Feeds

back to article Engineers are cold and dead inside, research shows

A study carried out by psychology researchers in Sweden has shown that people who go into engineering are less caring and empathetic than those who enter professions such as medicine. Trick-cyclist Chato Rasoal and his colleagues determined this by surveying 200 students from six different study programs, using a "well- …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Anonymous Coward

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

re: anesthetists - Actually get paid well, as it's one of the most critical roles in the room. Keeping a patient under, while keeping them alive is relatively tricky, and getting them under and back up again even more so. The better the anesthetist, the less the patient feels like death afterwards. I've been lucky in that all of mine have been good.

Re: inhuman robots, it's the GP's in the firing line for me. I have referred my own 2x now, not just because he has the personal skills of a well-used toilet brush, but is also utterly incompetent. More concerned with "throughput" than actually healing anyone.

Take his last stunner: upon being "summoned" to his office, he didn't offer a seat, eye contact or even acknowledge I had entered the room. His first word was "Well...?", then proceeded to misdiagnose tonsilitus as a "only a sore throat, and that i should think carefully about wasting his time next time". Went to the doctor across the hall later that afternoon, who immediately recognised it, and prescribed anti-bios. Stunning.

7
0
Bronze badge

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

Under life and death pressure you basically have but two options. Detach yourself from your emotions to get the job done or allow your emotions to be battered, shattered, bruised and abused causing you to emotionally explode under extreme pressure,

Emotionally exploding under pressure when somebodies life is in your hands means that person will die. This knowledge does not usually help you to remain calm and in an emotional position to reassure the patient.

I know this, and i'm just a First Aider who has contrived to be in the wrong place at the wrong time a couple of times.

7
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

"My better half is an anesthetist..."

And your other half posts on here...

7
0
Silver badge

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

I'm definitely worse, yes.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

Screw up a car repair and it can be replaced, money can be refunded etc.

Screw up a medical procedure and you can kill someone. You can't bring back the dead.

Honestly, with attitudes like that it is no wonder the NHS pay out so much money in compensation (£1.2 billion).

7
1
Meh

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

When I saw my surgeon in front of his team he was rude and very unfriendly. I'd never describe him as caring or empathetic. When he popped by the following day after my operation on his own he seemed like a normal chap - seemed friendly enough. I wouldn't say that the medical profession I've encountered were any different from everyone else: some were warm friendly people, some were rude...

I've not read the study but without a control group I'm highly dubious of the report.

5
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Silver badge
Meh

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

@Eadon - they'd be bored stiff with you. The "fanatically-proselytizing underachiever" type has already been documented quite thoroughly.

5
4
Anonymous Coward

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

Eadon, Dogged. Please would you two get a room.

7
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

@AC:

Screw up a car repair and it can be replaced, money can be refunded etc.

Screw up a medical procedure and you can kill someone. You can't bring back the dead.

Screw up a brake repair and you can kill several people. You really haven't thought this through, have you?

4
7
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

@Corrine/Thad - Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

Right on there.

Perhaps some medical STUDENTS are attracted to the profession because they are caring, but they become hardened eventually. Theyhave to learn to switch off, maybe leaving a patient in trouble when the money runs out or it is time to go home - or they end up with with a nervous breakdown. Medics have to be detached and should treat patients like an engineer would treat broken-down machinery.

I thought this was well known about medics. I had a GF who was a nurse but had to drop out - she could not stand it because she was TOO caring.

FTFA :- "... readers in the physics-based professions, but we needn't worry about them as they obviously won't care what anyone thinks of them or be able to see why they should."

That is right on too, for me anyway.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

quote: "Screw up a brake repair and you can kill several people. You really haven't thought this through, have you?"

Screw up a bloodwork culture and/or misdiagnose something serious, and you can start (fail to prevent?) an epidemic which wipes out the human race / kick-starts the zombie apocalypse. Car mechanics don't build nuclear weapons, so they are far less capable of that scale of destruction.

I'd be interested to see the ratio of mechanical related deaths : medical related deaths before I decide which is more dangerous overall, I think.

Also, I deliberately take my car to a mechanic that does actually give a fuck, even though it costs more. I'm sentimental like that, plus I don't want to encourage unprofessional behaviour by rewarding it fiscally. Your mileage may vary, of course :)

3
0
Silver badge
Linux

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

It sounds like it sucks to be a (quasi)doctor in the UK. Ha-zah for socialized medicine.

0
5
FAIL

Re: Metric Fuckton

Surely we need this expressed in a Reg standard unit of some kind - but a quick check of the online converter suggests that we are missing both a unit of currency, and a unit of non-specific comparativeness.

This is a major oversight which needs urgent attention from our Regist overlords - lest there be revolution.

Is it really only Monday? Oh bugger...

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

"Eadon, Dogged. Please would you two get a room."

Or, alternatively, get a guignol stage and perform a Punch and Judy show.

