Wounds Under the White Coat

When was the last time you opened up about how your job was making you feel? I mean honestly got in touch with the emotions you were experiencing not just bitching about this or that and how nothing/everything changes?

I see this as one area of improvement in the physician world. How many times do we examine others for wounds, hidden pathology, ouchies but fail to do the same for ourselves?

How many times do we interact with a patient, do an excellent job for them but walk away from the situation a little (or a lot) beat up ourselves?

When do we give ourselves the time to heal, mend, process?

For many physicians, this was a skill set never taught to them. It was always, “Move on to the next room” -or- “It wasn’t that bad” -or- “Don’t cry/show emotion in front of patients/staff. It shows you’re weak and they won’t respect you.”

Obviously, there’s a time and a place to debrief but, seriously, when’s the last time you did?

Recently, I’ve been advocating and promoting physician gatherings to help docs shed their clinical personna and allow the person underneath to be seen.

I’m proud to say that this approach is helping colleagues. Because just like with any ulcer, if it’s undiscovered, it will still cause harm. Like any abscess, if it’s not opened and drained, it likely will only worsen. 

I ask, “Do you have any lingering sores that need exposed so they can heal?” 

Are there still patient encounters or events that you still think on, dream about or flash back to maybe even if they happened 3, 5 or 10 years ago? 

Does a certain diagnosis send chills up your spine because you automatically are back in the past? 

Are there particular places, people or things you avoid because it triggers uncomfortable emotions or memories?

If so, my friend…it’s time to take off the white coat and just talk, feel and be. You can do this formally with a therapist, coach or debriefing specialist. You can do it informally with a peer, colleague or trusted friend. It’s time…just start talking!

If you are seeking this type of support, Dr. Weisman encourages you to reach out to her HERE.

Join 3,612 other subscribers