Medical School, Humor, and the Hidden Curriculum

In this article for The Student Doctor Network, TMC alumnus, John Brewer Eberly, Jr., MD, examines the intersection of the hidden curriculum and humor within medical training. Unsettled by pernicious influences of the hidden curriculum, Eberly offers four suggestions for challenging and changing it.

“It has suffered much commentary since, suggesting that habits of un-professionalism are being taught in today’s medical schools despite any formal attention to professionalism. These informal “lessons” not only cast the cold light of “this-is-normal” onto what medical students observe, but also illuminate how they should then act. They make a type of moral universe known and call students to enter it and participate accordingly. Most tragically, they tell medical students who they should expect to become. In that sense, the hidden curriculum does not merely highlight hypocrisy or bemoan cynicism—it suggests the normative way students become doctors.

The prevalence of burnout and moral injury supports this.”

Read the article.