Warning: this article may contain educational content. Those who don’t have any remaining available brain cells should proceed with caution.

A student, recently revising for his up and coming BGDB exam grew concerned about his development on the Piaget scale. So, like any good medical student, he attempted to apply Piaget’s theories of development to the real world i.e. medical school. The student shared these findings in the hopes that other medical students could identify their own developmental deficits before it’s too late.

Sensorimotor stage ( Phase 1 Students)

  • 0 – 6 weeks of first starting Med: Reflexes. You can’t help it. You don’t know of any other way to make friends. You had no life before medical school. It’s simply a reflex – “What ATAR did you get?”
  • 6 weeks – 4 months: Habits. You’re slowly conditioning yourself to shut up about ATAR. But now a new habit has emerged. You can’t seem to stop telling everyone you know that you do Medicine. It hurts you to even try holding it back. You can feel that vein on your forehead throbbing if you haven’t told someone in 5 minutes.
  • 8 – 9 months: Object Permanence. It finally hits you over the head. You’re actually studying to be a doctor. Crap
  • 9 – 12 months: Connections between ‘means’ and ‘ends’. In other words, ‘stress’ and ‘alcohol’.
  • 12 – 18 months: Learning new ways to cram for the EoP exam.

Pre-operational (Phase 2 Students)

  • The emergence of language. How are people going to realise you’re a Medical Student if you don’t drop a few buzz-words every now and then. Your friend has a common cold? Nah, it’s probably “methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus”.
  • Pretend Play. It’s becoming the norm to percuss on your friends whenever you can. You could win an Oscar for that counselling station. You have empathy buzz-words coming out of your nose.
  • However, you still fail in your logical reasoning at times, and try as you might, it’s hard understanding people who don’t do Medicine like you. But as it is, it’s alright – refer to b).

Concrete Operations (Phase 3 Students)

  • Basically, the stage where you get your shit together.
  • You actually start putting the information you learn to real life situations.
  • Empathy isn’t always faked. Hard to believe, but it’s true.

Formal Operations (Competent, Balanced, Reflective Practitioners)

  • This stage is characterised by the development of abstract thinking about subjects such as love, and sexual maturity.
  • Considering you’ll be stuck in medical school for six years and training until your middle-age crisis, it’s no surprise that not all medical professionals will ever reach this stage. In fact, a clinical trial of a robust sample size of 5 participants show that more than 50% of doctors will never reach this stage**.

**This trial never happened. It came to me in a dream.




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