Medical School Shames Woman For Her ‘Inappropriate’ Dress Choice

Whether we’re attending a job interview or meeting our significant other’s parents for the first time, first impressions are pretty important and we want to look our best.

But after one woman dressed up for her clinical medical exam and was both shamed and punished by the school for her choice of dress, she took to Twitter to fight back.

Sexism In The Workplace

Group of doctors in blue scrubs and white coats walk away from the camera down a hallway.
Photo Credit: Luis Melendez / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Luis Melendez / Unsplash

Whether you’re a student in high school or an employee in an office, dress codes are rules that we have to follow. From no spaghetti straps or hats to practicing good hygiene, or dresses/shorts of a certain length, the rules vary from place to place.

But it seems like more often than not, women are on the receiving end of sexism when it comes to our attire, and that no one in the workforce—not even doctors—are safe from it, as one medical student recently learned.

The Tweet

A tweet from @MedicGrandpa:
Photo Credit: @MedicGrandpa / Twitter
Photo Credit: @MedicGrandpa / Twitter

Ciarán, also known as @MedicGrandpa on Twitter, recently posted a now-viral tweet on behalf of his friend that angered women and medical professionals alike.

“Could someone explain to me how it’s 2021 & medical schools are still pushing sexist notions of primness upon its female student cohort, for daring to display their ankles,” he wrote.

Clinical Exams

Close-up of a yellow sticky note a woman is holding in her hands.
Photo Credit: Jazmin Quaynor / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Jazmin Quaynor / Unsplash

Ciaran says that he and his female friend recently completed their OSCE—or Objective Structured Clinical Examinations. It’s a real-world type of exam used in the health sciences designed to test clinical skill performance and one’s competence in various skills.

During these exams, his friend was given a yellow card, which he explains is a system used to “indicate that they have concerns over a person’s professionalism or behavior during an OSCE.”

An Update From The Student Herself

A Twitter response from @thegradmedic: Update: I complained to the university, their response was 'it was the most inappropriate dress they had ever seen' and then stated that the examiners word is final and the investigation is closed. isn’t discrimination lovely.
Photo Credit: @thegradmedic / Twitter
Photo Credit: @thegradmedic / Twitter

Twitter users urged Ciarán’s friend to appeal the decision to the university, and she did. In an update, the woman at the center of the frenzy, known as @thegradmedic on Twitter, complained to the school through the appropriate channels, but the response was disheartening.

“Their response was ‘it was the most inappropriate dress they had ever seen’ and then stated that the examiner’s word is final and the investigation is closed,” she wrote. “Isn’t discrimination lovely[?]”

It Gets Worse

@thegradmedic's dress that she wore for her clinical exams. It's a navy blue short-sleeved dress that goes past her knees
Photo Credit: @MedicGrandpa / Twitter
Photo Credit: @MedicGrandpa / Twitter

@thegradmedic later says she is not revealing the name of the examiner in order to respect their identity and the investigation. Despite this, she wants them to face repercussions. Contrary to the university’s ruling, a photo of the dress fails to show how it’s “inappropriate” and users on Twitter agreed.

“I would also add that the complaint details that I wasn’t wearing leg coverings, and subsequently that they wouldn’t want me to treat their friends or a family member because of it,” she added.

The University Responds

Tweet from Newcastle University: We want to apologise once again to @thegradmedic for any offence or distress caused by this incident. The comment was made by a role-play patient as part of an exam. All comments made by patients in exams are passed on to students as feedback
Photo Credit: @UniofNewcastle / Twitter
Photo Credit: @UniofNewcastle / Twitter

The university in question is Newcastle University, located in the United Kingdom. The thread went so viral on social media that the university was forced to address the accusations on Twitter. They apologized for the way that that @thegradmedic was treated, and that the yellow card she received was being rescinded.

“We would not want any student to come away from these exams feeling remarks like this in any way reflect the values of the University,” they wrote.

Not So Fast

A Twitter response from @thegradmedic: This is infactual information. It came apparently from the patient and examiner alike - I asked for verification that it came from the patient and received none - the investigation started with 'we asked the clinician' and ended with that.
Photo Credit: @UniofNewscastle / Twitter
Photo Credit: @UniofNewscastle / Twitter

Shortly after the university’s apology tweet was posted, @thegradmedic responded and said that they weren’t telling the whole truth, saying their “apology” was anything but. Not only did the university refused her request to not work with the examiner again, but they closed the investigation.

“This is infactual information,” she wrote. “It came apparently from the patient and examiner alike – I asked for verification that it came from the patient and received none – the investigation started with ‘we asked the clinician’ and ended with that.”

In Closing

Tweet from @thegradmedic: That said, I hope I've raised it in a way that is both appropriate but will invoke awareness/change. I hope it leads to wider questions being asked RE discrimination, policies, but also the freedom (or lack of) for students/doctors to discuss issues without fear or repercussions.
Photo Credit: @thegradmedic / Twitter
Photo Credit: @thegradmedic / Twitter

Finally, @thegradmedic adds that resorting to taking her grievances to Twitter was her only way of making any meaningful change against an issue that is still very much a real problem.

“I hope I’ve raised it in a way that is both appropriate but will invoke awareness/change,” she wrote. “I hope it leads to wider questions being asked RE discrimination, policies, but also the freedom (or lack of) for students/doctors to discuss issues without fear of repercussions.”