In a rare but highly consequential faux pas, third-year medical student Kevin Garlander gave his actual opinion when asked about the quality of his med school rotation.
“I thought that’s what they wanted,” explained a tearful Kevin. “The course director set up a meeting on my last day of the rotation specifically to talk about how things went. She asked me what I thought of the rotation and how they could improve it. I thought she wanted real feedback, so I gave it. If only I had known.”
As it turns out, rotation director Dr. Savannah Smith wanted no such feedback, and was appalled by the criticism she heard.
“You should have heard this med student,” recalls a still-infuriated Dr. Smith. “He shows up guns blazing, with what was basically a list of demands. He wants ‘more direction’ because he was ‘confused’ about his role on the team. Then he starts asking for us to ‘acknowledge’ his ‘existence.’ I mean, know your place kid.”
As it turns out, Dr. Smith has never really cared about what the medical students think of the rotation, and mainly uses the meeting to escape clinic time for an hour each block.
“Usually I take off from clinic and go grab coffee for fifteen minutes,” she explains. “Then I sit down with the students for another fifteen minutes and play with my phone while they praise the rotation I’ve put together. Then I just roll the last thirty minutes into an extended lunch. It’s a sweet deal, until someone ruins your day with unfounded criticism. I mean, don’t they know we control their grades?”
Indeed, Dr. Smith exercised that control on Wednesday when Kevin was notified by the Office of Student Affairs that he had failed the rotation – a first in school history. Kevin admits he’s learned a valuable lesson, but is saddened by the fact that he may have to remain in school longer to make up the failed course.
“I guess one mistake can really cost you here,” says a forlorn Kevin. “It was a tough lesson to learn, but I now know never to give real feedback. ”