The Day I Cried in Hospital

Yesterday was a bad day.

It’s been a bad couple of weeks, emotionally; me being weaker than I ever thought I could be. I’ve been able to retain my composure mostly.

However, during ward rounds our consultant looked up disinterestedly while I was presenting a rather interesting patient and said, “Today is your last day, isn’t it? So why is it that you can’t calculate the feeds of these children?”

ยฉ Jill Greenberg, “End Times”

At the beginning of our rotation my partner and I had asked the sixth years to teach us the formulae for feeds. They tried kind of half-heartedly and told us that it wasn’t part of our outcomes. The registrar ย agreed.

So I responded, not in a sarcastic tone, “I’m sorry – I was under the impression it was only part of the sixth-year outcomes.”

And she responded, “I’m sorry, how old are you?”

She then went on a tirade of how even if it wasn’t in our outcomes we should have learned it. Her tirade consisted mostly of personal insults.

We committed to reading it up and moved on to my next patient. And then my eyes started tearing. And my voice got all husky.

“Sorryitsbeenareallybadday canipleasejustgocalmmyself”

And out I went. In tears. They were big violent sobs.

It was kind of embarrassing. I don’t let people who don’t know me get me down. I’ve never cried in a clinical setup, not even when a patient died. I wait for the privacy and security of my room.

I don’t know why this affected me so much. I guess it doesn’t help that for the past two weeks, we have been mainly ignored by the rest of the team. Our (valid) questions go unanswered. Our input into difficult diagnoses is ignored. We had three OSCEs today, and not once were we told what to expect. Not once were we tutored in anything except breastfeeding and X-rays.

So after really going the extra mile for a team that seemed to be inconvenienced by our presence, I guess I didn’t feel they reserved the right to scold us for not sniffing that we were expected to know something.

I managed to calm myself down, but every time somebody made eye-contact with me the hot tears welled up. I have cramps in my jaw today from clenching my teeth so much.

It didn’t get better after hospital. I was teary for the rest of the day.

It was weird for me. I don’t cry a lot. Ever.

Consultants are mean, and often. I don’t mind being grilled for answers. I find it thrilling, actually. But personal insults in a professional environment are just so… unprofessional. Here’s hoping I’m stronger next time.


  1. doctorsprout says:

    So sorry you had a bad day! I’ve had a similar week – our school administration is just so unprofessional sometimes – and it makes me so angry. I guess we will find doctors like that everywhere. Stay strong! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks a lot for the support. I appreciate it. Strongs to you too!

  2. TBM says:

    Oh I am so sorry. You are under a lot of stress and this person doesn’t have the best social skills. Keep up the good work, others will notice.

    1. Thanks so much – I’m feeling better already…

  3. Awwww *serious hugs given*. I actually teared up just reading this post (I am a crier…I wish I wasn’t as I embarass myself and others on a regular basis!) Don’t feel bad about it- everyone has been there and it is horrible to be unjustifiably told off when you know you were doing your best. I cry when anyone tells me off…it is like a defence mechanism or something I think from childhood- maybe I know subconsciously that water coming our of my eyes will make them back off and be nicer! It is a horrible feeling to be put down publicly and humiliated, and having to hold in the tears is awful too. Things will get better though- I know it doesn’t feel like it after a really bad day but you will get nicer people, or the person will apologise, or someone else will praise you and you will feel good again. It’s ups and downs and some people are just plain mean and unprofessional; ignore them and just keep your head down. Hope you feel better soon x

    1. I love hugs – thank you! Defense mechanism… makes sense. She did stop when the waterworks came out, although that could be more the fact that I left the room ๐Ÿ˜‰
      I’m done with the rotation for the next year, and in my exam today the examiner told me I did well, so.. you’re right ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks again xX

  4. Sorry it was such a rough day and you’re not being treated better by the people on your service. If it’s any consolation, I’ve cried at the hospital (publicly) at least five times over the six years of my training. Medicine is exhausting and demoralizing, and sometimes we just need to get our frustrations out with a good cry.

    1. Thanks Solitary – you come across as quite strong in your blog so it’s good to know it’s happened to you too. My current firm isn’t any better actually, but I’m counting the days to the end of this rotation on Sunday.

  5. melaniesmusingsnet says:

    After such a long, hard couple of weeks, it’s no wonder. I hate it when people think you’re magically supposed to know something, without thoroughly teaching you. I hope your weekend brings you some peace!

  6. Erin says:

    *hugs* Keep in mind that you’ve not done anything wrong. I hope you get a friendlier team on your next rotation ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I just read this entry, and I am so sorry you were treated so unprofessionally. I wish you much more humane and even more knowledgeable mentors in the future.

  8. nazirahidris says:

    I hate it when consultants or head of departments a.k.a top dogs forget what it’s like to be a medical student. Chin up, mate! ๐Ÿ™‚

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