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BASH: badmouthing, attitudes and stigmatisation in healthcare as experienced by medical students

  • Ali Ajaz (a1), Rhodri David (a1), Damien Brown (a2), Melanie Smuk (a2) and Ania Korszun (a2)...
Abstract
Aims and method

We used an online questionnaire to investigate medical students' perceptions of the apparent hierarchy between specialties, whether they have witnessed disparaging comments (‘badmouthing’ or ‘bashing’) against other specialists and whether this has had an effect on their career choice.

Results

In total, 960 students from 13 medical schools completed the questionnaire; they ranked medical specialties according to the level of badmouthing and answered questions on their experience of specialty bashing. Psychiatry and general practice attracted the greatest number of negative comments, which were made by academic staff, doctors and students. Twenty-seven per cent of students had changed their career choice as a direct result of bashing and a further 25.5% stated they were more likely to change their specialty choice. Although 80.5% of students condemned badmouthing as unprofessional, 71.5% believed that it is a routine part of practising medicine.

Clinical implications

Bashing of psychiatry represents another form of stigmatisation that needs to be challenged in medical schools. It not only has an impact on recruitment into the specialty, but also has the wider effect of stigmatising people with mental health disorders.

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Copyright
This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence to Ania Korszun (a.korszun@qmul.ac.uk)
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 2056-4694
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BASH: badmouthing, attitudes and stigmatisation in healthcare as experienced by medical students

  • Ali Ajaz (a1), Rhodri David (a1), Damien Brown (a2), Melanie Smuk (a2) and Ania Korszun (a2)...
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eLetters

BASH is sadly alive and well

Hugh Douglas Grant-Peterkin, Psychiatrist (ST6), East London NHS Foundation Trust
28 April 2016

This article and the accompanying 'anti-BASH' campaign remain frustratingly necessary. Only the day after I read the article I was sent a photo by a medical student whom I had taught. The photo was of a lecturer's slide, it read 'why surgery?' and beneath were the lines: 'surgeons know nothing and do a lot, physicians know a lot and do nothing, psychiatrists know nothing and do nothing'. This neatly lays out the nonsensical 'hierarchy' the authors refer to, but what was even more concerning was what I felt made the incident move from the 'banter' category to harmful: the response of the students. The student who sent me the image said that many in the lecture theatre laughed and those nearest to him looked at him excitedly for his response (as they knew he was interested in a career in psychiatry). He said he felt embarrassed and singled out. BASH is sadly alive and well. Doctors of all specialties at all levels need to engage in active 'anti-BASHing'. ... More

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