Saturday, January 27, 2007

Oh for some decent free junk . . .

Hooray for free junk!

This week I more than doubled the amount of free pens and waterbottles I have received from work/career-based sponsors. The MDO's (Medical Defense Organisations) were out in force this week, giving us free stuff and signing us on for free "memberships" while we are students (although I'm doubtful that these "memberships" would offer any kind of serious legal protection, but there are some benefits).

This made me wonder how much money they plan on getting out of us when we are graduated doctors. I know that nothing comes for free, and having worked in allied health in a hospital for years and received next-to-nothing from company reps, I get very nervous when companies start throwing stuff at us for no apparent reason other than the fact that we are "future doctors". (My biggest two scores before becoming a medical student were: a coffee cup which had sat unclaimed on a desk for a month, and a couple of rubber duck stress toys which I saved from decapitation. Nobody picks on rubber duckies when I am around! Nobody!)

That's another thing - being called a "future doctor" or even worse, "doctor-in-training" just doesn't feel right. We're one week into a medical course. We are medical students. Only just. I am confident when I feel I know something, but nothing scares me more than a confident over-statement of one's own abilities. "I am a Doctor-in-Training, and today I learnt what a femur is!" Oh dear.

The most interesting thing was that the best freebie was a portable coffee cup from the defence forces, trying to get us to sign up for quite lucrative scholarships (roughly $50k per year) which would be followed by quite a few years of service afterwards (and a directed career - no thanks). I once went to a presentation by an army radiographer about his time serving overseas, and I swore to myself during that presentation that I would NEVER do that to myself or my family. Between taking x-rays (in a tent!), he served as infantry and then had to assist in operations on the militia he shot. Seriously. I know the scholarship and the career could be good for some people, but no thanks. (I grew up as an airforce brat, so I was scarred enough by the lifestyle without putting my kids through the same thing.) But thanks, I'll take the coffee cup! I'll need all that I can get if I am going to make it though without that lucrative scholarship.

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