If you go to any health care conference all around you, you will see a bunch of very serious professionals. Dedicated to their cause, they are taking it very seriously. It is rare to see anyone laughing, and conversations about health care and research matters are taken very seriously. People get upset about things, and they express their hurts, and sometimes, people storm out of meetings. It can be intense!
It is the same on hospital wards and in consulting rooms. Doctors as a rule are a very serious group of people. We are trained to be that way. You need to look serious to be taken seriously, or so we learn.
But what kind of a way is this to live life?
In all seriousness (yes, yes, pun intended ;)) why can we not have fun at work?
Why can we not have fun and enjoy ourselves when we discuss things?
Does it all have to be SO serious and intense?
Do we have to look serious and intense to show that we are paying serious attention to things? To show that we care?!
What might happen if we kept things light?
What might happen if we saw the lighter side of things when things didn’t seem quite right to us in a discussion about a certain matter?
And what if we kept things light when somebody dared to disagree with our point of view, in public of all things! As everyone knows in academia, differing opinions can be the start of a very intense exchange…
Yet, when we are born and we are small, we know how to enjoy life. We know how to laugh, and how to enjoy ourselves. It’s usually not a disaster if we fall over and make our bottom a little bit wet……. Small children naturally laugh with each other, unless they have been traumatised…
Is this perhaps what happens to us in the medical profession?
I wonder, do we perhaps become traumatised through the way that we are educated and trained, and through our professional experiences and use being ‘serious’ as a coping mechanism?
Is this perhaps one of our modes of defence and protection from trauma, our serious faces projecting out against the traumas of the world, both actual and perceived?
And what do we think our professional seriousness will prevent… Continue reading