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September 15, 2021

Medical Student Is Penalized for Wearing 'Inappropriate' Dress to an Exam

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When a medical student went to take an exam, she was called out for her attire. According to the university, her dress was inappropriate, and she was consequently penalized for this.  

This month, a quote was posted on Twitter, revealing that a medical student of Newcastle University in the U.K. faced some pushback because of the dress she was wearing. 

The institution purportedly called it “the most inappropriate dress” they “had ever seen.” @TheGradMedic asked her followers what they thought about the "discrimination" she faced.

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THE OUTFIT 

In the photo, the student's navy dress was tight-fitting but covered her knees. Another comment was posted by @MedicGrandpa, a friend of @TheGradMedic, and they provided more details about the incident. 

@MedicGrandpa wrote

"A friend did their OSCE’s with me recently & got yellow carded for wearing a “short skirt”… could someone explain to me how it’s 2021 & medical schools are still pushing [this]." 

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THE COMPLAINT

The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is an exam that tests the students in a “clinical setting” and evaluates how they interact with people who act as patients. 

@TheGradMedic shared the specific complaint that her examiner lodged. She explained: “‘student had short dress with no leg coverings—roleplayer commented immediately ... said looked unprofessional and I agree.’”  

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SOCIAL MEDIA RULES 

Ciarán (@MedicGrandpa), who also attends the Newcastle school, shared what motivated him to post on behalf of his friend. He indicated that the university said sharing the story online could potentially be a "contravention of GMC guidance." 

Grand Medical Council (GMC) is the formal body the tracks the actions of doctors and medical students. They have specific rules when it comes to comments posted on social media.

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EXAMINER'S WORD IS FINAL 

Ciarán added that their complaints did not change the opinion of the university examiners. He expressed: “the [examiner’s] word is final, and the investigation is closed.”

 Newcastle University unexpectedly posted an apology via Twitter. They clarified that the comment about the student's dress length was lodged by a “role-play patient” during the OSCE exam.

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THE YELLOW CARD

Their apology also indicated that the yellow card the student received was rescinded. @TheGradMedic responded and insisted that the apology was not entirely true.

She said both the role-play patient and the examiner ruled her dress inappropriate. She wanted the whole truth to circulate online and went as far as reaching out to the British Medical Association, a U.K. doctors union.

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JEOPARDIZING HER CAREER

@TheGradMedic added that she safeguarded the examiner's identity and did not want to jeopardize her medical career because of the encounter. As a result, she won't be giving the press any more comments. 

Ultimately, @TheGradMedic hopes her experience will lead to "wider questions being asked [regarding] discrimination, policies, but also the freedom (or lack of) for students/doctors to discuss issues without fear of repercussions.”

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ONLINE COMMENTS 

Netizens were quick to comment on the incident. Many were dumbfounded as to how her dress was deemed inappropriate. One user asked if the student had attached the wrong photo. 

Another user said the student may have been at fault. They stated: "The wellbeing of patients is paramount, and personal preference takes 2nd place. It has nothing to do with discrimination, but that seems to be the fallback position these days."

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