Trend: Medical schools discourage use of demeaning slang

Getting through medical school is a tough indoctrination into a close-knit fraternity, so it's no surprise that people develop their own culture. One aspect of that culture is the adoption of workplace slang. Unfortunately, medical educators say, these are often terms that would offend patients if they knew what the terms meant. Calling a patient a "rock" (who is neither getting better nor worse, but staying 'stuck' in the bed) or referring to patients as "that gallbladder in room 208" is bad enough; suggesting that a dying patient is "circling the drain" may be worse. These terms may serve to vent frustration or simplify the care process, but it also takes the focus off the humanity of patients, says Gregory Makoul, director of Northwestern University School of Medicine's center for communication and medicine. To address these concerns, schools are increasingly discouraging students from adopting jargon that might demean patients, or ideally, any jargon at all.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this Chicago Tribune piece

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Study: Med school pharma limits affect attitudes

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