liter of fluids through a hep lock that he kept wrapped up in gauze. Wouldn’t any normal person stay home under these same conditions? I questioned him on why he wasn’t at home in the bed where he should have been. His reply? It’s a sign of weakness to stay home when you’re sick.

If this isn’t evidence of the mind conditioning that takes place during the medical training process, I challenge you to find what is.

The True Weak

Although any physician in any specialty is capable of spreading this false message through mind conditioning processes, surgeons are most likely the ones with the greatest amount of skill in this arena.

I’m here to set the record straight:

  • It’s not a sign of weakness to work less than 80 hours per week. This is known as efficiency and budgeting your time wisely.
  • It’s not a sign of weakness to take more than 2 days off per month. This is known as being human and having a life.
  • It’s not a sign of weakness to want to eat three meals per day, on time. This is known as sustenance.
  • It’s not a sign of weakness to show sleep deprivation at work. Sleep is known as a basic requirement for life.
  • It’s not a sign of weakness to put your family before your work. This is known as being a good husband/wife/father/mother.
  • It’s not a sign of weakness to want a full Saturday off every week. This is known as rest.
  • It’s not a sign of weakness to call in sick to work. This is known as calling in sick to work.

The only true “sign of weakness” is when you actually buy what the man is selling. Resisting the purchase and going against the grain shows that you are strong, courageous, and looking after what’s most important in your life.

Are you convinced to leave medicine? If so, you may feel like you are alone. You may feel clueless about what to do next. However, quitting medicine could turn out better than you have ever thought possible. And here is why you should get out …

This article is part of Hoover’s Med School Hell series. Med School Hell reveals the crazy truth about the crappiness of the US medical education and healthcare system … while making you laugh so hard, you’ll crap in your pants.

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