Should Medical Students be called "Student Doctor"?
As I have noted on previous postings on this blog, there has been a change in recent years in how patients relate to the medical profession and vice versa. Along with the rise of consumerism, society has shown that it wants to deminish paternalistic behavior by physicians and assure informed consent on the part of the patients. Therefore the current ethical consensus is that there should be a clear understanding between patient and physician regarding all that is transpiring in medical care. This also means that any words or behavior on the part of the caregiver which may lead to deception is not right and may defeat attempts at informed consent.
Medical students have long been identified by the words "student doctor" or "student physician". Medical students, of course, have neither obtained as yet their M.D. degree nor have the legal responsibility of a physician. In keeping with the societal consensus described above, there is some concern whether using these words by medical students in identifying themselves either orally or on their name tag or by others identifying these students may itself be deceptive. The issue here is whether patients or families would misinterpret the qualifications and responsibilities of the student by these descriptions. Would you agree that these words may be deceptive and that medical students should only be identified by the words "medical student"?
My own opinion is that that "student doctor" or "student physician", as examples of student titles, are deceptive and only "medical student" should be used. I have posed this question to visitors to my "Bioethics Discussion Pages" website and I have received a number of responses. If you would like to read them, click here. ..Maurice.