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The Unspoken Curriculum

Many of my viewers write me to ask, "Stuart, what's the unspoken curriculum? Why do I feel so clueless on the wards?" The unspoken curriculum, I tell them, refers to the life lessons students learn as they become accepted as equals into the practice of medicine.

Sometimes students find themselves unprepared as they are tested on the unspoken curriculum during their clerkship years. The following are true stories from actual medical students, though the names have been changed and the situations fictionalized to protect the innocent (and the not so innocent). Any similarity with real people, living or deceased, is not only coincidental, but scary.

Melissa D. Writes:

"Stuart, I'm in such a shame spiral. Things started to go wrong after the first week on my Medicine rotation. Post-call, I was sitting with my team in the resident's lounge reading Harrison's when I heard a loud rattling noise.

Jon R. Writes:

"Stuart, I feel like such a naive nut-head. I just received my first clerkship evaluation back and I feel it didn't reflect my performace."