Things they didn’t teach in medical school: Part 19 Saying No

One of the things that isn’t taught in medical school is how often one needs to say ‘no’ and how to go about doing it.

There are different types of ‘no’.

There is ‘no you are wrong’, ‘no, that is inappropriate treatment’, ‘no you don’t understand what you’ve read on the internet’ and ‘no, I can’t do that because it is unethical (or illegal)’….to name a few.

Almost always saying ‘no’ is telling somebody just the thing that they don’t want to hear or aren’t prepared to hear. The trick to saying ‘no’ is avoiding that person going to another doctor who will tell them what they want to hear. More often that not that doctor will not have worked out how to deal with the difficult situations created by needing to say ‘no’.

Medical schools can help future doctors by teaching them to identify these situations and teaching them how to say ‘no’.

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