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My first (and second) week of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Written by Conrad Hayes · Thursday 7th March 2013

Looking back on this past fortnight, I feel my tutor has been determined to engage me in absolutely everything, and I think it's worked. Whilst not a full blown ob/gyn enthusiast, I have to say I was surprised to admit today that I am enjoying myself.

This leads me on to what this reflection is actually on. The preconceptions we hold about what we do, the people we see and the impact it has on us. What I will write about, I am writing about partly because I have had instances where this has happened recently and I have felt fairly guilty, and partly because I want to know if this happens to everyone else (or if I'm just one insensitive individual!!)

Now this isn't going to be a very long draft of wisdom that will be quoted by people when I'm long gone, mainly because the phrase 'never judge a book by it's cover,' has been around for god knows how long, but I do feel it's surprising the extent to which I had dismissed that saying, which I had only just realised today.

I am fairly certain, that whilst it's not talked about much, most people decide how they're going to speak to other people (keep in mind this is mostly going to be a subconscious process) and act around them when they see them and interact. I am also fairly certain that doctors do this with patients and that this isn't probably innocent and maybe it does impact on the delivery of care.

You see a person with bedraggled hair, poor dental hygiene, clothes that look like they haven't been washed, for example, and all the associations that come with that flood into your brain, whether they are false or accurate. Or an individual with an Omega watch, designer clothing with everything in pristine condition. I am willing to bet those two descriptions conjured completely different images of person in your head. More than just the physical image though, there were different lifestyles and choices in life. And would they get different approaches? Maybe. I'm not sure if we are able to switch off the instant preconceptions, but we have to hide them as whilst they may be accurate, there's an equal chance they may be inaccurate! I can tell it's certainly difficult sometimes, yet people manage in the name of professionalism. I think I'm rambling, so I'll end this piece with this: I just wonder if people can tell what you think about them. In an environment where you have to treat everyone equally and preconceptions must be overcome, can the patients see some reaction in the faces of staff that translates for a split second everything that pops into the mind? There may well be a social study on it somewhere, I may look if I get time and if I find one I shall post it. I'd be interested to hear others experiences or thoughts on this topic too!