The maintenance of classism in medical education: “time” as a form of social capital in first-generation and low-income medical students

T. R. Wyatt*, A. Casillas, A. Webber, J. A. Parrilla, D. Boatright, H. Mason

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

As first generation (FG)/low income (LI) students enter the elite profession of medicine, schools make presumptions about how FGLI students allocate their time. However, their lives are markedly different compared to their peers. This study argues that while all forms of capital are necessary for success, time as a specific form keeps classism in place. Using constructivist grounded theory techniques, we interviewed 48 FGLI students to understand where, why and how they allocated their time, and the perceived impact it had on them. Using open coding and constant comparison, we developed an understanding of FGLI students’ relationship to time and then contextualized it within larger conversations on how time is conceptualized in a capitalist system that demands time efficiency, and the activities where time is needed in medical school. When students discussed time, they invoked the concept of ‘time famine;’ having too much to do and not enough time. In attempting to meet medicine’s expectations, they conceptualized time as something that was ‘spent’ or ‘given/taken’ as they traversed different marketplaces, using their time as a form of currency to make up for the social capital expected of them. This study shows that because medical education was designed around the social elite, a strata of individuals who have generational resources, time is a critical aspect separating FGLI students from their peers. This study undergirds the idea that time is a hidden organizational framework that helps to maintain classism, thus positioning FGLI students at a disadvantage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-566
Number of pages16
JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • First-generation medical students
  • Social capital
  • Time

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