Professionalism according to webster’s dictionary -“the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well”.
This afternoon we discussed whether it is professional behavior to reflect compassion, empathy, etc. using body language. In the right setting i think it is not only appropriate, but expected that a physician join a patient down the emotional journey of illness. This does not mean a physician is expected to cry every time a patient’s family is grieving, but it should not be interpreted as a sign of weakness. We sought this profession (I hope) because we enjoy being caretakers, and sharing in the joys/horrors of the human experience. Patients seek us because they want a person to help and guide them. In the right setting, letting your feeling get the best of you may be just what a grieving family member needs.