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hartk48

Can I hug an actor?

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This may sound ridiculous, but I am a HUGE hugging person, sometimes that all I need!

If I'm in a scenario with an actor and he / she is my "best friend", can I offer him / her a hug? would this be a good idea or would I just come off as a try hard?   

Edit: in this hypothetical scenario I am supposed to give emotional support....

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I would do something close to that. I mean the station is to fully immerse yourself and act like you would in that situation. How else would you show your personal characteristics. Hugging might be a bit too much, but like sitting closer to them, touching their hand, offering them support, those are all things demonstrating empathy and emotional maturity in my opinion. If you just sit there and say " its going to be okay" while sitting a few feet away and just hands in your lap, thats not too realistic or you are not that good of a friend lol. I speak from personal experience with friends who've been assaulted or depressed. Also just coming from a post-CASPer rush so all dat empathy/balancing sides xD.

 

 

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50 minutes ago, rmorelan said:

"best friend" that would possibly apply - probably doesn't needed to be said but of course never do that with a patient (or actor pretending to be a patient). Ha, there was a dialogue write up case about that just last month :)

 

 

Can you tell us more on that? I mean I would honestly have thought touching their hand (actor) in a sympathetic manner would be fine, as long as the situation is something like a best friend or S/O was sexually assaulted, depressed, etc not a stranger or something like that. It's such a human thing to do... 

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19 minutes ago, Epona said:

If I were the actor in the scenario I would HATE that.  I don't like my personal bubble being invaded.   I know the stem says you're best friends, but you're not - you're a stranger.  I was an interviewer when in second year med, and I remember being really uncomfortable when an interviewee moved their chair closer to me (it wasn't even an acting station, I was just asking them the question/prompts).  That being said everyone is different.  Take cues from the actor.  If they seem like they are uncomfortable with you touching them, then don't.  

 

True, reading the person is super important. Same with my work, some people want a nice conversation with personal stories, others are pure business. But I guess Rmorelan has actual evidence that it is not good. Just interesting that's their stance. Oh well, gotta stick with what is appropriate for them at the end of the day.

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1 hour ago, IMislove said:

Can you tell us more on that? I mean I would honestly have thought touching their hand (actor) in a sympathetic manner would be fine, as long as the situation is something like a best friend or S/O was sexually assaulted, depressed, etc not a stranger or something like that. It's such a human thing to do... 

We aren't humans....we are doctors

:)

all kidding aside - it can be a big problem because yeah it is natural for many people to be supportive through some form of physical contract. However it can backfire - the case in point (which is no different than many others) was a doctor hugging a patient. That patient had a traumatic past which sometimes the doctor knows about and sometimes doesn't - in either case a complaint was made and the doctor was disciplined publicly as a result, forced to attend retraining, dealt with a suspension and loss of not insignificant income, and forever more has the annoying additional process of renewing their license (cannot say they never were disciplined by the college anymore - that means the file is reviewed specially every time.

thus you simply don't touch patients unless examining them according to standardized practices where ever possible officially speaking.   

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1 hour ago, IMislove said:

True, reading the person is super important. Same with my work, some people want a nice conversation with personal stories, others are pure business. But I guess Rmorelan has actual evidence that it is not good. Just interesting that's their stance. Oh well, gotta stick with what is appropriate for them at the end of the day.

it is annoying because it makes doctors be standoffish - when other people in other fields may not be. A few exceptions can make it hard for the general case. 

 

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1 hour ago, rmorelan said:

We aren't humans....we are doctors

:)

all kidding aside - it can be a big problem because yeah it is natural for many people to be supportive through some form of physical contract. However it can backfire - the case in point (which is no different than many others) was a doctor hugging a patient. That patient had a traumatic past which sometimes the doctor knows about and sometimes doesn't - in either case a complaint was made and the doctor was disciplined publicly as a result, forced to attend retraining, dealt with a suspension and loss of not insignificant income, and forever more has the annoying additional process of renewing their license (cannot say they never were disciplined by the college anymore - that means the file is reviewed specially every time.

thus you simply don't touch patients unless examining them according to standardized practices where ever possible officially speaking.   

Wow this is really insightful. Just wondering, how would you comfort the patient if you were in the doctor's position and they were crying or had a fit? Since you can't touch them would you move closer and speak in a more comforting tone?

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35 minutes ago, somebowdy said:

Wow this is really insightful. Just wondering, how would you comfort the patient if you were in the doctor's position and they were crying or had a fit? Since you can't touch them would you move closer and speak in a more comforting tone?

I've volunteered at a lot of active listening services (in-person, phone-based, online) and the main thing these services stress for comforting people is mostly just, empathy and active listening. So that means letting them talk, really hearing what they're saying instead of just thinking about "the right thing to say", not assuming you "know exactly how it feels", minimal encouragers like nodding, LOTS of validation (eg "It can be really tough to ____, it sounds like you're trying the best you can") open-ended questions that explore feelings and not facts- this is all assuming what the person wants at that moment isn't 'advice' per se but simply to feel like someone is on their side. Also, body posture and tone mirroring are super important. And understanding that silence isn't necessarily bad and is actually super helpful where appropriate, people need time to just gather thoughts sometimes. Suggesting breathing/grounding exercises for when someone's panicking can also be helpful. Asking what the person most needs from you in this moment rather than assuming. 

