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Soc Sci Med. 2014 Oct;119:98-105. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.08.017. Epub 2014 Aug 19.

What must I do to succeed?: narratives from the US premedical experience.

Author information

1
University of Michigan, Department of Sociology, Literature Sciences and the Arts Bldg., Rm #3001, 500 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382, USA. Electronic address: linkathy@umich.edu.
2
University of Michigan, Department of Sociology, Literature Sciences and the Arts Bldg., Rm #3001, 500 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382, USA.
3
University of Pittsburgh, Katz Graduate School of Business, 312 Mervis Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15620, USA.
4
Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, University of Michigan, North Campus Research Complex, 2800 Plymouth Road, Bldg. 16, Rm. 430W, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800, USA.
5
University of Michigan, Department of Sociology, Literature Sciences and the Arts Bldg., Rm #3001, 500 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382, USA; Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, University of Michigan, North Campus Research Complex, 2800 Plymouth Road, Bldg. 16, Rm. 430W, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800, USA; University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Learning Health Sciences, 209 Victor Vaughan Building, SPC 2054, 1111 E. Catherine St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2054, USA; University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, North Campus Research Complex, 2800 Plymouth Road, Bldg. 16, Rm. 430W, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800, USA; Maastricht University/CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Postbus 1256, 6201 BG Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

How does a lay person become a doctor? How is a physician made? These questions have been central to work of medical sociologists for well over a half-century. Despite this abiding focus on socialization, nearly all of the literature on this process in the US is informed by studies of the medical school and residency years, with almost no empirical attention paid to the premedical years. Our study addresses this gap in knowledge. To better understand the premedical years we conducted 49 in-depth interviews with premedical students at a selective, public Midwestern university. We found that students understand and explain decisions made during the premedical years with narratives that emphasize the qualities of achievement-orientation, perseverance, and individualism. We also find that these qualities are also emphasized in narratives employed to account for the choice to collaborate with, or compete against, premedical peers. Examination of premedical narratives, and the qualities they emphasize, enriches our understanding of how premedical education shapes a physician's moral development, and underscores the need to include the premedical years in our accounts of "becoming a doctor."

KEYWORDS:

Hidden curriculum; Medical socialization; Moral education; Premedical education; Professionalization; Qualitative; US

PMID:
25163642
PMCID:
PMC4252792
DOI:
10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.08.017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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