5 Problems with U.S. Medical Schools & Doctor Training

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In an ideal world, the goal of medical education would be to mold students into the best, most competent, and most caring physicians they can be. Curriculums and clinical experiences would be optimized for learning and systems would exist to support students who are struggling. Unfortunately, this is not often the case with medical education in the United States.

It is estimated that nearly half of all medical students suffer from anxiety and nearly a third from depression. Moreover, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 28% of residents experience a major depressive episode during training compared to only 7-8% of similar-aged individuals in the U.S. population. Given these unsettling trends, it is clear that there are deeply-rooted problems within medical education that need to be addressed.

Here are 5 ways that medical education is failing students.

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00:00 – Introduction
01:00 – Culture of Medicine
03:23 – Standardized Tests
04:34 – Research
05:29 – Subjective Evaluations
06:29 – Mistreatment & Discrimination

How USMLE Step 1 Pass/Fail is Changing Medical School:
Affirmative Action & Medical School Admissions | The Uncomfortable Truth:
What They Don’t Tell You About Med School Admissions Consultants:

#medicalschool #residency #premed

Disclaimer: Content of this video is my opinion and does not constitute medical advice. The content and associated links provide general information for general educational purposes only. Use of this information is strictly at your own risk. Kevin Jubbal, M.D. and Med School Insiders LLC will not assume any liability for direct or indirect losses or damages that may result from the use of information contained in this video including but not limited to economic loss, injury, illness or death. May include affiliate links to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases made through them (at no extra cost to you).


Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.

Keywords: Pre-med,Premed,Med Student,Medical School,Med School,Medical Student,problems with becoming a doctor in the us,medical school problems,medical education problems,us medical school,medical school in the united states,overwork,burnout,duty hour violations,residency,med school culture,medical school culture,usmle step exams,usmle step 1,usmle step 2 ck,shelf scores,third year clerkships,clerkship grading,shelf exams,research in med school

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  1. Do you think you could make a video on ‘so you want to be an oncologist’ im still in high school but I’m considering going into that field

  2. Great video, though I feel the topic of affirmative action deserved more nuance. The thing about the racial groups you described is that despite the perceived unfairness, Black people continue to be underrepresented is medicine whereas Asian ones are overrepresented. I fear that by comparing stats of Asians vs Blacks like you did, you might inadvertently pit monorities against each other and perpetuate the stigma that already exists in medicine that Black people are only accepted to med school because of affirmative action, and not based off merit. I think just a minor change like discussing side-by-side Asian vs white stats first could've helped.

  3. Affirmative action isn't a perfect system, and I can absolutely empathize with the frustration that Asian applicants might feel having to work that much harder to be above average to stand out for admissions, since this is many people's dream and passion. However, your take on this issue was in incredibly decontextualized and actually furthers the same exact toxic impostor syndrome-inducing mentality that you yourself point out as an issue in other areas of the video. Rather than celebrating the matriculants who have made the cut despite great difficulties, and who will graduate to become wonderful physicians despite their below-average stats, you are highlghtng the fact that on paper they are less-than. A pretty disappointing segment of the video and a tone-deaf take IMHO.

  4. Sounds like this is done on purpose to disensitize med stidents and wipe the last drops of empathy and caring from them, not to mention the capacity to learn and be critical thinkers too. Reallt sad.

  5. …got some things right…glossed over some things that, in end, make a HUGE difference for "patients"(they matter too, right?). High scores and awkward to detached to condescending bedside-REALLY could give a damn-doctor-patient relationship versus someone who pursues the field because of their DETERMINATION/desire(at least in part) to make a difference and CARING about his/her patients–matters. If becoming a doctor is just a prestigious way to make a living–and you're a HARD working ACHIEVER? GO" into other scientific fields where a patient doesn't have to deal with your lack of empathy/compassion or genuine care(or choose a specialty where regular folks don't have to encounter you)–for ALL who need a "Doc". Hard to measure… but a patient who has experienced stiff-robotic-even clearly condescending/disrespectful high-score over-achievers who got through med school but who should be ANYTHING but folks dealing with "others"? Misery. There are DEFINITELY those who can get through med school who should be anything BUT "Doctors" who deal with others. Their hard-work, high scores "attitude"–OR lack of lifelong interaction with all kinds of "Americans/Others"? Make lousy problems for folks who, unfortunately, have to come to them for their most private, personal, serious needs. High scores and really giving a damn can have NOTHING to do with one another. ESPECIALLY when you have someone who foregoes most of "American" life interactive activities for "high score" pursuit. It DOES matter to patients, finally, who the hell is looking after you in your most vulnerable, most intimate, most basic to LIFE …well-being. An awkward "robotic-deeply disconnected test-passer " can speed a person toward bad outcome faster than the damn disease he/she came into the unfortunate encounter for… The ideal "People Doc" needs to have some–even if small degree–of "cool". Dammit, gotta love the ones who do. The best do… Here's one: Quarterbacks who have absolutely no ability to relate to ANY of their teammates? Suck. AND they don't last. But…they pass the tests per med school?? They could become doctors.

