January 03, 2021

Redefining The Med Student

Journey 2 Med redefine what it means to be a medical student.

 

In our most recent podcast episode, we had the pleasure of speaking to Hazal and Lydie, who are the two founders of ‘Journey2Med.’

You can listen to the podcast here

Not only are these incredible second year medical students smashing medical school, they are also taking YouTube by storm documenting their journey towards becoming a doctor, whilst advocating for a re-definition of the archaic medical student stereotype.

.Lydie and Hazal

 

What does it take to gain a place at medical school and become a doctor? Thoughts that come to mind include being a hard worker with a keen interest in science, good communication skills, empathy and resilience amongst others. Yet, would it surprise you if we mentioned that privilege, according to official figures, plays a big role? In 2016, the Social Mobility Commission revealed that just 4% of medical students came from a working-class background. Furthermore, figures show that a staggering 80% of applicants come from 20% of the UK’s schools, which focus predominantly around grammar and independent education. (1)

 

Clearly, more needs to be done. Speaking to Hazal and Lydie, was a real eye-opener as to the alienation and judgement that students can face, as a result of the marginalisation we appear to have established within medicine. Lydie speaks about the difficulty of accessing resources to obtain her GCSEs, relying on her perseverance to get those top grades. Similarly, Hazal elaborated on how much of her time was spent researching medical school requirements, due to a lack of guidance from her teachers.

 

So, what are the implications of a lack of diversity within medicine? As Hazal explained, these stereotypes are troublesome as they deter talented, driven individuals from pursuing this career, for fear of ‘not fitting in’ or feeling like an ‘imposer.’ On a personal level, Lydie explained how this lack of representation made her feel very lonely in her first year. Imposter syndrome is an issue that many medical students face and can be described as the feeling of chronic inadequacy and feeling like you are undeserving of your achievements. Lydie and Hazal elaborate on such comments that fed into this feeling - comments that are extremely disappointing to hear about.

 

 

This lack of representation is not only apparent within the medical student cohort, but also within the curriculum. Covid-19 in particular, brought this to the limelight. In one such study, it was found that in many popular American medical textbooks, there was a huge bias towards the representation of lighter skin tones (74.5%) compared to darker skin tones. (3) As such, the importance of equal representation is paramount, both in terms of the medical curriculum and medical students themselves.

 

If you have tuned into this episode already, we hope you enjoyed. If not, do make sure you give this episode a listen! This can be found on Spotify, Apple podcasts and on our website.

 

Thank you so much to Lydie and Hazal, for providing us with loads of information on a really important issue. It was incredible to hear their personal insight, so make sure you follow them on their social media accounts and let’s all pave the way towards a fairer, less discriminatory medical profession.

 

Instagram: @Jouney.2.Med

YouTube: Journey2Med

 

  1. Dr Garrud, P., Medical Schools Council, Selecting for Excellence: Help and Hindrance in Widening Participation: Commissioned Research Report, 2014

 

  1. UK Government Web Archive. Webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk. https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/*/http:/www.hefce.ac.uk/. Published 2020.

 

  1. Louie P, Wilkes R. Representations of race and skin tone in medical textbook imagery. Soc Sci Med. 2018;202:38-42. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.02.023

 

 

 

 

 

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