I don’t know how we got on the discussion of this in class one day – but one of my professors ended up saying to us that ‘doctors are not supposed to cry or show any emotions – ever’. This is something that may seem true to society – as physicians, we are not supposed to get involved, our job is to treat the patient and move on. Some doctors can be known to be cold, emotionless, and unbiased. However, I don’t necessarily agree with this.
As physicians, we are going to be involved in some very trying situations. There are times we are going to witness the death of a patient who we fight so hard to save. There are times we just won’t understand what went wrong. We are going to do everything in our power to treat a patient, and something is going to happen unexpectedly. Unfortunately, that is the reality we are going to be facing as physicians. Everything is not going to go as we plan, and everything is not always going to work out for the better. In those circumstances, when we fight so hard to do our job and it doesn’t work, when we feel like there’s nothing else we can do – then it only makes sense to react with some form of emotion.
People deal with emotions differently. Some cry, some get angry, some just want to be alone for a few hours/days. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a physician showing emotion. It means that we are human and we are passionate about what we do. Yes, as medical professionals, in most circumstances I don’t think we should break down right in front of the patient and their families – but in the comfort and privacy of our own space, I think it’s more than normal. I have found that when I am overwhelmed and emotional, all I need sometimes is an emotional moment in my room. Afterward, it feels like everything can only get better from there. After all, as future physicians, we are not robots like the world may think. We are human, just like our patients.