Background: The abuse of medical students on clinical rotations is a recognized problem, but the effects on students and their responses warrant further study. Purpose: To determine the severity of student abuse and the effects of abuse on students during the internal medicine clerkship. Methods: Internal medicine clerks at 11 medical schools (N = 1,072) completed an exit survey. Students were asked whether they had been abused. If they had, they were asked about the severity of the abuse, whether they reported it, and its effects on them. Results: Of the responding students, 123 (11%) believed they had been abused. Only 31% of the students who felt abused reported the episodes to someone. The most common consequences of the events included poor learning environments, lack of confidence, and feelings of depression, anger, and humiliation. Conclusion: Students described a variety of personal and educational effects of abuse. They generally did not report abuse because of fear of retaliation and the belief that reporting is pointless.
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