Psychiatrists are least religious of all physicians

unsung

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So.. on a cab ride to my interview, the driver goes "do you believe in God?" I was like :confused: And he tells me about how he read a study that a large portion of psychiatrists are atheists (I had mentioned being interested in the specialty). He was right! Just found this... kind of a fascinating study:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070903094243.htm
 

majahops

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There's no need to read an article on it (although you're awesome for sharing it!). It's perfectly logical that they would be the least religious. After all, the central supposition of their lives' work is that human mind and behavior are determined by a mix of chemicals, rather than spiritual "will" or divine guidance.


So.. on a cab ride to my interview, the driver goes "do you believe in God?" I was like :confused: And he tells me about how he read a study that a large portion of psychiatrists are atheists (I had mentioned being interested in the specialty). He was right! Just found this... kind of a fascinating study:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070903094243.htm
 

MadEvans

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So.. on a cab ride to my interview, the driver goes "do you believe in God?" I was like :confused: And he tells me about how he read a study that a large portion of psychiatrists are atheists (I had mentioned being interested in the specialty). He was right! Just found this... kind of a fascinating study:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070903094243.htm
Very interesting stuff... when a girlfriend of mine went to a PCP (for anxiety/depression) from her church that her mother recommended, they prescribed her antidepressants but didn't recommend her to see a psychiatrist. Possibly due to this religion bias... hmmmmmmmm.
 
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HeatherMD

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Honestly, the only real surprising thing is the number of doctors that are NOT atheists.
 

Chemist0157

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Atheists are a minority in general and that carries on throughout professions. Sure, there are some professions that are more this and some that are more that, but doctors handle life/death situations alot, and deal with all kinds of people, so it's not surprising many have a faith.

Someone should buzz over to the psychiatry forum and start a poll. I'd like to see if SDN parallels this article's data.
 

ar2388

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GoSpursGo

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Honestly, the only real surprising thing is the number of doctors that are NOT atheists.
:rolleyes:

majahops said:
There's no need to read an article on it (although you're awesome for sharing it!). It's perfectly logical that they would be the least religious. After all, the central supposition of their lives' work is that human mind and behavior are determined by a mix of chemicals, rather than spiritual "will" or divine guidance.
My girlfriend's dad is a psychiatrist, and is quite the religious person. So the ideas that the human mind can be influenced, rather than perhaps controlled, by both mixtures of chemicals than whatever you might define as "God" are not mutually exclusive.
 

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Very interesting stuff... when a girlfriend of mine went to a PCP (for anxiety/depression) from her church that her mother recommended, they prescribed her antidepressants but didn't recommend her to see a psychiatrist. Possibly due to this religion bias... hmmmmmmmm.
PCPs are generally qualified to diagnose and treat issues of depression and anxiety without referral to psychiatrists. Religion probably has nothing to do with it.
 

Sora

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:rolleyes:



My girlfriend's dad is a psychiatrist, and is quite the religious person. So the ideas that the human mind can be influenced, rather than perhaps controlled, by both mixtures of chemicals than whatever you might define as "God" are not mutually exclusive.
This is an interesting topic that is covered in most Philosophy of Mind courses. Alot of people have alot to say on this issue.
 

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PCPs are generally qualified to diagnose and treat issues of depression and anxiety without referral to psychiatrists. Religion probably has nothing to do with it.
everyone has depression these days by pharmaceutical company standards these days.
 

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Even more interesting: Though most psychiatrists don't believe in God, surveys show that very religious people are generally happier*, and consequently psychiatrists will actually advise people who are unhappy to find religion.

*I know that correlation does not equal causation.
 

Sora

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everyone has depression these days by pharmaceutical company standards these days.
These days indeed.

Pharmaceutical companies don't set standards like this. However, yes, they love it when people are diagnosed.
 
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HeatherMD

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sorry just realized I these-days'd that post twice.
 

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I think an even more interesting statistic about psychiatrists is that 86% of male psychiatric residents reported feeling sexually attracted to a patient.

Do the hot chicks go crazy or is being crazy hot?
 

Sora

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I think an even more interesting statistic about psychiatrists is that 86% of male psychiatric residents reported feeling sexually attracted to a patient.

Do the hot chicks go crazy or is being crazy hot?
Being crazy is HOT.
 

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I think an even more interesting statistic about psychiatrists is that 86% of male psychiatric residents reported feeling sexually attracted to a patient.

Do the hot chicks go crazy or is being crazy hot?

