The physician's tears: Experiences and attitudes of crying among physicians and medical interns

K.M.E. Janssens*, C. Sweerts, A.J.J.M. Vingerhoets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

We examined several aspects of the crying experiences of physicians and medical interns, including the most common reasons to cry in the workplace, and their perceptions of and attitudes towards crying in the workplace and in the presence of a patient. A sample of Dutch physicians and medical interns (Nphysicians = 1068 and Nmedical interns = 302 and for the full version Nphysicians = 776 and Nmedical interns = 181) completed an especially designed anonymous online questionnaire about experiences with crying in the workplace, and perceptions of and attitudes towards crying in the workplace and in the presence of patients. Crying is a rather frequent behavior among physicians, in particular when they have to deal with the severe suffering of patients and their relatives. We found a considerable variety in the attitudes and perception of crying in the work setting, although there was also much agreement that crying in the presence of a patient is only appropriate if it is over the condition of the patient. Physicians reported a slightly more positive attitude and a stronger need for more attention to this topic in training and education than medical interns. Crying in the medical setting is a common, though understudied phenomenon. There is a strong need for further research on this topic in order to understand it better and how and when it might interfere with or facilitate with the therapeutic process. We strongly feel that currently the time is ripe for this topic because in particular the physicians expressed a greater need for more attention to this topic in training and the medical interns showed signs of, perhaps unhealthy, suppression of their emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-420
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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Crying
Physicians
Workplace
Medical Education

Keywords

  • Attitudes
  • Crying
  • Experiences
  • Medical interns
  • Physicians
  • STUDENTS
  • Tears

Cite this

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title = "The physician's tears: Experiences and attitudes of crying among physicians and medical interns",
abstract = "We examined several aspects of the crying experiences of physicians and medical interns, including the most common reasons to cry in the workplace, and their perceptions of and attitudes towards crying in the workplace and in the presence of a patient. A sample of Dutch physicians and medical interns (Nphysicians = 1068 and Nmedical interns = 302 and for the full version Nphysicians = 776 and Nmedical interns = 181) completed an especially designed anonymous online questionnaire about experiences with crying in the workplace, and perceptions of and attitudes towards crying in the workplace and in the presence of patients. Crying is a rather frequent behavior among physicians, in particular when they have to deal with the severe suffering of patients and their relatives. We found a considerable variety in the attitudes and perception of crying in the work setting, although there was also much agreement that crying in the presence of a patient is only appropriate if it is over the condition of the patient. Physicians reported a slightly more positive attitude and a stronger need for more attention to this topic in training and education than medical interns. Crying in the medical setting is a common, though understudied phenomenon. There is a strong need for further research on this topic in order to understand it better and how and when it might interfere with or facilitate with the therapeutic process. We strongly feel that currently the time is ripe for this topic because in particular the physicians expressed a greater need for more attention to this topic in training and the medical interns showed signs of, perhaps unhealthy, suppression of their emotions.",
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The physician's tears : Experiences and attitudes of crying among physicians and medical interns. / Janssens, K.M.E.; Sweerts, C.; Vingerhoets, A.J.J.M.

In: Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, Vol. 26, No. 4, 2019, p. 411-420.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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