On the Wards Well-being & Self Care


This was written by Amy Wilson three years ago. We will be publishing more on this type of ‘teaching’ method, but in the meantime it is worth re-reading Amy’s original article.


The BMJ published a quantitative study reviewing medical student teaching experiences. Thankfully there were many examples of positive role models and effective and approachable teachers providing guidance and support. Alarmingly, there were also reports of teaching by humiliation and a hierarchical and competitive atmosphere, particularly during clinical training years.

No one likes to feel humiliated, and it’s disappointing to see this still existing in contemporary medical education. Importantly, evidence has shown these teaching styles have significant impact on students’ and junior doctors learning and mental health.



 Teaching juniors and sharing knowledge in a safe, welcoming environment whereby any question can be asked is vital. This ensures all those ‘silly’ questions can be asked, which provides improves patient safety.  After all, they are always what everyone is wanting to ask.

It is important that junior doctors including those in training positions promote good teaching styles, and NEVER teach by humiliation or by belittlement. If the next generation of consultants can stop this from happening, then the next generation of juniors will not have to experience it. Here is a link to an MJA article about this.

As junior doctors, it can be difficult to know how to respond if faced by this situation or if this is happening to another junior in your team. Your supervising consultants should be made aware if this is happening, as perhaps extra training and guidance is needed to be given to that particular individual. Should you not feel comfortable approaching your consultant then the medical education department can raise concerns on your behalf.



Significant efforts are underway by the Royal College of Surgeons, where humiliation, bullying or sexual harassment were found to affect up to 50% of trainees. Its great to see some of the RACS changes including promoting more women in senior positions, improved compulsory education programs and better complaint management. Six out of the eight positions on the RACS Council are now women, as voted by the Fellowship group. Ignoring these issues will not make them disappear.

Junior doctors are highlighted as the most likely to be victims of bulling, humiliation or belittlement, and as training is likely to be prolonged due to higher competition for jobs, this period will be longer. There has been a ZERO TOLERANCE policy to this, and this has been reiterated by a number of colleges.

Should you have any concerns regards this please come and see the medical education unit. For further information click on the links above.

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