Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Experiences of mistreatment among medical students in a University in south west Nigeria

ET Owoaje, OC Uchendu, OK Ige


Objective: This study was conducted to assess the experiences of mistreatment and harassment among final-year clinical students in a Nigerian medical school.
Materials and Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was used to obtain information on the various forms of mistreatment experienced by 269 students in the 2007 and 2008 graduating classes of a medical school in Nigeria.
Results: Almost all the respondents (98.5%) had experienced one or more forms of mistreatment during their training. The commonest forms experienced by the students were being shouted at (92.6%), public humiliation or belittlement (87.4%), negative or disparaging remarks about their academic performance (71.4%), being assigned tasks as punishment (67.7%), and someone else taking credit for work done by the student (49.4%). Religious or age discrimination was reported by 34.2%, sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based mistreatment by 33.8%, and threats of harm by 26.4%. These incidents were mainly perpetrated by physicians and occurred mostly during surgical rotations. The effects included strained relationships with the perpetrators, reduced self-confidence and depression.
Conclusion: Most medical students experienced verbal forms of mistreatment and abuse during their training. Appropriate strategies for the prevention and reduction of medical student mistreatment should be developed.
AJOL African Journals Online