Interactive courses offer psychological support for medical professionals, as Zhou Wenting reports from Shanghai.
Xu Jiansheng, a psychological counselor, posed a question to a group of doctors and nurses during a lecture at a hospital in Shanghai.
"Imagine that you are in an elevator with an elderly man who is smoking. What would you say to try to make him stop? Please think of two versions typical of both high and low EQ (emotional quotient)."
First, the medical workers proposed a high EQ version: "You are so healthy in your twilight years. I believe that you would be even healthier, if you smoked less."
That was followed by a low EQ response: "Just because you don"t mind dying prematurely, it doesn"t mean you should also affect us," which prompted a wave of laughter.
The lectures, which feature simulated scenarios about everyday work and life, have been held at the Shanghai Sixth People"s Hospital East Area for about four years.
They are part of an employee assistance program provided by professional psychological counselors to counter the rising pressure of work, boost efficiency and foster a deeper sense of career satisfaction.
The topics discussed include stress and the management of emotions, the identification of and responses to common psychological problems, doctor-patient communications, energy management and parent-child relationships.
"The professional image of doctors and nurses is that they are always devoted to other people, but they also need help sometimes. From a psychological point of view, we aim to help medical staff establish better doctor-patient relations and reduce the incidence of tension and conflict," said Lin Zi, vice-chair of the Shanghai Psychological Counseling Association, who founded the psychological consultancy that employs Xu.
A similar program has been in place at Fudan University"s Huashan Hospital for six years. Established with the help of the workers" union, the program provides psychological counseling and helps members of the medical team to become more socially adaptable as a means of improving communications with patients.