CPM Spring 2019 - 11

daup h i n c m s  .o
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80 is the number used to describe his practice. He has
to work half of the days in a calendar year. He makes
10 times my salary as a resident. This is his tracked,
measured outcome when performing-almost exclusively-one single lucrative procedure. After a decade of training,
dedication and sacrifice he is an expert in a single outpatient
procedure. I asked him how he would describe success. After
a seemingly unrelated story, his answer was to avoid fraud, be
able to sleep at night and not do anything he felt uncomfortable
doing. To summarize, his definition of success is following
rules and staying out of jail. The discussion above helped me
think about my definition of success. Success is subjective and
individualized, albeit hard to define. I tried to think of events
in my life I considered successful.

As a surgical resident, I love to operate. Last week I prepared
extensively for, and eloquently executed, a complex procedure.
However, I identified unnecessary steps and haphazard maneuvers to improve upon. Success is doing your best while seeking
ways to be better. My next thought brought me to a difficult
dissection with a junior resident assisting. Explaining my
surgical algorithm and explanations for my actions was hard.
Admitting my shortcomings and errors in my technique was
difficult. Allowing her to operate while I assisted was nearly
impossible. Listening to this junior resident recall the value
of this teaching experience illustrated success in mentorship.
My mother recently found herself searching for a new job. At
almost 60, her online application skills parallel her five-year- old
granddaughter's. Without a computer at home, I was tasked
with updating her resume, editing explanations and typing
in job history. Through my lens, this seemed inefficient and
really didn't fit into my busy schedule. I exercised patience
and helped my mother through the extended application
process. I had the skills and knowledge to provide a service. I
can't begin to comprehend how vulnerable she felt during this
entire process. Specialists work hard to achieve knowledge and

skill. My patients are just as vulnerable and they depend on
me for the skills and knowledge I have acquired. They explain
their problems, apologize for the inconvenience and trust me
to help them. Success is the opportunity to develop patient
relationships and use developed skills to provide service to others.
Throughout my six-year training program, my paradigm
has shifted; I love to operate, but I find value and meaning in
the pre- and postoperative stages of patient care. Even more
enjoyable is when I am able to perform procedures under
only local anesthesia. There are numerous health benefits
to using this type of anesthesia, but I have the added benefit
of conversing with my patients. I can put them at ease and
distract them with topics of interest. Because these procedures
are just before lunch, the conversation moves quickly to local
restaurants. One patient brought me a dining guide magazine
with reviews scribbled in the margin recommending restaurants
she hoped I would enjoy.
Yet another patient expressed her appreciation when I made
special arrangements for her postoperative visit. This helped
her immensely and, although unconventional, wasn't much of
an inconvenience for me. After the makeshift appointment, she
gave me an envelope further exemplifying her appreciation. It
contained a gift certificate to the restaurant we had discussed
during her procedure as well as a hand written card. Success
is having the ability to affect people positively and deeply.
180 will not describe the minimum number of days I work
and I will not measure my success by income. I am not going
to limit myself to the most lucrative procedure, but I agree
with avoiding prosecution. To summarize, I will measure my
success by continuous improvement, molding mentorship,
family ties and, most importantly, the impact I have on the
patients under my care.

Central PA Medicine Spring 2019 11


CPM Spring 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CPM Spring 2019

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