We’re doctors, but we’re humans too

We are human, we are not indestructible. We have feelings and emotions that can get hurt, probably more than the average person based on the careers we have chosen. Yes, we will pass up on our well-being (such as sleep, hygiene, exercise, relationships with family and friends) to be there for our patients. To receive our critical training to be able to care for others. This is our sacrifice, and we did it knowingly. We do it because of how much we care. We do it because, for many of us, this is our calling. We do it because want to help people. We want to make them better.

But here’s the thing: We are not made of stone, we cannot withstand abuse and neglect and still give to others in the same capacity. Yes, we are doctors, but we are human too.

In medicine, there is a very malignant environment that is just accepted. As eager medical students, we are only trying to please and learn as much as we can. And our attendings (supervising physicians) may sometimes give us a “good job,” when we know the right diagnosis or assist in an appropriate way. We also get told when we are not doing something right, as we should be told and learn from our mistakes. As we enter residency (some being more malignant than others), the kudos slowly disappear, and there’s an overlying expectation of always doing the right thing. Yes, we can ask questions. Yes, we are encouraged to learn, But if there is an error, which there will be, there is no more sugar coating. There is no more talking to us in such a manner so we can learn from our mistakes, rather it’s shaming us into never wanting to try again. There is no more “good job.” I can take care of 30 patients well, but only ever hear of the one I missed something on. I wish this were an exaggeration, but it’s not.

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