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What is the hardest thing you had to handle as a doctor?


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Carmelita’s Answer

The question of the hardest thing I've ever had to do as a doctor actually is not completely related to the practice of medicine itself and is something I don't think many young people are ever counseled about.

Delivering bad news to patients and their families is definitely one of the more humbling, if not challenging, aspects of the job. It sounds completely contrary to why we enter the profession (to help people and cure people), but early on in my career, the supervising physician (the "Attending" as we call them), taught us that we had to steel ourselves as doctors so we don't internalize and make patients' suffering our own. We had to learn how to remain objective while delivering compassionate care. Sometimes, this is easier said than done.

Work-Life balance. It is important to understand that the demands of the profession will put a strain on nearly every aspect of your life. The training period in residency and the time afterwards come with long hours away from home. The stress of the work including sleep deprivation and the physical, emotional and psychological stress, if not addressed, can have harmful effects. It is critical to have a stable support network of friends and family to help you get through this time. This includes giving serious consideration to your choice of mates and your decision to have a family.


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Rahul’s Answer

The fact that there was a hypnotic environment created around me, when I joined a postgraduate training programme in Palliative medicine in India, where I was made to feel priveledged and inept at the same time. My lack of response to a narrative that had been cultivated around me since childhood(as part of a spiritual and quasi political obligation), led me to missing out on playing a more active role in the management of the cancer patient. While, the path towards a position has been littered with many lies,
I do continue to work towards reaching my goal of seeking justice for the student that exists within me.

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Estelle’s Answer

Vanisha, this is a great question! You really made me think about it. I have been a gynecologic surgeon for 30 years. I enjoy my job tremendously. The hardest part of my job is dealing with surgical complications. Surgery is an inexact science and the human body is very complicated. There are occasionally going to be complications, but the most important thing is to learn from those cases, ask for help from colleagues, and become better and better at your craft. Treating complicated cases and helping people, even if your help is just to provide a compassionate visit, is probable the most rewarding.
Good luck to you.

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