What is Mistreatment?

Mistreatment arises when a behavior shows disrespect for the dignity of others and unreasonably interferes with the learning process. It can take the form of physical punishment, sexual harassment, psychological cruelty, or discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, or sexual orientation. Examples of mistreatment include:

  • Threatening or abusive language, profanity, or language that can be perceived as rude, threatening, demeaning, sarcastic, loud, or offensive
  • Belittling or humiliating behavior
  • Intentional neglect or exclusion from communications
  • Offensive sexist remarks or names
  • Racist or ethnically offensive remarks or names
  • Requirements that personal services – such as babysitting, shopping, or personal errands – be performed
  • Threats of physical harm, such as hitting, slapping, and kicking
Did the following occur? Mistreatment is not... Mistreatment is...
M Malicious Intent

On the first day of third year, the ward clerk says to the student, “you guys are green,” then offers to help the students find a computer station.

A resident purposely gives student misinformation before rounds. Student overhears resident laughing about messing him over.

I Intimidation on Purpose

A student working with the chairman of surgery says he feels nervous about operating with him since the chairman can “make or break” his career.

Resident tells a student that they intend to make them cry before the rotation is over.

S Sexual harassment

Male student asked not to go into a room because a female patient only wants a female to examine her.

A male attending tells a female student, “I can tell you know how to grab it like you mean it” while she is inserting an indwelling Foley catheter.

T Threatening behavior

A student is yelled at to “get the XXX out of the way” by a nurse as a patient is about to be shocked during a code.

An attending grabs the student’s finger with a clamp in the OR and tells the student they are an idiot after they could not answer a “pimp” question.

R Racism

Attending gives student feedback on how to improve performance.

A resident tells a Hispanic student that their “people” (assuming illegal immigrants) are responsible for high healthcare costs.

E Excessive or unrealistic expectations

Student asked to review an article and present it on rounds to the team.

A resident tells a student that it is their job to perform rectal exams (necessary or not) on all the patients admitted to the service.

A Abusive favors

A student is asked to get coffee for themselves and for the team prior to rounds. The resident did it yesterday. The team gives the student money.

A student is asked to pick up an attending’s dry cleaning.
T Trading for favors

A resident tells a student that they can review and present a topic to the team as an opportunity to enhance their grade.

A student is told that if they help a resident move, they will get honors.

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