#1800. Med School Uncensored: The Insider’s Guide to Surviving Admissions, Exams, Residency, and Sleepless Nights in the Call Room. (2017). Richard Beddingfield. New York: Ten Speed Press, 280 pp. Price $18.99. ISBN 978-0-399-57970-7
Nicholas O. Scobey
Collee of Community and Public Service Undergraduate Advising Center
Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI
What are some of the most important factors in medical school admissions? What is it like to be a medical student? And what is life like after medical school? In Med School Uncensored, Richard Beddingfield, M.D. answers these questions, and more, as he shares perspectives and experiences of navigating American medical education. While the book is not directed at advisors, it provides great insights that can enrich opportunities to advise students considering a career in medicine—particularly on the experiences and challenges of medical education and practice.
Dr. Beddingfield opens with a focus on pre-medical students, articulating and contesting some of the many reasons students may consider becoming a physician, and tackling some of the most common questions these students face. He then enlightens readers by describing the medical school experience, explaining major milestones and ongoing transitions, and iterating the many choices these students must consider. Following this discussion, he explains residency and fellowship, the mysterious educational programs that follow medical school, describing the changed workload, responsibilities, and expectations. He concludes with thoughts on the joys and sorrows—including some words of warning and advice—of being a fully trained, practicing physician.
In Med School Uncensored, Dr. Beddingfield artistically balances humor and honesty to craft a fascinating and accessible look into the world of medical education. Throughout the book, anecdotal experiences are mingled with reflections and perspectives to create a comprehensive glimpse into the realities of medical education—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Through succinct yet relatable language, this book moves fast, yet keeps readers engaged and keen to know what comes next. Dr. Beddingfield’s honest assessment of his experiences multiplies the value of this book, where he shares some of the most difficult realities of medicine and unabashedly addresses some of the scariest ‘what if’ scenarios that aspiring and practicing physicians face.
Advisors of pre-medical students should consider grabbing a copy of this book and viewing it as a tool to help them understand the language, pathways, and realities of American medical education. Understanding the full gamut of training and work in medicine provides critical insights into the necessary skills and traits of competent physicians. In their quest to prepare aspiring physicians for medical school and beyond, advisors now have the chance to understand medical education beyond the initial layer of admission requirements—to see how each progressive element of medical education builds upon previous experience and knowledge to equip future physicians. Further, advisors and career counselors should consider recommending this book to aspiring and uncertain pre-medical students as an opportunity to learn and self-reflect. Reading Med School Uncensored will equip advisors and career counselors with the knowledge necessary to prepare students for making informed decisions and academic plans that will improve their knowledge of, satisfaction with, and preparation for medicine.