All hot chicks are crazy, but not all crazy chicks are hot. Scientific fact :prof:


I read it on a bathroom stall in a bar, so it has to be true, right??
 

majahops

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They aren't mutually exclusive, but they are certainly practically contentious as one critically analyzes the plausibility of their coexistence.

:rolleyes: My girlfriend's dad is a psychiatrist, and is quite the religious person. So the ideas that the human mind can be influenced, rather than perhaps controlled, by both mixtures of chemicals than whatever you might define as "God" are not mutually exclusive.
 

majahops

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I definitely expect to be sexually attracted to several patients... MANY patients... over my career. I can't control WHO walks through that door or whether I am sexually attracted to them. What I CAN control is how I act [or in this case, DO NOT ACT] on that sexual attraction.

To the poster who commented on my statement:
This is not the politically correct statement, but it is the honest, moral and forthcoming statement. Please, do me a favor... the minute I stop making those kind of statements, and begin censuring myself from saying completely reasonable and honest things, just shoot me because I've lost my humanity.

I think an even more interesting statistic about psychiatrists is that 86% of male psychiatric residents reported feeling sexually attracted to a patient.

Do the hot chicks go crazy or is being crazy hot?
 
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I looked at the article, which did not impress me with it's power of analysis or insight (hopefully the original paper was much better). I wouldn't draw too many conclusions from this one article about psychiatrists, many of whom are very religious, even if they don't happen to be Protestant or Catholic. The response rate was ~63%, which could explain some of the variation among specialties in terms of how religious they are. While psychiatrists might be less religious than other specialists, I would want to check that hypothesis out a little more before I came to that conclusion.

Shifting topics as above, the comments above about being sexually attracted to many patients sound like a really bad idea ("epic fail") even considering that the intent is not to act on those feelings. The comments are coming from pre-meds, and so there isn't any point in making much of them because attitudes will likely change with training. However, I seriously doubt many would ever be making that kind of comment after they have their MD (and probably not even in med school).
 

GoSpursGo

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Sora said:
This is an interesting topic that is covered in most Philosophy of Mind courses. Alot of people have alot to say on this issue.
Interesting. I'd be really interested to hear about some of the arguments put forth; does anyone have any good links?

Also, Majahops, I'll concede the issues are contentious at first glance, but I do think the two can be reconciled.

I looked at the article, which did not impress me with it's power of analysis or insight (hopefully the original paper was much better). I wouldn't draw too many conclusions from this one article about psychiatrists, many of whom are very religious, even if they don't happen to be Protestant or Catholic. The response rate was ~63%, which could explain some of the variation among specialties in terms of how religious they are. While psychiatrists might be less religious than other specialists, I would want to check that hypothesis out a little more before I came to that conclusion.

Shifting topics as above, the comments above about being sexually attracted to many patients sound like a really bad idea ("epic fail") even considering that the intent is not to act on those feelings. The comments are coming from pre-meds, and so there isn't any point in making much of them because attitudes will likely change with training. However, I seriously doubt many would ever be making that kind of comment after they have their MD (and probably not even in med school).
I think more likely the statements have to do with internet anonymity than lack of training. Remember, in an anonymous poll, 86% of male respondents DID report feeling sexually attracted to some of their patients. Doctors are humans, too; however, as professionals their job is to put those feelings aside and focus on getting the patient well.
 

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PCPs are generally qualified to diagnose and treat issues of depression and anxiety without referral to psychiatrists. Religion probably has nothing to do with it.
My psychology professor gets mad about primary doctors prescribing medicine for depression and anxiety because she feels like only psychiatrists are qualified to do that. I think she had the same opinion with diagnoses like ADD and ADHD too. This may or may not be in fact true, but she'd get pretty hot-headed about it.
 
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OncoCaP

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I think more likely the statements have to do with internet anonymity than lack of training. Remember, in an anonymous poll, 86% of male respondents DID report feeling sexually attracted to some of their patients. Doctors are humans, too; however, as professionals their job is to put those feelings aside and focus on getting the patient well.
Care to mention a source? I'm a guy and I must say, I don't feel attracted to female (or for that matter, male) patients at all. Patients don't turn me on ... they turn me off sexually. It's not that I dislike the patients; it's just that I'm there to learn how to do several things and maintain certain boundaries while doing that. Sometimes I actually need to unwind a little before I can return to normal life after seeing patients, so to speak. I could totally understand an OB/GYN (man) or urologist (woman) who tells the spouse, not tonight honey, not tonight; it's been a long day (need to block out certain traumatic images ...).
 

