In a previous post, I make a comment about how I sometimes (frequently) feel tearful when I'm on call. At the risk of putting myself out there, I'll admit I've definitely cried on call before. A few of the events that have pushed me over the edge:
--My senior resident telling me at the end of my 30 hour call that even though I was off duty, she expected me to go watch my patient get a colonoscopy. ("It might be painful, but you better go because it's worth it for your education!")
--Spending 14 straight hours rounding on 70 patients on a Saturday and finally getting home, only to immediately get called back to the hospital for chest pain the patient had been having all day and decided not to tell me about.
--After an entire afternoon of coding a patient multiple times and finally agreeing it was hopeless, when the nurse said, "The patient's daughter wants to hold his hand as he goes."
After a while, I got a little better at holding it in till I got to my car, where I'd really let loose.
When I mentioned my frequent tears in a previous post, I think a few people may have called me "emotionally unstable" in the comments or something along those lines. All I have to say to that if that's the case, there are a hell of a lot of emotionally unstable med students and residents out there.
Of the residents and med students I've worked with, I've gotten to see a lot of them cry. In my intern year ICU rotation, I saw practically every female resident working there cry at some point. My senior resident cried when she realized the next morning that she missed a pneumothorax (wouldn't have mattered). She also cried when the coroner yelled at her post-call for incorrectly declaring a patient. I even saw the "badass" senior resident on the team crying one afternoon.
In med school... wow, it happened a lot. After exams, before exams, just randomly in the locker room. I remember during my surgery clerkship, we were having a workshop on tying knots, and one student was having trouble with her knots and burst into tears. I still remember what she said: "I don't even feel that sad. I'm just SO TIRED."
I guess my point is that you shouldn't be made to feel like an emotionally screwed up freak if you cry at some point (or multiple points) in your medical training (or beyond). Unless, of course, you're a man and you cry. Then you're weird.
(I have never once seen a male resident or med student cry before. I wonder why that is. Do they just not feel it or are they better at holding it in?)