More Than Medicine: Vulnerability

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Don’t try and be a hero — ask for and be willing to receive help.

Being vulnerable requires a level of trust. Trusting that the person or people you are being vulnerable with will not take advantage of your weaknesses. When we are vulnerable, we put ourselves in a position to be emotionally and physically hurt.

We need to be able to trust that they will not use our vulnerabilities against us. Unfortunately, there are people in this world who will take advantage of our vulnerabilities if given a chance. Therefore, it is important to be careful about who we let into our lives.


There is no right or wrong way to be vulnerable. We all have different levels of comfort when sharing our vulnerabilities with others.

Some of us are more open and share everything with everyone, while others are more closed off and only share our vulnerabilities with a few select people. There is no correct way to be vulnerable. We all must find what works for us and makes us feel comfortable.

Expectations of Vulnerability


  • Often, we develop a story, and the expectation of how we perceive our vulnerability will be received by those we interact with
  • Not even Superman or Wonder Woman can save themselves every time, so do not expect yourself to be able to do so when you may need the help
  • This could include difficulties in expressing vulnerability
  • Afraid of the outcome or judgment (Not assessing something that may need a second opinion or refresher like procedures etc. or being afraid someone will use your vulnerability against you).

Benefits of Vulnerability

Although we fear being vulnerable, there are also benefits to being vulnerable including

  • Helping to build stronger relationships
  • Building better understanding of your family, friends and even colleagues
  • Helping in tough situations down the road ahead such as procedures we aren’t comfortable with, or difficult situations others may not understand without explanation.

Approaching Vulnerability

  • Recognize the dangers of vulnerability
  • Be cautious about who you are being vulnerable with
  • Protect yourself from the dangers of vulnerability
    • When being vulnerable to someone and noticing an undesirable response
    • Knowing who to trust and individuals you should avoid so you don’t hurt yourself long term.



Take Homes

Finding the balance in your vulnerability can be a difficult task, as being vulnerable, to begin with, can be nerve-wracking.

Sometimes we try to be Superman or Wonder Woman but have to understand that not even those heroes can save themselves all the time.

It is much easier to be vulnerable when we see the benefits of being vulnerable, but also know when to protect ourselves.

For more about this topic, check out the episode by visiting today!


EM OVER EASY is a podcast by three EM physicians, Andy Little, Tanner Gronoowski and Drew Kalnow, with a focus on #MoreThanMedicine. The podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and more. For more about the content and hosts, visit and follow them on twitter @emovereasy.

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