I think a very important quality in a young physician is the ability to remain calm and not lose your temper. As a trainee, you are dealing with angry attendings, angry patients... basically, everyone is yelling at you. If you start losing your temper when it happens, you're finished.
I remember during my intern year, I was talking on the phone to the son of a patient. He was angry about something that had nothing to do with me, but he wanted to yell, so he spent about 20 minutes yelling at me. I continued writing my notes, checking labs, etc, while intermittently saying something like, "I'm so sorry." When he finally finished yelling, I talked to him calmly for another minute, then we hung up.
Unfortunately, I do think part of being a physician is being able to take a moderate amount of abuse while still remaining calm yourself.
I'd like to think I have a good ability to keep my temper in check during my other personal interactions as well. It can be hard when someone lets loose on you for no reason, but I feel like you can't go wrong from remaining calm and polite at all times.
Keeping my temper on the internet is slightly more of a challenge. In general, the things people say on the internet make me sad for society. Is this really what people are like inside? When someone comments on a blog post I wrote calling me an idiot or something along those lines, it's hard to reply calmly. I can't say I've always done that. In the past, I've definitely allowed myself to be provoked.
Recently I've been attempting to change that. I've been at least trying to respond to all comments respectfully and calmly. Sometimes achieving this involves writing a very nasty response, deleting it, then starting over. I feel like as I get older, I have more responsibility to act like an adult. Or at least, act the way I believe an adult should act.
So if you ever notice me acting really bitchy to someone in the comments, you can totally call me on it. You can link to this entry and say, "Hey, Fizzy, you said you weren't going to do that!"