  6. While I empathize with the Asian discrimination claim…. Black students face systemic discrimination in literally every aspect of being American. But there’s no where else we can “return to,” as America is home. I’m not asking anyone to care, but for the record, These average “506 MCAT” so-called ‘black students,’ face government level discrimination From being raised in wage-gapped neighborhoods, to prejudiced legal-justice systems, to unfair school zoning, hate-bating media, physical/mental healthcare discrimination, list goes on about 400+ years. Your “average 506” so-called black students have a ton of shit to unwrap on the daily. Unless “Asians/whites/Indians” plan to be physicians in black neighborhoods, Try to empathize more with the community, and leave us our safe spaces to treat our own…many times, black medical students balance a lot more personal stresses than the average student – like how I do extra to my appearance & voice everyday to appear less “sassy” to colleagues is one of them. I empathize with Asian disadvantage, but from my perspective I believe black people need black doctors….. bc this healthcare system sucks for us. No reason why everyone I know has their pain underrated by medical professionals. If allowed to focus & invested in, our “506” scholars would be as domineering as our athletes/entertainers.

  7. Key reasons why U.S. medical education is broken: 1. Students pay $60,000 a year in tuition yet must pay extra for online superstar lectures. Why the AAMC has not recorded superstar lecturers for all to use is a mystery to me. 2. Because of the volume of material, flashcards (anki) have become critical for learning but lecturers are not providing flashcards to help students learn the material. Again students are forced to go to outside resources. The Step exams are overemphasized yet in house Step preparation is poor or non-existent. Students are forced to pay extra for outside Q banks and review materials. The AAMC provides high quality study materials for the MCAT but not for the Step exams. This makes no sense. The University of Toronto has tried to provide key review materials in the "Toronto notes". With all the resources available to the AAMC it is a mystery to me why they are not providing free review materials and high quality Q banks.

  8. so you enjoy f1? Are you gonna watch spa tomorrow? I can't wait for that race, first it's spa and second, leclerc and max are starting at the back. It should be a banger assuming both get off the line cleanly

  9. I agree with many of the concepts of this video- medical school is certainly challenging, and as someone on the cusp of residency applications I'm probably the most stressed/anxious I've ever been in my life, all due to the way the system is designed. However, rather than just presenting 'problems' with U.S. medical schools, why not present some solutions? Airing of grievances has its benefits, but in my opinion it would be more constructive to suggest legitimate and feasible changes to improve the medical system in the U.S.

