Tuesday, February 22, 2011

To Speak or Not To Speak

This may not surprise most of you, but I apparently already have a reputation among the other classes at my school.

Shocking, I know.

Through the grapevine I have discovered that I have been referred to as the "guy who doesn't take shit from the professors" or "the guy who brings the real world into class."

Kinda cool, wouldn't you think? Except I've noticed a slightly perplexing side effect to this. It seems, almost, as if I'm being blackballed by certain professors.

That big multi-year research project I had mentioned a few months ago? It's suddenly vanished, along with the regular emails from the related professors. In one of my classes, management class, I am regularly ignored when my hand is raised.

It's frustrating.

Which leads me to this question, should I continue to speak up? Should I continue to push the envelope in our classes in order to ensure my fellow classmates, and future pharmacists, have a truthful view of the pharmacy world?

The me of 2-3 years ago would keep at it. Now that I have a wife, a child and a burgeoning career, I wonder if this is the best course of action. This isn't a small, unknown little school and I certainly do not want to create a negative perception of myself as I enter the pharmacy world as a pharmacist.

And since my plans have changed in the hopes of attaining a particular residency, I really do not want to shoot myself in the foot anymore than I have to.

So do I speak up at every inane situation presented, at every fairy-tale story told, at the incorrect information we're fed? Or do I pick and choose my battles and straddle the line of appeasing both sides.

Truly, I do not know. It's part of the reason why I have been "freakishly silent", as someone told me, the last few weeks.

What good is having a voice if it only spouts negativity?

I suppose that is the ultimate question I have been asking myself. And honestly, I do not have an answer.


theangrypharmacist said...

You treat it like you treat real-life pharmacy; you choose your battles.

Sure some professor may spout off completely wrong information on some subject they /should/ know, but unless its TOTALLY wrong, just smile, know they are full of shit, think of me, and let it go.

pharmaknit said...

Cure yourself of the urge to speak up every time while you're still in school. I've learned first hand that its not a good thing to do in the workplace. Keep a journal instead, so when their bad information causes an issue, you have documentation.

wellillbe said...

Treat them like adults. Make an appointment to see said professors, ask about the project and what you can do to be engaged in your courses without irritating the professors. Shocking thought I know, but it might just work.

FrauTech said...

As someone with more real world experience when I went back to school I dealt with this as well. Luckily my lectures were usually a minimum of 150 people so I wasn't very inspired to speak up. I say don't speak up, because who are you going to convince? The Professor is not going to listen to you, and does not like having his/her knowledge challenged. Maybe some percentage of your fellow students will listen and be thankful, but most will either a) not believe you or b) not care and be irritated you are speaking to begin with. It's much better just to make nice. If it was one on one students I was talking with I would occasionally bring things up, but only when I thought they really cared about my opinion and would benefit from it. Most likely your professors are not working from a point of malice, they are just trying to get across a basic idea, and likely none of them have worked in your field at all or in the last 10 years. That doesn't make them wrong and you right, it just means you have a different perspective. But they're still a professor, presumably teaching you some things you don't know, so a little humility and a lot of staying quiet and keeping your head down.

Frantic Pharmacist said...

I would say too, to pick your battles -- I'm curious as to the types of incorrect stuff they are presenting. That would give a better idea of whether it's worth it. Does it go to the entire philosophy of pharmacy practice, or more to the smaller aspects of everyday work?

Phathead said...

"In practice, you'll be doing these 7 minute consults every day"

"The screen shown here is a typical computer screen that you would use in a pharmacy showing how unhelpful technology can be" (It really was the DOS screen of the switch box for a ScriptPro robot... a system designed in the late 1980s and is never used by a person in the pharmacy)

"Economics and accounting are two principals that are not overly important to patient care or pharmacy"

Those are a few of the things I spoke up against. I'm not saying I speak out in every lecture, but when they say stuff like this, and the majority of the class is scribbling it down as fact, it makes me uncomfortable.

Old MD Girl said...

As Grumpy would say, KMS. Keep Mouth Shut.

Now, if you can tell me how one does that, I'm all ears.

Anonymous said...

Pick your battles. Be inteligent in your comments. If the comment is to show you are smarter than the speaker, keep your mouth shut. If the question is to seek clairfication of the point being made, ask away. You will be needing letters of recommendation to get a residency. This year we had over 100 resident applicants for 5 positons. If your recommendations suggest you are lacking tact, diplomacy, or are aggressive or a cowboy with your answers then you will not be offered an interview at this or a lot of other programs. We can not afford to have this type of resident running loose in our 500 bed hospital. As residency director, I can not afford to get called into the Pharmcy Director's or Chief of Staff, or Department of Internal Medicine Chair's office due to a loose cannon resident.

Anonymous said...

I'd lean towards keeping quiet as well. You're not going to be able to re-educate everyone one else just by questioning the professor. Righting bad information during study groups / among friends will probably get you a good reputation, but antagonising the professor may lead to problems and fewer opportunities in the future. And perhaps lower marks, depending on their professionalism and your system.

Maybe it would be a better idea to occasionally ask carefully worded questions that don't piss 'em off but might highlight the inaccuracies.

Anonymous said...

Be considerate of other students. There's a lot of information to cover in the short class time. Unless you have a question that clarifies something confusing in the notes, or something confusing that the professor has mentioned during the lectures, just keep quiet. If you genuinely want to have a discussion or have issues with what the professor is teaching, go discuss it with them during breaks/after classes or during office hours.