What Is It?

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What is mistreatment?

Any instance of discrimination, humiliation, harassment, inappropriate or unethical behaviour experienced or witnessed by a student that negatively impacts their learning environment. Mistreatment is encompassed by the instances that make you feel uncomfortable, and this website is here to help you unpack that discomfort and find solutions.

Still not sure what mistreatment is? Here are some examples:

Example 1:

A group of clinical core students are participating in their second rotation in Neurology. Stuart, one of the pre-clerkship students, is nervous because he felt like the preceptor was disappointed with his level of knowledge after the last core session. Stuart meant to read up more during this past week, but just didn’t get the chance. After seeing a few patients, the preceptor starts to ask the other students with appropriate questions. Unfortunately, when the questions get to Stuart, the preceptor decides to increase the difficulty and asks Stuart a resident level question. When Stuart admits that he doesn’t know the answer the preceptor continues to grill Stuart with increasingly difficult questions. When Stuart repeatedly doesn’t know the answer the preceptor blurts out that some students are just a lost cause.

Example 2:

In a course 3 small group on cardiovascular disease the students are presented with a primary care case that involves a First Nations patient with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. Lauren, one of the students, brings up the point that intergenerational trauma and socioeconomic factors often disadvantages First Nations communities, and that poverty may be contributing to the this patient’s risk profile. The preceptor responds “no, those folks are just lazy, you’ll see what I mean once you start practicing.”

Example 3:

Danusha is a clinical clerk in her orthopedics block. During the past week she has been on the same ward as her fellow clerk Justin. Despite trying to ignore it, she’s noticed that Justin seems to persistently be assigned all of the more complex cases. Meanwhile, she is often left seeing the straight-forward sprains, uncomplicated fractures, and fetching coffee for her preceptor. She has tried to advocate for herself and has mentioned that she is interested in pursuing orthopedic surgery as a career path to both the resident and preceptor. After her last attempt to engage, her preceptor mentioned that obstetrics and gynecology is a really good surgical specialty for a woman.

Example 4:

Erica is a first year medical student taking classes at the Health Sciences Centre. While walking through the hallways, she’s noticed that another student, Brandon, is constantly staring at her. At first she assumes that the staring is harmless and tries to ignore it. The following week, Erica passes by Brandon in the hall when she hears him whisper a demeaning comment  directed at her. To deal with the issue, Erica decides to confront Brandon at On the Go after class. She mentions that he is making her feel uncomfortable and to please stop. Brandon apologizes for his actions, and Erica feels better. The next morning when she gets to school she finds out that Brandon has spread rumours about her “throwing herself at him” to the whole medical class.

Example 5:

Qimin is a clinical clerk on one of her final rotations before the CaRMS deadline. She is in desperate need of one more good letter, and is considering asking her current preceptor to write her one. After much contemplation, she finally musters up the courage and approaches her preceptor. He mentions that he doesn’t have a lot of time, but that he’s happy sign off on whatever Benjamin, the fourth year resident, writes. Qimin is ecstatic and immediately goes to find Benjamin to ask him to write a good letter. She has gotten to know him quite well over the course of the last two weeks, and suspects that he’ll write a great letter to support her application. When she approaches him he puts his arm around her and says he’s happy to do it, but only if she comes over to his apartment later that evening to help him with it over a bottle of wine. Qimin is immediately uncomfortable, and realizes that his friendly demeanor over the course of the last few weeks was likely misinterpreted flirtation.

More Questions?

Talk to our student advocates or learn about our policies in more detail here.