Surgeons are known for many traits. It is hard to become a surgeon, so their career stands for excellence, discipline, and life-saving procedures. They also enjoy high salaries, prestige, and the public’s admiration.
Unfortunately, as human beings, there are rude and boastful surgeons as well. Try typing “Why are surgeons so… ” on Google and watch the autofill continue with “arrogant” or “rude.”
This perception affects how some patients see the surgical field, discouraging people from interacting with surgeons. Worse, research shows that rude surgeons can bring complications to patients as they recover.
This article will settle this issue through research and the response of the surgeons themselves.
But first, we must define what arrogance is. Different dictionaries provide this word with shades of meaning that can shed light on this issue.
- According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, arrogance means boastfully asserting superiority and a sense of importance.
- Oxford Languages defines it as the quality of exaggerating one’s significance and capabilities.
- Cambridge Dictionary says that it means proudly and rudely acting like he is more knowledgeable and valuable than others.
- The Dictionary website defines it as offensively showing superiority and pride.
Arrogance is despicable. But why do many surgeons bear this perception?
Many people have different experiences with surgeons, including arrogant ones. Some surgeons can be disrespectful and overbearing to the patients.
During rounds and operations, some surgeons talk down on the nurses and assistants. Some surgeons can also be assertive that they belong to this career.
Television series and movies about surgeons may also reinforce these negative experiences and stereotypes. Antagonists in these shows embody overbearing and rude surgeons.
But it is wrong to conclude that all surgeons are arrogant and boastful.
Just like every career and workplace, different kinds of people make up the surgical industry. Surgeons can be kind or haughty, funny or serious, silent or outgoing, generous or selfish, and humble or arrogant.
It is a grave mistake to judge all surgeons because of the attitudes of the few. Instead, we should see surgeons for who they are—people like you and me.
Boastfulness is condescending. But it is important to empathize with surgeons who break down and fall into arrogance.
At this point, we will understand where they are coming from, not to excuse such behaviour, but have compassion toward them.
First, surgeons face the temptation of God-complex. Every day, they strive to save lives with their knowledge and almost-exclusive skillset. Because of this, they tend to assert their worth and self-importance.
Their harsh experiences in medical school and their surgical training leave a lasting impact on the surgeons too. As they entered the industry, surgeons faced intense competition and stress, affecting their personalities.
Being a surgeon also entails sacrifices. Surgeons face marital problems (leading to high divorce rates) and burnout. Because of these, they might lash out at the patients and their colleagues.
Lastly, surgeons are under constant pressure. A single injury in their arms or wrists can end their career. Lawsuits and surgical errors can also render them bankrupt and destroy their lives.
In conclusion, not all surgeons are arrogant, yet there are boastful ones. As for the latter, we need to extend our compassion and empathy.