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Orienting to Medicine: Scripting Professionalism, Hierarchy, and Social Difference at the Start of Medical School
Culture, Medicine And Psychiatry
Short Title: Culture, Medicine And PsychiatryOrienting to Medicine
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2018
Pages: 654 - 683
Sources ID: 97436
Visibility: Public (group default)
Abstract: (Show)
Nascent medical students' first view into medical school orients them toward what is considered important in medicine. Based on ethnography conducted over 18 months at a New England medical school, this article explores themes which emerged during a first-year student orientation and examines how these scripts resurface across a four-year curriculum, revealing dynamics of enculturation into an institution and the broader profession. We analyze orientation activities as discursive and embodied fields which serve "practical" purposes of making new social geographies familiar, but which also frame institutional values surrounding "soft" aspects of medicine: professionalism; dynamics of hierarchy and vulnerability; and social difference. By examining orientation and connecting these insights to later, discerning educational moments, we argue that orientation reveals tensions between the overt and hidden curricula within medical education, including what being a good doctor means. Our findings are based on data from semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and participant-observation in didactic and clinical settings. This article answers calls within medical anthropology and medical education literature to recognize implicit values at play in producing physicians, unearthing ethnographically how these values are learned longitudinally via persisting gaps between formal and hidden curricula. Assumptions hidden in plain sight call for ongoing medical education reform.;