Half of doctors break down in tears at work

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Almost half of Dutch doctors sometimes cry in the workplace, a quarter of them even do so in front of a patient, according to a survey done by the University of Tilburg among 776 Dutch doctors. The results were published in medical magazine Medisch Contact on Wednesday.

Half of female doctors and a quarter of male doctors cried at work at least once this year, the survey found. A quarter of all the respondents cried in front of the patient this year.

The doctors feel uncomfortable when this happens, and would rather that it not, but colleagues and patients usually show sympathy. Most of the doctors indicated that when a doctor cries in front of the patient, it does not make him a bad doctor, but it is better to give another emphatic reaction. Among patients, the opinions are more divided. Half of the questioned patients thought it inappropriate and 41 percent thought it shows empathy and compassion.

The most common reasons for a doctor to cry at work is because of a patient's touching story or suffering. It sometimes also happens that a doctor breaks down in tears because of personal circumstances or the daily workload.