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Med Student Says She Was Penalized Over The Dress She Wore To An Exam

For anyone who's been through any kind of schooling, the statement 'testing is stressful' is often relatable. This applies even more to those in high-intensity programs like those in the medical field.

Unfortunately, during that testing, some students are subjected to even stricter scrutiny for no other reason than the examiner's own biases. This is seen with the case of @thegradmedic, who was penalized for her choice of dress.

In June of this year, a disheartening tweet made some rounds on social media.

The tweet came from @MedicGrandpa, named Ciarán, and showed an example of some terrible practices within the medical education system.

Ciarán tweeted on behalf of a friend with whom he did his OSCE tests, which involve a roleplaying patient, who got 'yellow-carded' for wearing the dress pictured above. It was claimed by the examiner to be a 'short dress' and inappropriate for the setting.

"[...] could someone explain to me how it’s 2021 & medical schools are still pushing sexist notions of primness upon its female student cohort, for daring to display their ankles," he wrote.

Now, in September, the student who wore the dress is speaking up.

Pexels | Sora Shimazaki

The student, user @thegradmedic on Twitter, quote tweeted the original post made by Ciarán and added an update.

"Update: I complained to the university, their response was ‘it was the most inappropriate dress they had ever seen’ and then stated that the [examiner's] word is final and the investigation is closed [...] isn’t discrimination lovely."

What took her so long to reveal herself as the affected student? Ciarán explains this.

Unsplash | John-Mark Smith

In a conversation he had with the Daily Dot, Ciarán claims that, “the medschool had told [@TheGradMedic] that to voice these issues on social media would be a potential contravention of GMC guidance.”

The GMC is Grand Medical Council, who has social media guidelines regarding students' perceived professionalism. It seems that @thegradmedic has simply had enough after all this time.

The day after her update tweet, her school responded.

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Newcastle University took to their own Twitter account to apologize. "We want to apologise once again to @thegradmedic for any offence or distress caused by this incident. The comment was made by a role-play patient as part of an exam. All comments made by patients in exams are passed on to students as feedback. [...]

"However, we agree it should not have resulted in a yellow card from the examiner. This is why, when the concerns were raised with us by @thegradmedic earlier this year, they were investigated and the yellow card was rescinded."

She wasn't having it though, immediately pointing out inaccuracies in the school's statements.

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"This is infactual information. It came apparently from the patient and examiner alike - I asked for verification that it came from the patient and received none - the investigation started with ‘we asked the clinician’ and ended with that," she said in a reply to the University's first tweet.

In a post of her own, she wrote, "Word for word; ‘student had short dress with no leg coverings - roleplayer commented immediately station said looked unprofessional and I agree’. Belittling the situation and the fact that no action has been taken with the examiner, is not an apology."

She did receive an influx of support, for which she was grateful.

Unsplash | National Cancer Institute

"I am making my way through all the responses, thank you so very much for your support. I was keeping quiet until I could have further discussion with the University, but have been further disappointed that incorrect details have been published by themselves," she wrote in a short thread.

"[...] I’ve gone down most the avenues I can go down, hence resorting to Twitter. I’m in contact with the [British Medical Association], and working my way through the very kind offers in the thread."

She says that's where her escalation will end, though.

Pexels | Karolina Grabowska

"I never thought I would unironically say this - but I won’t be commenting to the press," she begins in another update about the ordeal. "I’ve worked very hard to get where I am, I don’t want to [jeopardize] it. [...]

"That said, I hope I’ve raised it in a way that is both appropriate but will invoke awareness/change. I hope it leads to wider questions being asked [regarding] discrimination, policies, but also the freedom (or lack of) for students/doctors to discuss issues without fear of repercussions."

h/t: Daily Dot