RP401 – Session 1.3: Vulnerability

Session Readings



As people, and especially as physicians, we often want to project a sense of confidence and perfection.  A sense of having our “s*@! together.”  Vulnerability is the state of being open to attack or injury.  We only disclose our vulnerabilities and fears to our closest friends, if we even unveil them at all.  However, vulnerability is what lies at the root of human connection.  And establishing human connection with peers, patients, and co-workers is fundamental in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology (and life).

As Dr. Brene Brown describes in the linked TED talk above, vulnerability may be the best measure we have for courage.  In the realm of Obstetrics and Gynecology both we, and our patients, are often in vulnerable positions which can come from and lead to feelings of insecurity. Being attentive to these challenging situations can help us to be more mindful of challenges we face, better cope with such situations, and afford us a greater ability to deliver the care our patients need in a way that best meets their needs.


Please watch the TED talk by Brene Brown and review the “Man in the arena” quote by Theodore Roosevelt (below).  Come prepared to discuss the following questions:

1) What does vulnerability mean to you?

2) What kind of situations make you feel vulnerable?  How do you deal with these situations?

3) Think of a particular time that you felt vulnerable.  Why did you feel this way?  How did you handle the situation?  If this situation arose again, would you handle it differently?

4) Can you think of a time when someone opened up to you regarding a fear or a situation when they felt shame?  How did you respond?  After reviewing the resources, would you have done anything different?


TEDxThe Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.
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Harvard Business ReviewWhat Bosses Gain by Being Vulnerable Bosses that are vulnerable with their employees show them trust and hope, allowing their employees to reciprocate feelings of connection and loyalty.
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Harvard Business ReviewTo Create a Real Connection, Show Vulnerability The power of vulnerability - sharing our difficulties along with our successes - allows us to create stronger bonds and closer connections.
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Session originally created by: Karlen Bader | Department of Medicine | Research Assistant, HJF | Nutritional Sciences