What this paper adds
The prevalence of microaggressions among medical students at the University of Florida College of Medicine
Medical students understanding of the term ‘microaggressions’
The lived experiences of medical students dealing with microaggressions.
Educational setting and respondents
□ American Indian or Alaska Native
□ Black or African American
□ Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
□ Hispanic or Latino or Spanish origin
□ Not Hispanic or Latino or Spanish origin
Q4 Medical School Classification
□ Research Year(s)
□ Combined Degree Program
Q5 Have you heard of the term Microaggressions?
Q6 If you have heard of the term ‘Microaggressions’, what is your understanding of the term?
Q7 ‘Microaggressions are the brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gender, sexual-orientation, and religious slights and insults to the target person or group. Perpetrators are usually unaware that they have engaged in an exchange that demeans the recipient of the communication.’ Taken from: ‘Microaggressions in Everyday Life. Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation’ by Derald Wing Sue.
Keeping in mind the above definition have you ever experienced Microaggressions during your time in Medical School?
□ Yes, during medical school
□ Yes, during my post graduate education, but before medical school
□ Yes, during my undergraduate training
□ Yes, but not in an educational setting
Q8 If ‘yes’, in less than 150 words, please describe the event and how it made you feel.
Q9 If you selected ‘Yes, during medical school’, please indicate the year of study when this occurred.
□ Didactic Years
□ Required third year clerkships
□ Away rotations
□ Fourth year clinical rotations
males (n = 1)
females (n = 159)
experience with microaggressions:
– in medical school
experience with microaggressions
nonwhite (n = 59)
white (n = 100)
chi-square p value
Definition of microaggressions
To me, a microaggression is a form of interpersonal aggression that involves the use of words or actions that on their surface may not appear to be intended to harm others but may end up doing so depending on the perceptions of the receiver. In other words, a microaggression is a seemingly innocuous word or action that functions on a less conscious level to harm others.
Small inappropriate remarks or passive aggressive actions towards a person involving work or personal life.
Minor acts of offense that individually do not cause significant distress yet when aggregated over a period of time has a negative effect psychologically. Often the acts are believed to be linked to a person’s social or physical identity.
Seemingly small comments or actions made that reflect a larger societal issue of sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. These comments ‘seem’ harmless (micro) but are harmful to the recipient.
Microaggressions are a way of perpetuating the culture of victimhood that plagues our society and polluting the minds of today’s over privileged, faux social justice warrior youth.
Extremely sensitive individuals use this word to describe comments that intentionally or unintentionally offend their fragile egos because they have been accustomed to receiving participation trophies in little league and subsequently have not developed the proper coping mechanisms when encountering someone who doesn’t like them, disagrees with their views, or generally has an opinion different from their own. It’s a major development in the so-called ‘PC culture’. Using words like microaggression enables the user to declare oneself ‘victimized’ in an intellectual way.
To have suffered a microaggression, you must first adopt the ‘woe is me’ attitude of a perpetual victim who intends to feel threatened by every well-intentioned word, phrase, or action that you may encounter on a daily basis.
Male faculty has also shown ‘inappropriate dress’ pictures, and they only featured women. This made me feel upset that only women could break the dress code.
In my time on surgery, I was referred to solely in seemingly disparaging terms such as ‘sweetheart’ in the OR by a young male attending. As a female interested in surgery, I felt extremely frustrated that I was not being taken seriously and felt very belittled by the experience.
Being called various things like ‘princess,’ ‘sweetheart,’ ‘nurse,’ ‘darling,’ etc. by patients, residents, or attendings. Comments about how I look or dress. Some men probably assume they’re complimenting me when it’s actually belittling. It’s impossible to be a woman in medicine without being reminded you’re a woman every day, most of the time without people realizing they’re reminding you.
Numerous circumstances where people made me feel like it was impossible to be a pro-life, Christian, Republican physician while remaining rational, having thoughtful discussions with other professionals, and treating all patients with respect and compassion.I am an atheist, and there are a lot of religious comments and assumptions made by both students and faculty that all in the class are believers, frequently excluding those of us (>20% of the nation) who are not.
I was having a conversation with a faculty member who said since there has been more diversity in the medical school students at UF board exam scores have declined. We were in the middle of a conversation regarding students’ performance on Shelf exams. I felt like I was part of that reason for lower scores, that I was incapable of matching up to the majority of my class which is white.
Our school solely presents gay men in question stems in order to present a question regarding HIV/AIDS. This has made me feel unsafe. We have never been presented with a gay woman, which has made me feel invisible.
I don’t really care. I don’t let it affect me. I may consider why it is inappropriate or why that word used in that context is offensive. I use it as an opportunity to grow.It often made me feel uncomfortable but never to the point where I felt like I needed to report faculty/peers. I would often just try to forget about the incident.