2
0

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

Do you ever remember having sex?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: @Corrine/Thad - Doctors caring & empathetic?

A certain amount of detachment is absolutely necessary, both for the doc and the patient. Too much, or the wrong kind, of emotional involvement is not going to help either, and can even be a breach of professional ethics. (By the way... are docs permitted to date their patients these days?).

I'm not even in the profession, but my wife can't understand why my attitude to taking a thorn out of her finger is, basically, clinical. I'm nice, maybe even soothing --- but the thing has to come out, ok?

Multiplying that up to the daily work of a surgeon, and I can see why they have a fairly mechanical view of the human body, and it is their mechanical skills that I've been very grateful for in the past. On the other hand, when concious, I demand a certain courtesy from any other human being, and more so from those in the service" or "caring" industries.

Actually, I never even met the surgeon who did my only real-serious op. He left that kind of thing to his juniors! Damned goof job, though: perhaps he was right to leave the human interaction to people who were better at it. Or perhaps he was just damned busy operating.

I think that the most serious corruptions of the finer human emotions that cause a person to take up medicine happen when the money gets, potentially, big. Usual the reasons for entering the profession (pushy parents excepted) are wholesome enough.

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

Screw up a bloodwork culture and/or misdiagnose something serious, and you can start (fail to prevent?) an epidemic which wipes out the human race / kick-starts the zombie apocalypse. Car mechanics don't build nuclear weapons, so they are far less capable of that scale of destruction.

No, you still laven't thought this through, even at the extreme. Suppose those screwed-up brakes are on a vehicle carrying the zombie plague blood samples to the path lab? In any case, it's not usually a doctor doing the path lab work that can distinguish the merely individually lethal cases from the imminent global pandemic cases. Certainly it won't be a surgeon.

As others have pointed out, cool and detached may be necessary for a surgeon because (a) he can't afford to get emotional while things are going badly for the patient and (b) sooner or later he will make a mistake that causes a death, and if he's too empathetic that's the end of his career. Highly empathetic doctors will go into other branches of medicine. General practice for example, or geriatric care, or psychiatry.

in fact thinking about it, a surgeon is very close to an engineer working on a human body. He needs to be a self-motivated perfectionist. He dosen't need to be empathetic, in fact it may be a handicap if he is.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

My Dad was in the USAF when an anesthetist acquaintance once said that that was "someone who sits on a soft stool and passes gas."

Count backwards from one...

0
0
Silver badge

And as a side note ...

See my post from a couple years ago:

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/694378

This study is completely confuzled, right from the git-go.

0
0
Silver badge
Devil

Jesus Christ

I hope these guys get an "accident" so they can get some intensive "care".

1
1
Silver badge

Humanity can thank us later

And a jolly good thing too, that engineers are cold (or should that be rational) and unemotional. Otherwise we'd still be sitting round log fires debating what colour this new-fangled "wheel" thing should be.

tip 'o the hat to DA

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Humanity can thank us later

On the other hand, we'd get paid a lot more money and given a lot more status for doing it. (Though I understand that, such is the cost per square metre of building in London nowadays, structural engineers get paid more than architects, I bet you the guys at Porsche who design the highlight lines on the wings get paid a lot more than the guys who design the engines.)

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: what colour this new-fangled "wheel" thing should be.

Obviously it's #DD4814. Everyone would know that instinctively, it's the shape they might have a problem with.

0
0

This explains a lot actually...

"We're aware that we also have many readers in the physics-based professions, but we needn't worry about them as they obviously won't care what anyone thinks of them or be able to see why they should."

I'd be offended by that if your opinion was in any way important to me, and I wasn't laughing so hard.

2
0
Silver badge
Holmes

It's logical really

Engineers and Doctors share the same principal task - finding solutions to problems . BUT there is a difference....

A patient comes into a Doctor's office with an ailment, the doctor studies the problem, prescribes a suitable treatment , the ailment is cured. The Doctor is happy he found a solution.

A user phones up the IT department complaining about a problem. The Engineer analyses the problem and begins to look up the big book for the answer to the question "How to cure stupidity ?", unfortunately there is no answer. Engineer becomes upset and unhappy at not finding solution.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: It's logical really

Not really. the GP gets an old lady suffering vague symptoms, probably just caused by old age, and wanting a cure. (S)he has to come up with something that will make old lady feel better and hopefully not come back every week taking up time needed for serious patients. The medical profession has got good at this, even if the bottles now contain ingredients other than sucrose and aqua. The IT person gets a clueless user. The difficulty is that (s)he can't say there is a lot of it going around, take one of these every time you log on.

The answer, of course, is for companies to provide enhanced user training which kicks in after they have, say, lost a password twice. The cure for stupidity is for it to have negative side effects which everybody else is aware of.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: It's logical really

Acually in my experience the patient comes into the doctor's office, the doctor doesn't really listen to them & prescribes a drug from whichever company took them golfing most recently, the patient says "I can't take that I'm allergic, it says so in my notes", the doctor prescribes another drug, the patient takes it for a week & it makes them violently ill but no better. Eventually the illness goes away by itself.

