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Table 3 Types of emotions found in students’ memorable incidents and some exemplary excerpts

From: (How) do medical students regulate their emotions?




When the doctor succeeded to reanimate the patient and she [the patient] opened her eyes, I felt so much happiness and gratitude I had seen this (101, female student, 4 th year)


The doctor despite the urgent situation did not lose his composure and he seemed very confident. I admired his attitude at that moment. (101, female student, 4 th year)

Shock, bewilderment and surprise

I was shocked of course because it was the first time I saw a decapitated leg which was bleeding (021, female student, 4 th year)

I was shocked, the man [the patient] had a green color, his wife was shouting and crying, the doctors were trying to reanimate him and I was just standing there as a statue, unable to believe that I was seeing a person dying in front of me (104, female students, 4 th year)

Embarrassment, shame, feeling unease or uncomfortable

I felt really embarrassed, she [the professor] humiliated me in front of my colleagues and the patients making me look like a completely ignorant (014, female student, 3 rd year)

The professor asked me in front of my colleagues and four patients a question and because I asked him to repeat it, he started shouting and wondering how I managed to enter the Medical School. He humiliated me in front of so many people and then he left me standing there. I felt really embarrassed (085, female student, 5 th year)

Sadness or pity

It was the first time seeing a patient in such a critical condition and that made me feel sad about him. How unexpected life can be for some people (004, female student, 6 th year)

The doctor at the beginning of the consultation was quite polite with the patient and her husband…but at some point the husband was asking so many questions and the doctor seemed to be in a hurry and he made a sarcastic comment about him. The husband immediately stopped asking and he was obviously embarrassed. I did not like this behavior I felt sad and sorry for the man (017, female student, 3 rd year)

Stress, tension or being in hurry

I have learned that we have to introduce ourselves and say hello to the patient but the attending physician told me, Let’s see if you succeed to complete all your history taking if you continue socializing with the patients. These things are nice but also a luxury when the time is short. I felt weird with this comment, I felt stressed to do things in a way that was superficial (011, female student, 3 rd year)

One night in the emergency room they brought a person after a serious car accident. Everybody was in panic and I was also very stressed because it was the first time I encountered such an incident (047, female student, 4 th year)


That event still makes me angry, because I let a patient be humiliated in front of me (009, female student, 4 th year)

The doctor during the surgery was quite rude towards the residents, using really bad language, and I could not understand why he was behaving like this…initially I felt sad but at the same time I was also angry (020, female student, 4 th year)