Medical students who think they are doctors are often misinformed and have a limited understanding of their field.
A new study from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), found that, in many cases, these misinformed doctors often use the medical profession as a marketing tool to sell their practices.
The study surveyed more than 2,200 medical students at UCSF’s College of Medicine, and the majority of the students who completed the survey had received at least one marketing professional credential within the past three years.
“Our survey indicates that misinformed medical students have not been trained to understand and use a wide range of information in the medical field, and they often use medical credentials to promote their practices,” the authors of the study wrote.
“While the medical professionals who were surveyed believe they are medical doctors, their perceptions are often influenced by marketing and social influence.”
A lack of medical training also led to a significant number of medical students, especially those in primary care, believing they were specialists in their specialty.
The authors of their study also found that misperceptions about their specialties are likely influenced by social and marketing influences.
For example, in the study, only one in five medical students surveyed believed they were a primary care doctor, and that number was much lower among primary care doctors who were trained in another specialty.
“The vast majority of medical professionals, however, believe they have completed a specific set of specialties and specialized in a specific area of medicine, and their medical training has served them well in their field,” the study authors wrote.
The researchers hope their findings will help doctors, patients, and patients alike better understand their medical specialty and provide the necessary training for future doctors.