Promoting Poorly-Equipped Medical Students

An interesting commentary (SA Santen et al. NEJM 2019; 381: 2287-9): “Kicking the Can Down the Road –When Medical Schools Fail to Self-Regulate”

Key points:

  • Medical schools have only a ~3% attrition rate
  • Some students, perhaps 1 or 2 per class, matriculate even though the dean(s) “would not allow [them] to care for their family” due to either academic limitations or unprofessional behavior
  • The authors note that there is a low likelihood of legal liability of dismissal as long as there is adequate documentation and as long as schools do not deviate from due-process

My take: This concern of advancing the medical careers of problematic individuals is limited to a small number.  However, it is NOT limited to medical school but applies as well to residency & fellowship programs.  In addition, of course, promoting suboptimal individuals is not limited to the field of medicine.

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