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54 minutes ago, somebowdy said:

Wow this is really insightful. Just wondering, how would you comfort the patient if you were in the doctor's position and they were crying or had a fit? Since you can't touch them would you move closer and speak in a more comforting tone?

just a quote from the CPSO:

While physicians may intend non-sexual and non-clinical touching of patients to be therapeutic or comforting, supportive words or discussion may be preferable to avoid misinterpretation.

I love the vagueness of that :) They aren't saying your cannot touch someone in a comforting way but they are definitely frowning on it and if misinterpretation occurs they will not look too kindly on it (no matter what the doctor's intention was). "The college is not your friend" is the quote that gets tossed around a lot to remind you about stuff like this. 

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See but a lot of this discussion has now turned into what a PHYSICIAN should/shouldn't do, but the question was pertaining to an actor who is your best friend during an interview. A non-medical scenario would be the guess here. I remember when doing training as an RA for the various acting scenarios that it was not discouraged. So is the consensus then NO TOUCH OF ANY KIND during an interview, even a soft sympathetic your hand on their hand/arm? 

I agree that this was an insightful discussion. Really shows the distinction between medicine and other aspects of work/life. 

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Do not hug anyone during your MMI. If its a breaking bad news type scenario or something, briefly placing your hand on their arm might be appropriate, however do to the fact you're usually sitting across from each other a fair distance away it will probably look super awkward and forced so stick with handshakes!

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20 hours ago, IMislove said:

See but a lot of this discussion has now turned into what a PHYSICIAN should/shouldn't do, but the question was pertaining to an actor who is your best friend during an interview. A non-medical scenario would be the guess here. I remember when doing training as an RA for the various acting scenarios that it was not discouraged. So is the consensus then NO TOUCH OF ANY KIND during an interview, even a soft sympathetic your hand on their hand/arm? 

I agree that this was an insightful discussion. Really shows the distinction between medicine and other aspects of work/life. 

yes there is a difference - and that was something I was hoping to point out. Particularly because of course we get supportive type people in medicine and then they are surprised by these restrictions and separation of thing based on professionalism. Also from time to time in an MMI you may be put in a power differential situation (you are someone's boss or something) and then maybe such ideas would also some into play. 

It also is a reminder that here is such a wide variety of people out there it is hard to generalize. You will met as doctors people who have had horrible things done to them and we have to make sure we don't add to that in any way  - even innocently.

 

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As a real doctor, it MAY be appropriate in very specific situations--that being said I have never done it and cannot imagine a situation where I would.

In an MMI--don't do it.  It would immediately call your judgement into question ("hugging an MMI actor" could itself be deemed "poor judgement" by many graders).  Like TBH I would mark someone harshly for doing this in an MMI...

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I really liked this post on breaking bad news in an MMI: https://bemoacademicconsulting.com/blog/how-to-ace-multiple-mini-interview-mmi-acting-station-scenario. The author uses the SPIKES protocol which states on making connection with the patient: Maintaining eye contact may be uncomfortable but it is an important way of establishing rapport. Touching the patient on the arm or holding a hand (if the patient is comfortable with this) is another way to accomplish this.

So it seems that hugging is not a go-to as such in this professional circumstance. It is also very much based on the communication the actor is providing you in the MMI scenario. I would be surprised if the actor would be initiating their non-verbal communication in such a way to invite something like a hug so it probably makes sense not to do so. Although that is just my opinion based on what I have read. Very interesting debate though.

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Actors are hired by the school to facilitate your interview and although they may have personal preferences about hugging, if that's what you choose to do, usually they will go along with it.

That being said, you need to remember that the schools are testing certain skills, and one in particular is your professionalism skill. So you should be asking, is it professional to hug this person if this were real life?

We often are faced with difficult/emotional situations with our patients and sometimes we feel like giving them a hug, but we also don't want them to get the wrong idea. Everything is dependent on the situation, the person, and whether a hug might be crossing a line.

So it all depends on the station. If this is someone you just met, and you feel like they need a hug, just ask them "do you need a hug?". If the actor says yes, then it's part of the script anyways. If its your "best friend" then you should be ok giving a hug.

Hope that helps :)

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On 11/19/2017 at 4:31 PM, goleafsgochris said:

As a real doctor, it MAY be appropriate in very specific situations--that being said I have never done it and cannot imagine a situation where I would.

In an MMI--don't do it.  It would immediately call your judgement into question ("hugging an MMI actor" could itself be deemed "poor judgement" by many graders).  Like TBH I would mark someone harshly for doing this in an MMI...

What if you asked the permission of the actor?

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