Pimping Med Students


The art of Pimping: pimping occurs when an attending physician (the Pimper) poses a series of difficult questions to a resident or medical student (the Pimpee).

Pimping usually occurs in settings such as “morning report” or “attending rounds,” in which trainees at various levels convene with a faculty member to review patients currently under their care.

So what is the cure?

  • Avoidance, Do not have visual contact with the teacher
  • The Muffin, the pimpee holds a large muffin in the dominant hand with the elbow flexed, and slowly makes motions with the elbow that move the muffin toward and away from the mouth, somewhat like the graphical lines representing the attitudes of focus group
    members used by television networks while watching the recent presidential debates (ie, closer to the mouth if the pimpee does not know the answer, further if he or she does)
  • The Hostile Response, respond in a hostile fashion, both with the tone of voice and body language. Most pimpers don’t like taht and refrain from further questioning at that instance and near future
  • The Pimpee should just repeat the response given by a previous respondent and pretend he or she did not hear it
  • Honorable Surrender, tell the pimper you are uncomfortable
  • Pimp Back, pimpers usually do not like to be pimped so be careful
  • The Politician’s Approach, do not answer the question that the attending asked but talk straight to the audience (ie, ignore the pimper) by answering a question you would have preferred being asked
  • Pimpers might avoid students with visible PDAs because they know these students can pimp back
  • Do Not Sulk/Cry, pimpees who answer incorrectly should not become overly discouraged. Pimpers rarely remember students who give wrong answers (especially to difficult questions); they often remember those who lose their composure

This article also has advice for pimpers but they can find out themselves, besides they are the one’s abusing their position.

The lesson is to not take pimping too seriously and remember that often more can be learned from incorrect answers than from correct ones.

What do you think, does Pimping still appears and is it useful in medical education?

Detsky, A. (2009). The Art of Pimping JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 301 (13), 1379-1381 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2009.247