The topic of analysis is the significance of social groups and social identity in medical undergraduates based on Ben Lovell’s research article “We are a Tight Community”. The author centres his argument in the fact that students in the medical career generally mix into separate groups that position themselves differently from other undergraduates. The arrangement of social groups not just brings a life-changing survival advantage, nevertheless, has a job in character advancement. One part of expert development is the capacity to see oneself as a part of a utilitarian group, instead of as an entirely independent specialist. The separateness of medical students in the normal college prompts the presence of a subculture, which will, in general, perpetuate after some time. Towards that end, the main aim of this study was to answer the research questions: (i) How do student medics comprehend the nature and significance of medical social groups? (ii) What factors influence the formation and maintenance of these communities? The other aim of this study is to create a theoretical framework illustrating the natural and acquired forces that affect the development and maintenance of social groups at medical institutions.
Medical students constantly grasp this subculture, yet may be seen as resistant and selective by nonmedical undergraduates. As a result, undergraduate medical students end up encompassed by their own ‘kind’ all through their developmental years. Considering that social identity stimulates a mutually supportive network, this phenomenon tends to play a key function in the domain of psychological well-being. The author notes that certain potentially protective mechanisms such as social groups and social identity are of fundamental significance since the medical student is easily prone to emotional fatigue, stress, and burnout. Furthermore, Lovell cites that the development of self-complexity tends to face the negative effect of social exclusivity. On that note, students from medical school often form social groups during the formative studies. The groups often play special roles in the development of collaborative learning, professional identity, and the acquisition of interpersonal skills. Current literature explores both the positive and negative impacts of the social identity communities. However, their subjective experience seems partially described.
This research paper relies on a qualitative study researching methodology to explore social bonding and communities’ experiences of medical students within their identity groups. In this regard, the study sampled a total of 32 final year medical undergraduate participants from two highly established teaching hospitals through semi-structured interviews. The data are then analysed based on principles of constructivist grounded theory. During the research process, four major themes emerge while exploring the results. Enforced isolation is the foremost theme that emerged and it illustrates the institutional and geographical separation of medical students from other undergraduates. The second theme, self-isolation that points towards the propensity of medics to create socially exclusive groups to capitalize on the opportunity to gain social constancy, decompress, and promote horizontal learning. On the other hand, a supportive network, which is the third theme asserts that medical communities function to offer mutual support to its members. The last theme, judging self, and others illustrate both critical and respectful methods through which undergraduates remark themselves and their colleagues. Notably, the four themes give insight into the creation and maintenance of cohesive social groups and identities and also influence each other through a consistent dynamic fashion.
Overall, this research paper equips learners in related disciplines with a conceptual construct that is essential towards elucidating the functions and importance of social communities and social identities in the medical field. In this sense, medical institutions are in a better position of supporting the welfare of their undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as comprehending both their social motivation and experiences. This is achievable through a clear indulgence of the intra-personal and inter-personal dynamics that are fundamental in this discipline.
Imperatively, the study concludes that intrinsic and extrinsic isolation tend to initiate in part, the community-forming behaviours among medical undergraduates. Ideally, these factors are influenced and maintained through the covert and overt judgment of oneself and one’s peers and through the provision of mutual support. The author concludes that since this study explores the positive and negative implications of social identity groups, it provides a room for continued research into how best to promote the development of well-adjusted and healthy medics and further intuition into the intricate social fundamentals of medics.
Although the research paper manages to explore the oblivious motivations of populations and subgroups based on the extensive literature in relation to community-forming behaviours, it is unfortunate to note that research specific to medical students is limited. Current literature explores both the positive and negative impacts of the social identity communities through their subjective experience, which seems partially described. Nevertheless, the paper has a strong rationale underpinning the study. For instance, it is evident that the available literature makes it possible for the paper to develop a strong theoretical case for and against the creation of a socially exclusive medical undergraduate community.
Furthermore, this study is limited in that it was conveyed at two medical establishments in close land vicinity. An absence of labour constrained the example size, in spite of the fact that data saturation was achieved. Arguably, it is possible that the researcher created a mental system of medicinal students in London that may show unobtrusive contrasts and varieties in examination with that of medic students from somewhere else on the planet. On that note, the author notes that this work is only a beginning stage for future examinations where the sub-topics can be additionally explored and evaluated. Considering only final year medics gives an incomplete point of view of the phenomena under assessment. All factors considered, the perspectives and bits of knowledge of medics advance after some time, and sampling of first-year undergraduates, for instance, may well prompt various decisions, and consequently, a variety of the hypothetical constructs depicted here. Along these lines, the results of this paper must be fathomed from the idea of medic students in their final year of studies. Further examination concerning various phases of undergrad life would promote the chance to see how social groups advance over time.
The methodology used in this study, a constructivist grounded theory approach, is effective and appropriate. As aforementioned, this paper has developed a comprehensive theoretical case that directs the author towards arguing for and against the formation of isolated medical communities. Therefore, theoretical sampling, which is part of this method is effective since it mainly targets subjects that are able to produce useful data. The method is appropriate since they allow alterations in media res to monitor additional data collection.