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Care to mention a source? I'm a guy and I must say, I don't feel attracted to female (or for that matter, male) patients at all. Patients don't turn me on ... they turn me off sexually. It's not that I dislike the patients; it's just that I'm there to learn how to do several things and maintain certain boundaries while doing that. Sometimes I actually need to unwind a little before I can return to normal life after seeing patients, so to speak. I could totally understand an OB/GYN (man) or urologist (woman) who tells the spouse, not tonight honey, not tonight; it's been a long day (need to block out certain traumatic images ...).
Idunno, it was mentioned by another poster before me. If you personally aren't sexually attracted to patients though (and for the record, I'm not saying I am either, actually), that doesn't make those who are somehow immoral as long as they don't act on it.
 

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My friend's dad is a psychiatrist and he is one of the more religious physicians I have seen in our cultural community. I guess it really depends upon an individual basis. On another note, I too am surprised that many physicians are not atheist. A lot of kids in high school who excelled in the sciences and perhaps school in general seemed to represent a fairly large atheist population.
 

majahops

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I should clarify my own comments. I didn't mean to say I expect to be sexually attracted to some female patients BECAUSE they are PATIENTS!!! I just meant that, a (straight) man will be attracted to a given number of females in general... and when they walk through the clinic doors, while my freedom to flirt with them may certainly be gone, that doesn't mean that the fact that I find them attractive will be gone. Though of course I would NEVER act on that attraction. I would maintain professional integrity at all times.

... That's all. There's nothing "sexy" about being a patient though, ha ha. Nothing.


Care to mention a source? I'm a guy and I must say, I don't feel attracted to female (or for that matter, male) patients at all. Patients don't turn me on ... they turn me off sexually. It's not that I dislike the patients; it's just that I'm there to learn how to do several things and maintain certain boundaries while doing that. Sometimes I actually need to unwind a little before I can return to normal life after seeing patients, so to speak. I could totally understand an OB/GYN (man) or urologist (woman) who tells the spouse, not tonight honey, not tonight; it's been a long day (need to block out certain traumatic images ...).
 

unsung

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Even more interesting: Though most psychiatrists don't believe in God, surveys show that very religious people are generally happier*, and consequently psychiatrists will actually advise people who are unhappy to find religion.

*I know that correlation does not equal causation.
Most psychiatrists DO believe in God... as do most physicians. Again, atheists are in the minority amongst both physicians in general, and psychiatrists in particular.

Also, I somehow doubt psychiatrists actually advise unhappy people to "find religion." Even working as a counselor, our policy is to NOT bring up religion unless the patient mentions religion on his/her own. It's fine to talk about faith/prayer/what have you if it is something important to the patient... but it's iffy to bring it up unprompted. Why would physicians be any different? It seems awfully unprofessional to, for example, suggest religion to someone who is atheist, or even to offer up something like "try prayer", as the very notion of "prayer" excludes many faiths/belief systems that don't involve prayer.

Etc. etc.
 

unsung

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My friend's dad is a psychiatrist and he is one of the more religious physicians I have seen in our cultural community. I guess it really depends upon an individual basis. On another note, I too am surprised that many physicians are not atheist. A lot of kids in high school who excelled in the sciences and perhaps school in general seemed to represent a fairly large atheist population.

I don't remember if this is in the article I linked to or not, but a large portion of scientists in the natural sciences (something like 30-40% iirc) are atheists. Significantly lower percentage of social scientists are atheists. Same goes for physicians-- much fewer atheists as compared to natural scientists.
 

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seriously though atheists are single most hated group in america. we are more likely to see a female black homosexual muslim president before an old white male atheist president.
 
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Watch out now, we will have a black president now and I'd say we were damn near close of having a woman president or vice president up there, too :p Will be interesting to see if another religion (or lack thereof) can be put up that high, though.
 

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Watch out now, we will have a black president now and I'd say we were damn near close of having a woman president or vice president up there, too :p Will be interesting to see if another religion (or lack thereof) can be put up that high, though.
didn't know being black or a woman was a religion :rolleyes:



just playing, I get what you mean
 

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Honestly, the only real surprising thing is the number of doctors that are NOT atheists.
I totally agree with this statement.

At least I dont understand how someone with the education a doctor has could believe that the bible is anything but allegorical.

A 500 year old man built an arc that carried 2 of every single type of animal that we have today....Really?

I would be scared to be treated by a physician that honestly believed that story 100%.
 

cyclin M

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A 500 year old man built an arc that carried 2 of every single type of animal that we have today....Really?
YES REALLY!

Why do you think there are no dinosaurs? Obviously this is because Noah could not fit them on his Ark. Also they would have devoured everyone on board...kinda like what happened in Jurassic Park: Lost World. That was a great movie although scientifically unsound.

