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First Do No Self HarmUnderstanding and Promoting Physician Stress Resilience$
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Charles Figley, Peter Huggard, and Charlotte Rees

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780195383263

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383263.001.0001

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Laughter for Coping

Laughter for Coping

Medical Students Narrating Professionalism Dilemmas

Chapter:
(p.67) 4 Laughter for Coping
Source:
First Do No Self Harm
Author(s):

Charlotte E. Rees

Lynn V. Monrouxe

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383263.003.0004

Professionalism dilemmas are common across the medical education continuum. They often challenge medical students’ thinking about professionalism and shape their future professional attitudes and behaviors. They can also cause medical students significant distress. This chapter illustrates how students narrate their professionalism dilemmas and explores the function of laughter. This chapter presents an in-depth analysis of two personal incident narratives from two in different academic years at different schools to help illustrate the multiplicity of functions of laughter around the common dilemma situation of the intimate examination. Although the functions of laughter in the recounting of professionalism dilemmas are consistent with previous research, our focus on laughter helps reveal otherwise hidden insights into the emotional impact of professionalism dilemmas on our student narrators. We urge medical educators to provide a safe forum for students in which they feel supported in narrating their difficult stories in whatever way they wish. We also urge medical educators not to condemn students if they narrate their dilemmas with laughter, as laughter enables students to negotiate the complexities of ‘telling’ their story and helps them navigate the processes of coping with professionalism dilemmas.

Keywords:   professionalism dilemma, emotional impact, laughter, coping, professional behaviors, medical student support

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