At least that's how it goes for the missus.

3
0
TWB

This is the real reason engineering is unfashionable

Not because it is hard or difficult for others to understand - but it has far too few women in it and many engineers are not cool.

I know this because I am one of those miserable uncool ones and never had enough casual sex.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: This is the real reason engineering is unfashionable

Don't feel so bad about it, you'd have been just as uncool and unlaid had you chosen medicine or the arts and at least (I hope) you gained a worthwhile qualification. Sure meant some of us had to work harder to keep up the batting average for the faculty but that ok, we forgive you.

0
0
Silver badge
Devil

This article should be accompanied by a pic of Team Fortress 2's Engineer doing some naughty, sadistic stuff.

0
0
Bronze badge

They were cold-hearted and uncaring, remorseless human machines

You say it like it's a bad thing

15
0
Bronze badge

A doctored report

So how come the health profession always seem like ostriches, paper shufflers and containment pill pushers.

They mainly send me cold.

2
0
TRT
Silver badge
Boffin

I'm not sure how I feel about this report...

*rolls d20*

*15*

*checks CHA and WIS*

I have no strong feelings either way.

5
0
Coat

Perhaps we've become cold and heartless

After trying to work with medical people on their requirements, and noting their entire lack of empathy with how software needs to be developed?

Or, as my wife recently said to a overly empathic nurse - 'Stop simpering over me like I'm a small child, and talk to me like an adult'!!

1
0
Thumb Up

I for one..

I for one welcome our new remorseless human machine overlords.

1
0

Let's concentrate on what's important

Is the report well-formatted?

4
0
Silver badge

Amazing

Sounds like they've managed to get an interview with Gordon Freeman...

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Amazing

But he wouldn't have said anything!

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Amazing

A swing with a crowbar is worth 1000 words, sometimes...

1
0
Trollface

Re: Amazing

They probably should have gone for Duke though - "Don't have time to play with myself!"

0
0

Psychologists as a measure of normal?

Having studied at somewhere that was a centre of excellence for psychology.

It seemed to me most psychology students consisted of the mad, or I knew someone who was mad and I am trying to figure it out camp.

We're engineers its not that we seem cold to the psychologists, its because we have enough sense to not make any sudden movements or be to excitable around the flakey.

9
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Psychologists as a measure of normal?

That's not psychology, that's abnormal psychology.

Many psychologists work with perfectly normal people, including the ones that work on UIs and workflow as well as the ones who help make car and aircraft cockpits safer.

One of my kids uses a psychology degree every day, running a school maths department. Understanding motivation, both of staff and pupils, knowing how to resolve conflicts, being able to spot the early signs of bullying, are all more useful for school maths teaching than being a whiz at polynomials. If you have to teach a subject that does not emotionally involve most children, it helps to know how to persuade them into doing well at it.

2
0
Silver badge
Linux

Re: Psychologists as a measure of normal?

Psychology used to run a math department? That's a riot.

It sounds like a bunch of paper pushers overthinking something simple while simultaneously screwing it up.

Let competent people do the job. Don't discourage the student. Somehow the "educational professionals" can't manage this despite it being painfully obvious to an engineering student.

0
2

Re: Psychologists as a measure of normal?

I should start using the joke icon, there's a lack of empathy for flippancy on here. :)

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Psychologists as a measure of normal?

I take it you think you could easily run a maths department in a large comprehensive?

Here's a hint - 95% of the kids won't be engineers, scientists or mathematicians, but you still have to teach them. One of your staff at least is an emotional mess, one or two may not really like children. Explain how you will use your knowledge of integration by parts to get the GCSE results up.

4
0
Gold badge
Childcatcher

Re: Psychologists as a measure of normal?

"Here's a hint - 95% of the kids won't be engineers, scientists or mathematicians, but you still have to teach them. One of your staff at least is an emotional mess, one or two may not really like children. Explain how you will use your knowledge of integration by parts to get the GCSE results up."

Didn't you miss the one whose a bit too fond of the kids.

TOTC because well that's sort of the problem.

0
0
Boffin

Re: Psychologists as a measure of normal?

"Explain how you will use your knowledge of integration by parts to get the GCSE results up."

I can prove by induction that if the results were bad last year, and the results are bad this year, then the results are unlikely to be any better next year or for many years afterwards...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Psychologists as a measure of normal?

So, in other words, no answer to the post so let's try to divert it into an attack on teachers.

But yes, spotting paedophiles is just another admin job that teacher managers have to carry out.

0
0
Stop

Re: Psychologists as a measure of normal?

1. Induction isn't integration by parts - fail.

2. So you can prove by induction that after 2 years, making staff or methodology changes won't make any difference for years afterwards?

As Wolfgang Pauli remarked, not even wrong.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.