Sorry I went off topic there. In summary: I am a big fan of sarcasm.:thumbup:
 

GoSpursGo

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I totally agree with this statement.

At least I dont understand how someone with the education a doctor has could believe that the bible is anything but allegorical.

A 500 year old man built an arc that carried 2 of every single type of animal that we have today....Really?

I would be scared to be treated by a physician that honestly believed that story 100%.
... which would be why an increasing number of Christians are coming to understand that the first half of Genesis or so as largely symbolic. This doesn't mean the Bible couldn't be divinely inspired, it just means that God wasn't to explain the process of creation in terms of the Big Bang and evolution to humans for whom the concept of science largely wasn't even in place at the time.

Again, science and religion are not mutually exclusive concepts. It's certainly possible to arrive at the conclusion independently that God doesn't exist, but to presuppose that there must be some logical disconnect in someone who continues to prescribe to religious teachings after getting substantial scientific training makes me bristle.
 

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... which would be why an increasing number of Christians are coming to understand that the first half of Genesis or so as largely symbolic. This doesn't mean the Bible couldn't be divinely inspired, it just means that God wasn't to explain the process of creation in terms of the Big Bang and evolution to humans for whom the concept of science largely wasn't even in place at the time.

Again, science and religion are not mutually exclusive concepts. It's certainly possible to arrive at the conclusion independently that God doesn't exist, but to presuppose that there must be some logical disconnect in someone who continues to prescribe to religious teachings after getting substantial scientific training makes me bristle.

So basically you are saying parts of the bible are true and others are NOT true? That does not make any sense because the bible is said to be all true. If the bible were only believed by a few people in the world those people would be considered insane.

Does it really make sense that there was a virgin birth? does it really make sense that someone could walk on water or part the red sea? Really? How about snakes talking? someone being turned into a pillar of salt for looking back at a town that was being destroyed? come on... How does a person decide what is "true" and what is simply symbolic?

As we begin to understand the world more and things that were said that happened in the bible (or any other holy text) are disproven with science, it becomes increasingly pathetic if not scary that people still believe in god as written in any holy text. Why do "miracles" on the scale they happened in the bible no longer happen today. Why are people not parting seas,turning water into wine, walking on water....?


Thus ends my rant. This was not directed at anyone, just getting off my chest how scary it would be for me to have someone operating on me that honestly believed some of these things.
 

cyclin M

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Why do "miracles" on the scale they happened in the bible no longer happen today. Why are people not parting seas,turning water into wine, walking on water....?
Yes, I would like to add that these have been busted on Mythbusters.:thumbup:
 

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Shifting topics as above, the comments above about being sexually attracted to many patients sound like a really bad idea ("epic fail") even considering that the intent is not to act on those feelings. The comments are coming from pre-meds, and so there isn't any point in making much of them because attitudes will likely change with training. However, I seriously doubt many would ever be making that kind of comment after they have their MD (and probably not even in med school).
Maybe you haven't done enough rotations yet. I once had a patient on an on-call day in my traumatology course who I found to be really cute looking and was blushing the whole time I was interviewing him why he came to the ER to write down the x-rays and consent form. The guy couldn't have been less interested in me, too bad. You'll eventually be faced with a patient you find to be really attractive, but you still have to be professional.

I have however found that it's more likely patients to be trying to give me their numbers or having erections than for me to find someone really attractive. Another thing a lot of med students will probably face someone during their rotations.
 

OncoCaP

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Psychiatrists also have the lowest Step 1 scores for entry.
Are your point is ??? I guess I'm not sure why it's necessary to look down on a particular specialty that is clearly needed and beneficial to mental health in our communities, families, and even schools. As long as they do their jobs well, who cares what their STEP 1 scores are?
 

GoSpursGo

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So basically you are saying parts of the bible are true and others are NOT true? That does not make any sense because the bible is said to be all true. If the bible were only believed by a few people in the world those people would be considered insane.

Does it really make sense that there was a virgin birth? does it really make sense that someone could walk on water or part the red sea? Really? How about snakes talking? someone being turned into a pillar of salt for looking back at a town that was being destroyed? come on... How does a person decide what is "true" and what is simply symbolic?

As we begin to understand the world more and things that were said that happened in the bible (or any other holy text) are disproven with science, it becomes increasingly pathetic if not scary that people still believe in god as written in any holy text. Why do "miracles" on the scale they happened in the bible no longer happen today. Why are people not parting seas,turning water into wine, walking on water....?


