Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lingo and Humour on Rounds - Getting by with laughter

I just had a friend send me a link to a BBC article that really sums up some of the humorous release that goes on within medical circles.  A lot of it (the North American equivalents) can be found in Samuel Shem's book, House of God.  The article claims that the art of obtusely making derogatory statements is now on its way out.  I agree with that thought.  In orthopedics we tend to take shots at one-another rather than make comments about patients.

Humour is one of the coping strategies that medical professionals use to deal with the daily emotional bungee jump.  Without a coping strategy the amount of work and significance of the problems providers face would definitely drive many people to look around for a more relaxed job (Rheuma-holiday - as per the article?).  Psychologists tell us that humour is a mature and constructive coping strategy.  The article definitely shows the dark side of that.

The best coping strategy is seeing patients doing well though.  Being in clinic when a patient returns satisfied with the results of treatment is the moment that many physicians use to power through all the tough times and long hours.  Laughter is good, but patient satisfaction trumps all.

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