Are good doctors also good actors and should doctoress be a word?

As always Victo Dolore with her Behind the White Coat blog is a great inspiration for my blog posts.
She blogged in her own serious manner about the pain doctors feel when their patients die or suffer.

In my reply, I compared my job to a job of an actress ( I know the politically correct thing might be to say actor like doctor, but I am old fashioned and I would prefer calling myself a “ doctoress” if there was such word). That way people would know I am a woman!

I remember watching a concert of a famous Czech chansonniere Hana Hegerova. She sung either Czech translations of songs by Gilbert Becaud, Jacque Brel or Edit Piaf, but mainly original Czech songs. Every song was a small theatre performance and a story. There were little accidental bits in the concert- her tripping over or supressing a chuckle, spontaneous charming imperfections.

At least that is what I thought.
I went to another of her concerts when a friend offered me a ticket 8 months later. The performance was identical, the tears, the imperfections, everything. It was as if I was watching a recording of her previous concert.
Instead of being disappointed, I thought:  “What a professional ! ”
I learnt something that night.
In my surgery, my questions, concern, my reaching hand squeezing hand of a patient, my sad concerned eyes or joy of good news, my eyes sparkling, I do hope that I can fool my patients in the same way Hana Hegerova fooled me. That my patients will feels special, cared for, with a doctor expressing real human interest in them especially.While I keep my cool detachment so that I could concentrate on good diagnosis, management plan, observe the clues, symptoms, their reaction. My interest is real, professional and human, But I am there as a doctor, they are my patients, not my friends.
And I can be a better doctor for them if I keep a cool head.

I used to play theatre when I was a teenager. Apparently I was rather good. The teacher in my drama group wanted me to study acting at university. I didn’t. But in a way, I get to act every day.

And I hope for the sake of my patients, that I am as good an actress as I am a good doctoress.  It is a nice word- isn’t it?


6 thoughts on “Are good doctors also good actors and should doctoress be a word?

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