Tentatively, constant comparison, which is a key aspect of the constructivist grounded theory approach enables the researcher to recognize patterns and connections in the data to facilitate the generation of codes and categories. This ensures that the researcher maintains focus on the developing groups and offers a reference to the data that can easily enhance the understanding of the topic at large. The fact that this study was conducted at the Royal London Hospital in the UK, a significant teaching hospital in London, in close coordination with interviewees from UCLMS and SBLMS can only mean that the findings would be clear. Indeed, these institutions offered an appropriate sample of 32 students since the two universities usually provide a plethora of social clubs and groups that are in most cases partisan to shared interests in acting, drinking and performing, to sporting and fitness activities, and to political interests. The groups are often open to both non-medics and medics alike.
After the data collection, the researchers used an appropriate analysis method, the NVIVO Version 8 coding software, to analyse the data through a coding process. This method of analysis was integrated alongside the grounded theory methodology and thereafter, produced contemporaneous memos, which helped in highlighting emergent themes, connections, and alterations of the interview structure for subsequent medics. It is worth noting that the only confounding variables for this study based on the student’s experiences were enforced isolation, self-isolation, a supportive network, and judging self and others. Ideally, the fact that the study only considered final year medics cannot provide an opportunity to explore other confounding variables. Accordingly, the study is valid and reliable because the researcher received ethical approval and effective supervision of the project from the chairperson of the Research Ethics Council in the Wales Deanery. On the other hand, it is reliable because it uses data from respondents who directly experience the influence of social communities and relate to the four themes earlier mentioned in the summary.
The research and results of the study have strong implications. Foremost, the findings and discussions of the study imply that as students recognize the preferences related to a moderately closed medical network, they keep on to self-isolate so as to protect and sustain such networks. Medics see themselves and their examinations as 'unfamiliar' to different students and depict a way of life that is altogether different from that of their nonmedical associates. This social hole achieves a hesitance to connect with non-medics in important dialogs about their course and its related stressors. In this way, medical understudies put more seeing someone inside their own friend gathering, sustaining the sociological segregation of the medicinal network.
From another viewpoint, these communities are encouraging groups of people, giving scholastic consolation and peaceful help. Inside this network, level learning and training happen. By installing their personalities inside the communities entirely, medic students are pervaded with their very own feeling commitment to support their companions. It, along these lines, implies that among the significant elements of a firm medic group are the solidification, spread, and enlargement of new information; even learning fortifies vertical learning.
The third point of view is that the communities furnish singular undergraduates with a scholastic setting, inside which they can pass judgment on their own capacities and accomplishments. This last point of view has both positive and negative viewpoints: inside the milieu of high-accomplishing peers, the understudy may pass judgment on themselves to be the second rate, which may prompt sentiments of despondency and low confidence. The findings show that medic students can be savagely judgemental of their friends and, by augmentation, of themselves. In any case, clearly self-judging and other-making a decision about restorative understudy will build up a shakiness, which can show as tension, ridiculous desires for oneself and mental exhaustion. Specifically, exorbitant self-judgment is connected to obsessive compulsiveness and uncertainty, which have been demonstrated to be chance variables for sorrow in restorative students.
In the previously mentioned summary, obviously, this study displays a body of evidence for and against the development of medicinal networks. The resulting content gives further detail to the two sides of these contention networks gives a commonly steady condition to youngsters who are attempted a requesting and thorough degree program. Community-oriented learning, peaceful help, and decompressing/questioning are perceived and increased in value by students, who feel they would not encounter these open doors somewhere else. Networks additionally give students chances to rank themselves close by their friends, which can fill in as a persuading factor for self-improvement. This implies that medics must in some way be able to attain equilibrium to ensure that they take advantage of the academically motivating and supportive aspects of the social medical groups while maintaining a complex self to boost their psychological resilience.
It is a pleasure to comment on this considering that it will lay the foundation for subsequent research on this topic. The study can be improved in various ways. Foremost, this research only explored the positive and negative impacts of the medical communities from current literature, which is partially defined. Therefore, future research on this topic should not only seek opinions from experts in literature but also from the opinions of the target respondents (final year medic students) (Morgado et al., 2018). Secondly, this study is limited since it only focused on two medical schools in close proximity. This might have created a mental system of medicinal students in London that may show unobtrusive contrasts and varieties in examination with that of understudies from somewhere else on Earth. Therefore, future research should additionally explore and evaluate the sub-topics under the four aforementioned themes to ensure that the constructs are universal to other undergraduate medic students in different parts of the world (Morgado et al., 2018). Lastly, this study only considered final medic students thereby giving incomplete perspectives of the phenomena. Thus, future research should conduct a broad investigation from the first year to final year medic students because this will capture all hypothetical constructs and decisions that give complete perspectives of the topic under assessment (Morgado et al., 2018).
- Lovell, B. (2015). ‘We are a tight community’: social groups and social identity in medical undergraduates. Medical Education, 49(10), 1016-1027. doi:10.1111/medu.12781
- Morgado, F. F., Meireles, J. F., Neves, C. M., Amaral, A. C., & Ferreira, M. E. (2018). Scale development: ten main limitations and recommendations to improve future research practices. Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica, 30(1), 3.