Elitist Medicine

Elective: Hey, can I borrow your stethoscope?

Me: Sure, no problem. Oh! Do you want the Pinard’s to listen to the foetal heart as well?

Elective: -pause- What is that? I don’t know how to use that. I’m first world, I only use Dopplers.


This is how a Pinard stethoscope is used.

There’s currently an elective student from the UK on my team for a couple of weeks. The above exchange of words took place in antenatal clinic. Naturally, I was quite taken aback. I haven’t met a visiting elective student who was so critical of the way we practice. This was the most direct elitist-type bit of conversation we’ve had but we’ve had a number of conversations in which his tone of responses imply his way of thinking.

I’ve met quite a few elective students and most have been friendly and open-minded to the way we do things here, rather than critical. I’ve even been told that our examinations are more detailed than what some of them have learnt and they’ve thought it so interesting. It was only until I was first told this that I became aware that the same clinical teaching doesn’t happen everywhere. I suppose, as a developing country, we’re trained not to be dependent on technology and to rely on our clinical skills. (Something we’ve been told before.)

I’m not sure what this particular student was expecting when he came. Clearly, we haven’t met his very high standards. Considering, the differences in resource abundance and availability, our focuses may be somewhat different from what is done in a larger, more resourceful, developed country. Still, I’m stunned speechless almost every time we speak.


5 thoughts on “Elitist Medicine

  1. Janine Morris says:

    Wow!! That’s all I can say Amy. I can’t believe it. Like you said the elective students are always open minded about the way we practice here. *shakes head in disbelief*


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