Should medical students be introduced to patients as “student doctors”?
In the first article of a new section on medical controversies, Daniel Sokol discusses the implications of introducinging medical students as student doctors
Medical ethicists are notorious for their interest in rare and far-fetched cases. “Vive la différence!” could be an ethicist's motto. But this is one of the most ordinary ethical issues in clinical medicine. So ordinary is it that many do not consider it an ethical issue at all. What is undeniable is that the issue—ethical or not—affects many patients, doctors, and medical students across the country.
Most medical students, at one time in their training, have been called “student doctors” by their seniors. Registrars and consultants regularly boost the egos of their eager students with a taster of that delectable title—Doctor. Many patients are led to believe that “student doctors” are genuine doctors and go on to address them as such for the rest of the consultation.