Perils of the Hidden Curriculum: Emotional Labor and “Bad” Pediatric Proxies

 

Margaret Waltz, R. Jean Cadigan, Benny Joyner, Paul Ossman, and Arlene Davis, The Journal of Clinical Ethics 30, no. 2 (Summer 2019): 154-62.

 

Today’s medical training environment exposes medical trainees to many aspects of what has been called “the hidden curriculum.” In this article, we examine the relationship between two aspects of the hidden curriculum, the performance of emotional labor and the characterization of patients and proxies as “bad,” by analyzing clinical ethics discussions with resident trainees at an academic medical center. We argue that clinicians’ characterization of certain patients and proxies as “bad,” when they are not, can take an unnecessary toll on trainees’ emotions. We conclude with a discussion of how training in ethics may help uncover and examine these aspects of the hidden curriculum.

 

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