JavaJam

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This is perhaps a silly question but how did you learn to deal with seeing difficult images in lectures and textbooks?
We just did a few weeks of serious congenital malformations (like holoprosencephaly, caudal dysgenesis etc...)
I'm trying to brace myself to study a chapter on ichthyosis harlequin right now. I know it's really stupid coming from someone who's trying to become a doctor.
I should absolutely learn to be less unnerved by the images. I think this is the exact reason they include them in the lectures. How did you "train" yourself?
 

sunshinefl

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This is perhaps a silly question but how did you learn to deal with seeing difficult images in lectures and textbooks?
We just did a few weeks of serious congenital malformations (like holoprosencephaly, caudal dysgenesis etc...)
I'm trying to brace myself to study a chapter on ichthyosis harlequin right now. I know it's really stupid coming from someone who's trying to become a doctor.
I should absolutely learn to be less unnerved by the images. I think this is the exact reason they include them in the lectures. How did you "train" yourself?
You see them like once, you go “oof” or “wow” or “oooo” and then move on with your day. I’m not trying to minimize your feelings. I would probably have a stronger reaction if I saw it IRL in one of my patients. But just in path pictures in pre-clinical years? I might cringe for 2 seconds and then it’s over.
 
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M&L

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i like of try to turn my "analytical" brain on. LIke, instead of thinking "oh wow, this is horrible", i am "oh, so how is this different from physiological? can i remember this? would would cause this? etc".
 
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Exposure therapy...the more you see it, the more “normal” it will become to see those images.
 
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Smurfette

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This is perhaps a silly question but how did you learn to deal with seeing difficult images in lectures and textbooks?
We just did a few weeks of serious congenital malformations (like holoprosencephaly, caudal dysgenesis etc...)
I'm trying to brace myself to study a chapter on ichthyosis harlequin right now. I know it's really stupid coming from someone who's trying to become a doctor.
I should absolutely learn to be less unnerved by the images. I think this is the exact reason they include them in the lectures. How did you "train" yourself?

I saw a harlequin baby once when I was a resident. I had no idea what it was before I saw it, but will never forget. For those who are about to google it...warning, it is quite disturbing.

Everyone has things that freak them out. Thankfully most of us can go into fields where it is rare or never that we would see some of the things that are the worst triggers. But you're right, exposure does help.

As an anecdote, I was once in a grand rounds/M&M conference with dozens of seasoned, hard core surgery attendings who were pretty much from the "I've seen it all, nothing really bothers me" genre. Well, Ophtho presented a picture of a luxated and ruptured globe and several of the attendings gasped in horror and started yelling "change the slide!" "take it down!", making most of us residents giggle (we cringed at the pictures too, but it was hilarious to witness our attendings practically duck under their seats to stop seeing the images being presented). Another warning to those wanting to google this.
 
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hmockingbird

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Remember that there are real people behind the images. It helps change your perspective from one of shock/horror to compassion — wow that seems painful, this must be a hard condition to live with, etc.

(Side note there is a movement to humanise clinical images for this reason.)
 
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FrkyBgStok

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As a pediatrician, I initially struggled with the child abuse images, especially with the sexual abuse. At some point you realize that there is a reason you are learning to recognize this and get more comfortable with it because 1) it is real and you can’t ignore it, and 2) it could potentially save someone’s life if you recognize it early.

Maybe not as useful if you don’t go into peds, but maybe you could apply it to your studies. A little plug for the abuse picture though. There are a lot of times we get a child referred in from outside hospitals seen by a myriad of “adult” physicians and when the get to us it takes seconds to recognize the missed abuse. So spend time with the things that make you the most uncomfortable.
 
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