There is a moving and well written Perspective in this week’s NEJM, written by an Australian physician, Ranjana Srivastava. It is about the premature death of a close colleague. It contains an interesting account of a conversation with a medical student. The student tells the author how deeply she misses the deceased colleague.
“The other students are saying I must get over it or I’ll never become a real doctor. They say real doctors don’t cry. This has forced me to think about what specialty I might pursue where I don’t have to deal with loss.” I stare at her incredulously. Fighting back tears, she ventures, “Do you think I should see a psychiatrist?”
“To learn how to experience loss properly. I really want to be a good doctor,” she says. “I want to be strong to help others.”
My incredulity is replaced by alarm that we impart such pernicious messages to impressionable future doctors.
Amen. [link for this post]