June 19, 2015

Sample Letter for Ob/Gyn Clerkship

Many students are especially nervous about their obstetrics/gynecology clerkship.  Below is a sample letter that other students have found useful in communicating their stance on beginning-of-life issues.

Dear Clerkship Director:

  I am a third year medical student who will be beginning my obstetrics and gynecology clerkship in MONTH.  I have heard great reviews from my classmates about this clerkship!  I look forward to learning more in depth about the complexities of the female reproductive system and the miracle of life’s earliest beginnings.  I am very thankful for this opportunity to participate in such a private and potentially sensitive part of a woman’s life.  Out of respect for the patients who will invite me into their lives and the physicians who will invite me into their clinics, I wanted to be very up front about several potential issues that may arise during the clerkship.

  I am Roman Catholic, and as you may be aware, the Catholic Church has taken a very strong position about reproductive health.  I am grateful both for the federal laws that protect the conscience rights of medical professionals and the church’s clear teachings that have helped me to build that conscience.

  The first (and probably most well known) issue is abortion. I respect the sanctity of human life in all stages, including the unborn and cannot in good conscience participate in or train for any procedures that destroy unborn human life, nor can I recommend to a woman that she pursue abortion.

  The second set of issues has to do with fertility. I believe that fertility is a gift and something to be respected, not suppressed by either sterilization procedures or artificial contraception.  I understand that one of the learning goals for the clerkship involves the study of tubal ligation.  While I am happy to show I have learned about tubal ligation, I cannot in good conscience participate in this procedure.  If I am scrubbed into c-sections with a planned tubal ligation, I will choose to step away from the table at that time.

  Finally, I saw many learning objectives related to contraception on the Web site.  Again, I am happy to learn about the different types of contraception as long as I do not need to participate in their recommendation or administration.  I know that a student’s role in counseling or prescription of contraception is usually limited, but before awkward situations arise in clinic, I wanted to make it clear that I cannot in good conscience help place IUDs, print prescriptions for contraceptive pills or recommend to women other means of artificial contraception.

  Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns; I trust there will not be a problem with any of the above.  If you would like to talk to me further about any of these things or if you think any sort of make up project would be necessary because of the procedures/clinical activities I choose not to participate in, please let me know.  Thank you for your understanding and I look forward to working with you!



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