Blog | Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Medical News of the Obvious Part II

Maybe because we spend a lot of time talking to students and residents, the press releases for this week's issue of JAMA, which has a medical education theme, particularly struck us with their obviousness.

First up, "white medical students who attend schools with greater racial and ethnic diversity among the student body are more likely to rate themselves as highly prepared to care for minority populations." That seemed a little obvious, but the really depressing part was how an accompanying editorial concluded that even putting evidence behind a concept so intuitive will have no impact. "However, even with an increasing evidence base, many medical schools are unlikely to prioritize increased URM [underrepresented minority] diversity. For such schools, improvements may come only through changes in leadership or external pressure by community and political forces."

Then we learn that "interns who experience an increase in their on-call workload are more likely to get less sleep while on call, have longer shift durations and participate less in educational activities." We, too, are looking for one of those jobs where more work means more sleep and shorter hours.

And, finally, for anyone still mystified by the primary care shortage, med students explain why they are not going into internal medicine. "Compared with other specialties they had chosen or considered, students perceived IM as requiring more paperwork (68.0% of respondents), requiring a greater breadth of knowledge (62.1%) and having a lower income potential (64.6%)."