Korean J Med Educ.  2020 Sep;32(3):197-211. 10.3946/kjme.2020.167.

Negative school experiences of Late Millennial Korean medical students: a qualitative study using the critical incident technique

  • 1Department of Medical Education, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea
  • 2Department of Medical Education, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Yangsan, Korea
  • 3Department of Medical Education, Gachon University College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea
  • 4Department of Family Medicine, Catholic University of Daegu School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea
  • 5Department of Medical Education, Chungnam National University College of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea
  • 6Department of Internal Medicine, Chungnam National University College of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea
  • 7Department of Medical Education, Konyang University College of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea


Today's students have distinctive generational characteristics and increased psychopathology and generational tension. The authors investigated the negative experiences of Late Millennial students in medical school to draw implications for student support.
The authors explored medical students’ negative experiences using the critical incident technique. The authors conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with 13 medical students, between February and May 2016. The authors focused on occurrences that significantly influenced medical students’ school lives negatively from the students’ perspective. All interviews were recorded and transcribed. The authors classified incidents into frames of reference for the use of faculty development for student support.
The authors extracted 22 themes from a total 334 codes and classified them into eight subcategories. Finally, four categories emerged from frames of reference. Students manipulate relationships and colluding for better specialty choice. They experience uncontrolled rifts in interpersonal relationships between peers including lawsuits, sexual assaults, and social network service conflicts. Today’s students feel resentment towards dependent hierarchical relationships with seniors. They struggle with gender discrimination but perpetuate outdated gender role toward the opposite gender.
Faculty members should understand today’s students’ level of career stress and desire for work life balance. They should motivate students’ professional identity, promote assertiveness against unfair authorities, and focus on mental health, teamwork, and relationship building. All generations need to understand other generations and develop appropriate leadership and gender sensitivity.


Characteristics; Conflicts; Stress; Medical education; Qualitative research
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