A medical student was taking a patient history. While doing so, the patient addressed the student as 'Dr' and it became apparent that she assumed he was fully qualified. The student did not correct the patient but later contacted the MDU to ask for advice on how he should have handled the situation.
An examination performed by a medical student is not the same as one conducted by a qualified doctor. As a student, you need to make it clear to patients that you are seeking consent to examine them as part of your medical education, rather than for their direct benefit.
The GMC's guidance Medical Students: professional values and fitness to practise (2009) is clear on this point. Paragraph 16(b) states that students should accurately represent their position or abilities. The student was advised to be aware of this when taking patient histories or providing any type of clinical care in future.
It is good practice for you to make every patient you see aware of the level of your experience and the extent of your capabilities.
This page was correct at publication on 23/04/2015. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.
It's never too early to start acquiring management skills, which will stand you in good stead for years to come
Dr Shelagh Turvill2
Patient confidentiality is central to clinical care, and there are only a limited number of situations when you might be justified in breaching it. Test your understanding in our quiz
Dr Sally Old3
Getting a few basics right can make your early days of training a little less fraught
Dr Kathryn Leask8
Can you keep a secret?
Drunk and disorderly
© MDU 2021