The 4 Professors You’ll Have in Med School…In Pictures

Professors are…interesting. They are (or should be) ultimately there to convey the necessary information but sometimes their own agenda gets in the way! Have you encountered these professors? Leave a comment and tell us about your favorite/favorite-to-immitate professor!

1. The one who seems to have forgotten the competitive process of getting into medical school.



2. The one who seems to forget the confines of human memory.




3. The one who can’t differentiate between “What you need to know for Step I” and “What you need to know when you’re a practicing physician.”



4. The one who seems to be lost.


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The Health Scout, "Almost" MD

Dalya Ferguson (The Health Scout) is a PGY2 General Surgery resident at the University of Texas at Houston who is passionate about improving medical education, healthcare quality, and health literacy. Before medical school, she earned a BA in Literary Studies with a minor in Philosophy and worked at a healthcare consulting company for over 2 years. When she's not working, she is usually spending time with her husband and family, studying, reading, drawing cartoons, or tweeting.


  1. William Ray

    You forgot the one who thinks things that are clinically relevant, really aren’t, because they fundamentally don’t understand how the brain acquires knowledge, or how the groundwork for expanding knowledge and practice beyond today’s status-quo, involves developing learning habits that are best exercised with subjects that are less concrete and application driven.

    • Jd LaBash

      Rather like teaching how to multiply (by rote memorization of multiplication tables) but not when to multiply. There is a bias towards things that can be easily evaluated objectively, confusing the model or evaluation with the reality it is supposed to represent.

  2. Jennifer Nguyen

    Love this. 🙂

  3. Jd LaBash

    Yup. The anatomy instructor who says “everything is important.” comes to mind. Of course, we all suffer the burden of a system that thinks teaching 10 times as much as you need to know will result in you remembering the right 10% of what was taught.

    • William Ray

      That’s actually a rather sticky subject.

      Medical, and many other specialty curricula have historically been taught using the “overteach” paradigm you’ve pointed out. We know this “works”, at the level that we produce reasonably competent surgeons and engineers. Regardless of whether the extraneous information is useful, history suggests that students who can survive that curriculum are “the kind of doctors we want”.

      While zapping the extraneous content seems, on the surface, to be a good idea, we don’t really know whether the result would be better, or worse doctors coming out the end of the system. Would the focus on just relevant information make the product better, or would it let students who fundamentally aren’t as competent, survive the courses and go on to practice medicine?

      • Jd LaBash

        From the medical school application process we can see that there are far more qualified candidates than there are available positions for physicians (in society, not just in Medical schools.)

        There does not seem to be any real evidence that the ability to jump through hoops (my pet rabbit can do that) and cram and forget details selects for “the kind of doctors we want.” I would suspect just the opposite.

        I do not advocate excluding the teaching of fundamental principals basic sciences in favor of “practical” knowledge. Rather, there is too much emphasis on minutia of “practical” knowledge, such as being able to identify a bone in a bag, identify which carbon atom from glucose becomes which atom in cholesterol, and knowing exact numbers for prevalence and incidence of diseases.

    • Jd LaBash

      It is an interesting point to ponder, whether overteaching is a valuable selection process. I suspect the answer is “no.” From my observations working as a locum tenens doctor, I have little confidence that the system works.. One could argue that the current system is adequate to the task of preparing physicians for their common role only to see patients, in large numbers, with treating patients a minimal consideration. But grasp of pathophysiology and understanding the mechanism of action of treatment options are often replaced with an “if this, do that” approach, often following obsolete or discredited algorithms.

      Beyond this empiric observation, there is a likely mechanism: overteaching encourages a “cram and forget” and “memorize without understanding” approach that does not prepare physicians to assess and treat patients. Rabbits can learn to jump through hoops, but it does not make them capable clinicians. The proposed need to select for intellectual stamina is probably more than accomplished through the rigors of pre-medical training and the application process. As can be seen with American FMGs, many people who are capable of becoming competent physicians cannot get through the screening for admission to American medical schools.

      A possible way of avoiding a reduction of rigorous selection while eliminating overteaching might be the approach used in my medical school’s emergency medicine course. A passing grade was 90%.


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