  10. Man, if I was to describe medical education to a person not in medicine, I would probably be perceived as crazy! 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  11. This phenomenon of Asian students being “discriminated against” is resting on a fallacy — that GPA’s and MCAT scores are the most important factor in determining who will become the best physician. That simply is not true, as an earlier segment in this very video pointed out. What those numbers really do is indicate who is more likely to pass the standardized USMLE later on. Actually, I found a peer-reviewed journal paper (let’s hear it for research!) at the NIH that showed that while this correlation is GENERALLY true, it is not always true. There was one significant outlier — Mizzou (The University of Missouri, Columbia). They will consider MCAT scores as slow as 494, and GPA’s as low as 3.25 I think. And yet, Mizzou’s medical students consistently scored HIGHER on the USMLE part i than many more “selective” schools requiring premium grades and scores. What made the difference? The authors of the paper concluded it was that Mizzou introduced “problem-based learning” and patient encounters beginning in the first year of medical training, instead of waiting until the third year. Again, the whole foundation of the “Asians are being discriminated against by affirmative action” argument rests on the assumption that GPA and MCAT scores are the true measure of fitness to become a physician. I stay, quadruple the number of students who are allowed into our nation’s medical schools without these phony measures to “screen out” the unqualified. Instead of screening out the unqualified at the MCAT stage, let people earn their degrees and then screen out the unqualified at the USMLE (i and ii) stage. Do you realize that a “passing” scores on the USMLE is 60%? We wouldn’t have an acute shortage of medical doctors if the medical schools would take more students. Even if a student cannot match into a residency, they’ll still be licensed to practice medicine by their states and be able to serve as GP’s and treat common illnesses and do minor, in-office surgical procedures that do not need to be performed in an hospital setting. And an MD who does not become licensed can still do research, or work in Public Health. Look at lawyers! This nation’s law schools graduate way more lawyers than the market can even absorb. Technically, some states (like California) do not even require lawyers to go to law school. If you can pass the state bar exam, you can be licensed to practice (and California’s bar exam is notorious for being one of the toughest in the country). And once you graduate, you don’t HAVE to go work for a big corporate defense firm. You can hang out your shingle and open your own practice. Or, go into public service or run for the state legislature. There are lots of uses for a law degree besides being a lawyer. Likewise with medicine. You don’t have to be a resident to practice medicine, just to practice in an hospital setting. You don’t have to even be a clinical physician. You can be a researcher. Or teach science at a middle school or high school. A medical degree is not going to be wasted. In addition, having more people educated to be doctors, even if they do not practice, has the long range benefit of increasing the level of “health literacy” in society, because educated people influence those around them by directing their family and friends to sources of credible, evidence-based information and best practices. What being so “selective” about who they admit REALLY does is enhance the prestige of the medical school. They get bragging rights to the fact that they only accept the best of the best, the crème de la crème of the nations’ medical school candidates, so if you get accepted there, you’re one of The Chosen, the Few. The truth is, that lowering or abolishing these phony admissions standards will not affect the quality of our nation’s health care physicians. The incompetent will still be screened out by the licensure exams. But lowering or abolishing admissions standards WILL lower the prestige and brag value of the institutions. Going to UCLA or USC will not necessarily make you a better physician than going to SJSM or AUC. It will give you entree into that rarified club of “country club elites.” The question to ask is, why are you going into medicine? To be rich? Then go into real estate. To be famous? Become an instagram influencer. To make this world a better place? Great! Welcome to life in the trenches — be prepared to get your hands and your boots dirty. Lastly, students push what they have to offer in their medical school applications. If all people have to offer is their test scores, that’s what they push. And a great many people have convinced the rest of society that test scores determine who is the “Best” person to be a doctor. But as this video points out, things like compassion, empathy, patience, commitment to service, matter a whole lot more than test scores. As one character in “Patch Adams” says, “I know everything there is to know about medicine. But I can’t make Mrs. Kennedy eat.” You want to make sure we only field the best, most qualified candidates to be medical doctors? Make it a low-wage hourly job — on par with the janitor who keeps the hospital clean. You’d be shocked at how quickly the rats abandon the ship for more lucrative professions. No one will be screaming about discrimination and the dark side of affirmative action then. Instead of hopeful candidates banging on the door to get in, you’ll have disillusioned wannabe billionaires screaming to get out.

  12. Actually, training medical students to do research is not a waste of time. Physicians should be encouraged to develop the lifelong habit of critically analyzing and researching knowledge in order to stay current with their profession. Their patients will be combing Wikipedia and Facebook and various dubious “doctor” sites for information. Not only should a wise physician know what the quacks are pushing, but know how to counteract that with fact- and evidence-based credible information. The aura of that “M.D.” does not make you a god, a prophet, a seer, or as infallible as the Pope. An M.D. is still just a person — a person who needs to stay informed and not be led astray himself/herself by “fads” in medicine. Peoples’ Exhibit A: Dr. Oz. The man is an unethical quack. But because he’s still a licensed medical doctor, people don’t question his statements, treatments, or medical opinions. He may have the imprimatur of Oprah!, but he’s still a fallible human being. His real failing is he took the poisoned chalice and began to believe his own propaganda. So, the prudent physician will not fall into the trap of assuming invincibility, omniscience, and omnipotence. They still have to wipe their own butts when they poop. They still have to put their pants on one leg at a time. They really don’t walk on water when no one is looking. They’ve just been trained to see the rocks.

