Pelvic Exams (On Yourself??)


Jamie Kath Harrison, who wrote an interesting piece in xoJane titled "It Happened to Me: I Teach Pelvic Exams to Med Students (On Myself)," has a side job as a "standardized patient," where she serves as a model for medical students practicing medical exams including pelvic and breast exams. Her main career is a librarian and a few times a years she helps teach medical students how to do a proper exams. She initially was embarrassed to admit she had this side career and now takes pride in the fact that she is doing a necessary service for medical students who have little or no experience in giving a woman a full exam. She writes that sometimes this is the first time a medical student has seen breasts or a vagina. Basically she begain disassociating herself from her body in order to do these exams, something many of our patients must do to get through so many pelvic exams. But now she takes pride in her educational service and we agree that she should be proud of her courageous actions. She looks at these body parts as one would look at an elbow or leg, as many or our patients do. Unfortunately, many medical students do not receive nearly the degree of sexual education that is needed and consequently so many women suffer from their ignorance when they become full-fledged doctors. We applaud Ms. Harrison for her unusual but needed medical student exam modeling and hope more women have the guts to emulate her actions. 

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