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throwaway1

Group work in medical school

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I need to vent, hence the throwaway account. I know that my experiences is the account of one person in one class in one school, but for the vast majority (actually all now that I think about it) of group work in preclerkship, roughly half the group does not pull their weight. When it does not concern them individually or if the project cannot be listed on their CV, people don't seem to care. Some people tell lies on top of lies to cover for themselves, and they turn around to other people and make a joke out of it as if they are so good at avoiding work. I understand that not all projects are created equal and some are a pure drag, but I think having a professional work ethic and responsibility towards your group is essential to being functional physicians your future patients expect you to be. I can see how things can work out when there is only one bad apple in the group, but more often than not, the people who don't pull their weight outnumber the people who put in their work. We all have the same school schedules, and I know when we have tests and exams, because I have the same ones. Trying to be empathetic only goes so far the first few times before you realize that this happens in virtually every group in substantial numbers. 

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All I can say is divide up the work evenly as best you can early on and do what you need to get your part done. If someone is doesn't complete their assigned part usually asking them nicely works out well enough.

These assignments generally don't have any bearing on your future. If you get your part done and your group passes that's good enough. I wish it weren't this way but schools have to pump out these useless assignments for the sake of accreditation.

 

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Honestly, it is because most group work in medical school is extremely pointless. just small meaningless tasks that aren't marked or going to change whether or not you pass for their accreditation. From the student perspective it can seem like a waste of time compared to actually studying and doing activities that help with wellness 

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9 hours ago, MarsRover said:

Honestly, it is because most group work in medical school is extremely pointless. just small meaningless tasks that aren't marked or going to change whether or not you pass for their accreditation. From the student perspective it can seem like a waste of time compared to actually studying and doing activities that help with wellness 

This is exactly what it feels like to me. Just dividing and conquering questions, and then dependent on your tutor, you can walk out feeling like you learned something or just regurgitated an answer you found on google.

I'd rather have one big class with an expert tutor to limit the variability between tutors.

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Just want to clarify that I wasn't referring to PBL/CBL (but yes that happens all the time too). This is a project that is meant to be long termish. 

I'm not asking people to be enthusiastic. I get that it is busywork, but passing requires the completion of the project. Asking to divide it went nowhere because people choose to not respond, and you can't be blamed for not doing the work you haven't claimed. 

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18 hours ago, MarsRover said:

Honestly, it is because most group work in medical school is extremely pointless. just small meaningless tasks that aren't marked or going to change whether or not you pass for their accreditation. From the student perspective it can seem like a waste of time compared to actually studying and doing activities that help with wellness 

This nails it, IMO.

The group work is pointless compared to studying.  Therefore it really isn't worth doing--the main negative you get from being lazy in the group work is often "some people in your group who do more think youre lazy." Unfortunately med students are generally smart people adept at outwitting whatever "game" theyre playing, so because its more logical from a future perspective to blow off the pointless work and study, this is what they tend to do.

 

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On 12/5/2017 at 10:45 PM, goleafsgochris said:

This nails it, IMO.

The group work is pointless compared to studying.  Therefore it really isn't worth doing--the main negative you get from being lazy in the group work is often "some people in your group who do more think youre lazy." Unfortunately med students are generally smart people adept at outwitting whatever "game" theyre playing, so because its more logical from a future perspective to blow off the pointless work and study, this is what they tend to do.

 

Would rather study or shadow. I feel like I learn more during my shadowing experiences than my CBL sessions. Not sure if its merely coincidence but the few shadowing experiences I have had, I have had to apply key concepts that was learnt in lecture. Ex. 4 common causes of positive anion gap, different drugs and their MOA, opportunistic infections. List goes on but I retain a lot more from studying/applying knowledge during shadowing experiences than CBL.

Although I dont mind meeting the wide variety of tutors in CBL, some of them are just hilarious and tell funny stories, even if I dont learn much medical knowledge.

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Here is my thing with this.  Sure, some group work is kinda pointless.  However, SOMEBODY has to do it due to accreditation or bureaucracy or whatever else you want to call it.  It's not going anywhere.  So when half the group decides they're going to blow it off because they don't think it's personally useful, a bunch of other people get left holding the bag and have to waste even more of their time on useless stuff than they would if everybody just divided the uselessness up and got it done.  And that's not fair or collegial.  Every single person has things they'd rather be doing and things that would be more useful for them to be doing.

So I actually don't think it's okay for people to just blow off curriculum requirements because they don't personally see the value in doing it.  Same with residency except it's worse in residency, because in residency you actually get paid to do this stuff, so you're also basically skipping out on your paid job when you decide to blow it off.

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3 hours ago, ellorie said:

Here is my thing with this.  Sure, some group work is kinda pointless.  However, SOMEBODY has to do it due to accreditation or bureaucracy or whatever else you want to call it.  It's not going anywhere.  So when half the group decides they're going to blow it off because they don't think it's personally useful, a bunch of other people get left holding the bag and have to waste even more of their time on useless stuff than they would if everybody just divided the uselessness up and got it done.  And that's not fair or collegial.  Every single person has things they'd rather be doing and things that would be more useful for them to be doing.

So I actually don't think it's okay for people to just blow off curriculum requirements because they don't personally see the value in doing it.  Same with residency except it's worse in residency, because in residency you actually get paid to do this stuff, so you're also basically skipping out on your paid job when you decide to blow it off.

I don't think I had many similar experiences in residency though.  I think maybe 2 times in 5 years on a rotation I was asked to do a group presentation? Definitely not constant like it was in med school.  That being said I take your point, it isn't fair/collegial to blow it off, its just "logical." 

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It is a fact of life that you will work with people who are not as equally prepared, or equally motivated, as you are. Everyone has different priorities, so group projects (especially ones that aren't immediately due) often take a back seat to other demands. I was not a fan of group work in medical school either. It wasn't unpleasant, just tedious. That being said, keep in mind that some of these people could be your colleagues in the future, so it's in your best interests to keep things cordial. Establish responsibilities and a de facto group leader early on, then politely ask for progress updates as time goes by. That's all you can do. In most cases, the job gets done. It might be a poor /noticeably shitty job, but your expectations should be somewhat low anyways if you realize that's the kind of group you're in.

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