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Talk about asymmetry…

Blogging and reading have been somewhat down as of late as I gear up the last-minute preparations for the move to Region Near A Lake (home to Sorta Urban Med School).  While I was hoping that this would be a pleasant change from being frustrated by the statist direction in which US health policy (and policy more generally) is moving, in practice it’s meant trading one set of frustrations for another.

Here’s what I mean:

As I’ve discussed earlier, SUMS expects me to behave “professionally,” while offering a sufficiently wide range of sample “unprofessional” behaviours as to eviscerate the concept’s informational value.  We are, however, informed that “professionalism incidents” may be kept on file to be disclosed to residencies when the time comes to apply to them.

One of the specific examples given is unexcused absence or lateness to class or clerkship.  Now, I’m no fan of tardiness.  When others are late without having given prior notification, I tend to get very, very annoyed.  I was “that person” who showed up to class a good 5-10 minutes early when I was an undergrad.

I don’t expect SUMS to inform residencies about every time every student was 30 seconds or 5 minutes late “that one time,” though the vagueness of their entire policy regime screams “trust us… you’ll see” a bit more loudly than I’d like.  Surely, though, they’re correct that showing up on time and meeting deadlines is part of what it means to behave “professionally.”

Of the five or so departments that I have to deal with prior to arrival, two of them have been nothing but consistent… in failing to meet their own deadlines for conveying information to students, in failing to inform students when to actually expect the information when the original deadline is long past, in failing to keep their online information up to date, and in failing to get their information straight.  Some of this involves high stakes and real costs on students’ part… for instance, if a housing assignment or paperwork submission has been flubbed, it’s best to know before registration starts, right?

Standards of professionalism should apply to the school and the student.  At the very least, students should be able to count on their university to adhere to its own rules and deadlines in its dealings with them.  This is almost at the point where I find myself half-wishing that the LCME (or some similar body) sought school “professionalism” evaluations from students the same way residencies will one day seek mine from SUMS.

If only.

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