Thus ends my rant. This was not directed at anyone, just getting off my chest how scary it would be for me to have someone operating on me that honestly believed some of these things.
In general, the creation stories and the first half or so of Genesis, I would take symbolically; they were still divinely inspired to convey the idea that God personally took care of the creation of the universe but was put in terms that humans could understand some 3000 years ago. Aside from that, there are numerous books in the old testament that historians tend to recognize as fictional stories intended to teach the Jewish people religious values. New testament scholars commonly accept that the Gospel writers introduced their own biases and agendas into their gospels. Roughly half of the letters in the new testament attributed to Paul are now regularly acknowledged to have been written falsely under his name, and neither of the letters attributed to Peter were actually written by the first Pope.

I (and many others) would argue that these inconsistencies do not necessarily mean that the Bible is any less divinely inspired. The fact is that it was still physically penned by humans, and we're bound to get some stuff wrong, embellish certain parts, or inject our personal biases. So if you want me to give you a detailed list of which miracles recorded in the Bible happened and which ones should be taken symbolically, I can't answer that question. The most important part is the overarching message.

In general, outside of the first half of Genesis, I accept that any of the miracles that happen in the Bible could have happened, and I believe in the central parts of the Jesus story (the virgin birth, the teaching to the people, the crucifixion as the payment for sin, and the resurrection) and I believe that any of his miracles spoken of in the gospels could have happened. But considering how the texts were written by humans thousands of years ago and were not delivered directly from the mouth of God, I accept that there are probably some mistakes in the translation, so the important thing to me is the central message- specifically, that there is a loving God who created and is in control of the universe, and who sent his son Jesus to teach us how to live in accordance with God's will and to atone for humanity's sins. I do not see any reason why these beliefs cannot be reconciled to current scientific knowledge.

As for why miracles don't seem to happen on the scale that they did 2000 years ago, 1) my personal response is to wonder why God would feel any need to "prove" himself after already sending his son; what more could he possibly do to prove himself? and 2) to this day, there are still pilgrimage sites where pilgrims claim to come into contact with Jesus or the Virgin Mary, some even within the U.S. You won't hear about it because any reporter who reported on it would get laughed out of their career out of hand.

Again, let me stress I'm not demonizing anyone who disagrees and doesn't believe in the existence of God; although I will disagree with their interpretation of the world until the day I die, I will always respect their stance, as I can see where they're coming from and why they have come to the conclusion they have. All I ask is that in return that my position be respected as well; my religious beliefs in no way make me illogical, unqualified to be a physician, or a "quack."
 

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Honestly, the only real surprising thing is the number of doctors that are NOT atheists.
I don't believe this will remain true. I think that atheism will be a majority view in 100 years or less, and that's coming from a Christian.
 

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I don't believe this will remain true. I think that atheism will be a majority view in 100 years or less, and that's coming from a Christian.
At the very least, it will become a more accepted point of view.
 

OncoCaP

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Idunno, it was mentioned by another poster before me. If you personally aren't sexually attracted to patients though (and for the record, I'm not saying I am either, actually), that doesn't make those who are somehow immoral as long as they don't act on it.
Maybe it's OK with you, but from the way I look at things, it's just really creepy. The idea the person looking down that speculum is getting excited and perhaps fantasizing about having sex with the patient or that a surgeon performing a appendix removal is wishing he could get together with the patient in off hours for a physical "encounter," really rubs me the wrong way .... I hope all physicians are aiming for a much higher level of professionalism than that and have a bit better self-control, even when it comes to how they think about their patients. For me, the situation you describe in the same league as another situation where there is a professional and ethical responsibility ... say a daycare center worker was fantasizing about having sex with the kiddos but not acting on it. Is that a place where you would feel comfortable dropping off your kids because "we're all human" after all? Probably not. Granted it's not the same, but there is an analogous responsibility there and acting on either thought would be a crime.

Physicians and others who are entrusted with the lives and very private situations of others need to have a very well developed system of boundaries and self-control when it comes to how they interact ... having sexual thoughts about those who are vulnerable really doesn't sit well and makes me wish those individuals were in a different profession although I realize that's not necessarily practical thinking.
 
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I agree but it is unfortunately a reality. I've heard several plastic surgeons talk about how they'd rather work in an area where there are hot young flat-chested women. To be honest that tension is one of the main things that deters me from plastics. I know it's not all that plastics consists of, but it is there.
 

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It would be hard to claim that you have a personal relationship w/ God when every patient making the same claim is being admitted for a psych hold.
I don't doubt that sometime in the world's future people will be admitted into a psych ward for believing God - or at least go through some kind of intense psychoanalysis/therapy. I'm not saying any time soon, but it wouldn't surprise me much.
 
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