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Sign of compassion

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2002 - Spring


Emotions have a legitimate place in the practice of medicine, according to Associate Dean for Student Affairs Nancy R. Angoff, M.P.H. ’81, M.D. ’90, HS ’93. Writing in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association last fall, Angoff reported that of 182 Yale students surveyed, 133 said they had cried at least once during their first year of clinical rotations. Thirty had been on the verge of crying and only 19 said they didn’t cry even once. In her JAMA essay, “Crying in the Curriculum,” Angoff wrote that “medical educators who fail to look for or listen to stories of crying may be missing an opportunity to have an impact on students’ emotional [development as doctors]. … We should let [students] know that not only is it normal and okay, but it may be a sign of a valuable capacity for compassion.”

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