  13. Investing in crypto now should be in every wise individuals list, in some months time you'll be ecstatic with the decision you made today.

  14. Come to Romania. U will realise u're doing ok. Just the prices in US are extremly high.
    Want depression in medical school? Say hi to Romania. 👏🥲🔫

  15. Discrimination against minorities has been integral to US medicine for centuries, and got worse in the 20th century. The Flexner Report of about 1910 led to the closure of many sub-standard medical schools: disproportionately those for women and blacks.

    That came just before the move to throw Jews out of the professions and universities across central Europe, which was picked up by the United States before the Nazis took power. The Ivy League colleges, and almost all medical schools, imposed strict quotas on Jewish students, which led to many Jewish Americans going to Europe to study. Princeton was among the harshest, with a Jewish quota of 4%. One Ivy League Dean told his admission team to accept no more than 10% Jews, two or three Italian Catholics, and no Blacks at all.

    The General Medical Council in the UK tried to stem the tide, and the principal of Glasgow University spoke of "undesirable aliens." The greatest number of US students in the UK went to the non-university medical schools (which no longer exist) in Edinburgh and Glasgow. They graduated with licentiate diplomas before returning to the US. Among them were the Sackler brothers. Very few many remained there. The Jewish quotas persisted for many years after the war.

    Black American students usually could not afford to study abroad. The same exclusion applied to other fields. The first black Catholic priest in the US could not obtain admission to any seminary in the US, and had to study for ordination in Rome.

  16. I love what you brought up about affirmative action. Race should not be a factor in admissions. This system is racist towards Asians while pandering to Blacks

  17. The whole poor quality research just to pad cv is very true. Its has no impact on the overall field or microscopic impact

  18. This is a serious be design flaw. Putting medical students through a psychologically unhealthy process that includes sleep deprivation overwork and exteme competitiveness is a very bad idea. Rigor does not mean torture.

    The financial cost is also a problem which had pretty serious knock-on effects on healthcare costs. It's almost as if the system is set up to lock students into a long term commitment to the career, even if they decide at some point along the way that it might not be for them.

    True nursing career and education ladder is not a perfect model either, but it has the advantage of providing opportunities to "step up" and "step off" the ladder. Many nurses get a two year degree, wirk fit a few years, go back and get a higher degree, get more experience send discover what they love, return to get more qualifications and so on. Why shouldn't medical education be more like this model?

  19. This video leans somewhat to saying, "Sign up for our coaching, or you'll regret it."

    There's a not-so-fine line between a difficult, or "rigorous" course of education or training and one that's just abusive. That used to be common in "elite" schools all over the world, where the seniors and instructors enjoyed the privilege of being child abusers, and the graduates went away with the misunderstanding that being abused had been good for them, and it was now their privilege too.

    Hasn't educational research shown that sleep-deprivation gets in the way of learning as well as performance, as does high stress?

    Back during World War II, it was common for pilots and radar operators to be given amphetamines to stay awake. That led to the post-war boom in stimulant abuse, but we eventually learned that those drugs actually impair performance, and they were outlawed.

    Yet it appears that drugs for ADHD and even narcolepsy are commonly taken by today's students hoping to gain an "edge" over each other. Maybe The Academy needs to stamp as hard on that as hard as it has taken to doing on plagiarism.

    Not just the academy, but business and finance too: it could be that our recent stock market and banking crashes have been due to "narco-economics."

    Meanwhile, what are the military doing? Special forces seem to be much fitter than normal men and women, but compared to the pre-war period very few serving soldiers take part in Olympic level sports. That suggests to me that they are in fact taking performance-enhancing drugs during their service, whatever the long-term effects are going to be. No doubt those effects remain "classified," not least to prevent second thoughts among the recipients.

  20. i realized all this along time ago. this is why I switched to computer science. now I am in the application process for software engineer at Google.

  21. It needs to not be abusive. I did 4 year medical school in Europe. They have laws regarding student work hours. I then did rotations in the USA and was shocked that students have to do 24 hour shifts. Just students. Not residents, and unpaid. There is no increase in learning doing 24 hour shifts. They are just used as free Labour by the hospital

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