William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Monday, 4, October, 2010

So There I Was…

Filed under: Haterade,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 14:52

Dealing with e-mails from students, and I get this one:

Dear Dr. Bligh-Glover,
I would want to work as a tutor help for medical students who need additional help. I am a MBA.
Though i do not have much medical knowledge, i can help students with the other studies. Would you be interested in hiring me, or setting up an interview with me so that i can meet you, and see if i am capable of getting this job ?
Please let me know if you would need any more details from my end.

Although the approach was professional, and I admire the initiative, this individual doesn’t know anything about medicine, so I really can’t use him, and no I have no job. I get a lot of letters like this, and I certainly understand the urge, I just wonder why these folks aren’t asking people who could actually help them with a position. This is kind of like me writing to GM asking them to hire an anatomist. They don’t!

And then there was this little number:

Hello Will,

My name is XXX YYY and I’m interested in getting a tutor for anatomy for my group and I (4 people in all).  Do you know if any tutors are available?


To which I replied,

Dear Mr. YYY. Contact these tutors.

In the future, you might want to remember that the way for a student to address a faculty member whom he have not yet met is by “Doctor Bligh-Glover” or “Professor Bligh-Glover.”  Undue familiarity with one’s faculty on the wards will get you bad evaluations in clinical rotations, may irritate your patients and cause you difficulty in obtaining a residency.  Use of appropriate names and titles is an important part of professional socialization, and one that you should be aware of.

Thank you

And I’m waiting for my blood pressure to come down. The school has a stronger emphasis on professionalism than it did when I was a student, but I’m not sure these people are getting the picture.



  1. It could be he (the first) has already written teachers in te areas where he is more needed, and is now hitting the slim-chance areas in hope of any work.

    Comment by Meagan — Monday, 4, October, 2010 @ 15:02 | Reply

  2. Regarding Mr. YYY: Well, at least snowflakes like him provide blog fodder…

    One of my professors is very relaxed about what the students call him. He has a PhD in botany and is a brilliant man, but he is fine with students using his first name or even “Mr.” Maybe that’s a Left Coast thing, I don’t know. I’m finally comfortable enough to address him by his first name outside of lecture/lab because he’s become somewhat of a mentor to me, and he has always signed his emails to me with just his first name. However, during class or in front of other students I *always* call him Dr. K.

    Then again, I’m probably a lot older than most of your students, and I was brought up to respect my teachers. 😛

    Comment by Miz Minka — Monday, 4, October, 2010 @ 19:41 | Reply

    • I have the same sort of relationship with my doctoral supervisors, if for no other reason than that they get a bit uncomfortable if I don’t address them by their first names. On the other hand, I will be dipped in shit if I’ll presume to address anyone I’ve never met by a contraction of their first names unless specifically asked to (“call me Matt; it’s easier that way”).

      I don’t think it’s a Left Coast thing, or a generational thing; I think it’s a “YYY needs a percussive introduction to the Cluebat” thing.

      Comment by bluntobject — Wednesday, 6, October, 2010 @ 00:12

  3. Oh well, some days you’re the bug, somedays you’re the windshield… I too was brought up to respect the teachers (especially since I liked good grades). thanks for continuing to put up with them!

    Comment by Old NFO — Wednesday, 6, October, 2010 @ 03:11 | Reply

  4. I had a student react in shock when I said in class that “texting style” in homework assignments instantly resulted in below-C grades for that work.

    “It’s on the syllabus — if you don’t respect your own ideas enough to put them in formal English, I won’t respect them either.”

    Somehow I managed _not_ to say “If you give me half-assed work, you should expect a half-assed grade.”

    Comment by Thoryke — Saturday, 9, October, 2010 @ 16:41 | Reply

  5. You should see ’em once the tutoring starts. Don’t get me wrong, the vast majority are well-intentioned and conscientious. But several sessions leave a certain tutor scratching his head.. and how! Some of it is because several newly minted medical students are (perhaps rightfully) on a big emotional ego trip, having been accepted, thus validating their confidence and self-perceived importance. And they may forget what it is like to be someone on the “outside looking in.” And they haven’t yet had an attending or charge nurse bitch slap them back into their place.

    Maybe some schools focus too much on test scores. I think not being a jerk is more important than padding my resume. But that’s why I’m poor and not able to get in anywhere.

    Comment by Toxic Adenoma — Monday, 25, October, 2010 @ 02:52 | Reply

  6. What if you have a business degree and tutor anatomy, as I do? GM won’t hire me, med schools won’t accept me – maybe its time to start teaching malpractice attorneys 🙂

    Comment by Toxic Adenoma — Monday, 25, October, 2010 @ 02:58 | Reply

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