Is It Rude To Refuse To Allow A Medical Student To Observe Your Exam?

Most of us have been in the situation where we expect to see just our doctor and end up in an exam with a bigger audience. For some people, it’s no big deal – we know that doctors have to learn somehow and they’re happy to help.

For others, it causes discomfort for one reason or another. That’s why the established procedure is for a doctor or nurse to ask ahead of time whether or not an extra person (or two) is ok.

This young patient has always been uncomfortable with the idea of a male doctor. She’s had the same pediatrician and has always asked for female staff for her examinations.

I (16F) recently went to the pediatrician with my mom for my physical exam.

As a background, i’ve never been comfortable with male doctors and have always requested female ones, and i was expecting an all female team of doctors today, as it was what i requested.

After the nurse took my vitals, i was told to undress and get into a dressing gown and that the doctor would be in shortly.

At this checkup, she had already put on her gown when her doctor walked in – with a male medical student in tow – and asked whether or not it was ok if he stayed.

She and her mom were too timid to refuse, even though she was quite uncomfortable.

After i had gotten into my gown, my doctor entered the room with a young man. This had never happened before and i was extremely uncomfortable, as i was wearing nothing but a dressing gown, which i knew i was going to have to remove for later parts of the exam.

The doctor asked me and my mom if we were ok with the man, a male med student, watching my physical, and even though both me and my mom weren’t comfortable with this, neither of us knew how to say no, so we allowed him to come in.

The doctor then started asking questions about my mental health, which i wanted to answer but didn’t feel comfortable answering with this random man standing there staring at me.

Eventually, she broke down crying and told the doctor she wanted to be examined without the student present.

The doctor agreed but, for the rest of the appointment, made OP feel as if she’d done something wrong.

I sat through a few questions and then all of a sudden broke down and started to cry, as i was so uncomfortable with this i didn’t want the exam to continue.

I told the doctor how uncomfortable i was while i cried, and she told the man to leave the room. as i continued to cry, she told me how she didn’t think i would react that way and that she was sorry, but she seemed rude and not happy during the rest of the exam.

I discussed this with my mom and we both think the doctor was in the wrong, but based off the doctors reaction to my feelings, it seems like i was the one being rude.


So she’s taking to Reddit to find out if maybe she did.

The top comment reassures OP that she was not wrong at all, and the doctor should be examining their practices so that this doesn’t happen again.

Image Credit: Reddit

Rules are in place to protect people who struggle to stand up for themselves.

Image Credit: Reddit

It’s always easier to say no when the person isn’t staring you in the face.

Image Credit: Reddit

I don’t know anyone who would enjoy being in this situation.

Image Credit: Reddit

Some people want to remember that the doctor isn’t here to defend herself, so give her the benefit of the doubt.

Image Credit: Reddit

I absolutely don’t think this poor girl was in the wrong, here, but I do hope she can learn to advocate better for herself in the future!

How do you respond to requests to have students in your exam room?

Sound off in the comments!