Should Doctors Cry? (1)
Go to retired doc's thoughts where James writes his views of the article in the March 2, 2005 issue of JAMA by E.B. Larson and X. Yao who suggested that method acting be part of the training and use by physicians in creating effective empathy in the patient-doctor relationship. I wrote a comment there but I also wanted to extend the issue a bit here on my blog.
One of the emotional issues which my first year medical students experience and are concerned about is what should they do if the story related by the patient in the bed in front of them is causing the student to feel so sad that tears are welling up in the student's eyes. They ask because they have experinced this reaction. The students ask me "should doctors cry?"
In view of the article, the question arises should doctors be actors and train to supress any emotional unsupportive response on their part whether sadness or anger or any form of irritability? And in the other direction, should they act fresh, composed, in tip-top mental and physical condition, happy and encouraging even when the doctor feels just the opposite? After all, shouldn't the doctor always be therapeutic in their behavior to the patient and wouldn't showing the wrong emotion be not helpful for the patient?
Before I go on any further, I would like to read the views of my visitors, both as a patient or as a physician, on this subject. ..Maurice.