We work with resident and attending surgeons every day to produce our surgical simulations, so we see just how hard residency is. We asked you how we could potentially make your surgical education a little bit easier and got a flood of emails. We also got quite a few questions that hit on the topic in our recent Reddit. We curated of answers from top surgeons across the world to the question “what do you wish you had known in your first year as a Resident?” and now share it with you.
We hope you’ll share them if you find them insightful!
Tips are shown in no particular order.
1. “My General Surgery Residency in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was fantastic and it lasted 7 years. I finished it on June 15, 2001.The best lesson on how to be a good doctor, started two days before graduation, on June 13, 2001, the day my twins daughters were born.
Let me explain: shortly after birth, unfortunately, one of our babies needed major surgery, at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital.
Becoming “a patient” shortly after becoming a fully trained surgeon provided me with the best learning experience of my career. There’s no better way to become aware of the difficulties, frustrations and anxieties that a sick person- or family member, in my case- might endure. The best way to learn empathy for and with the patient is to “cross the line and become one yourself”.
What I told residents in the past, My Best advice, I think, is to put yourself in your patient’s “shoes”, so that you can feel what they feel; so that you can fear what they fear.
Becoming one of them, “one with them”, will always lead you to be their Best Surgeon, their Best Doctor; the one that you would want for yourself or your loved one.”
Rafael J. Grossmann – MD, FACS, General, Trauma, Advanced Laparoscopic and Robotic surgeon.
2. “The idea to work with Touch Surgery came about as a result of many years of teaching residents and fellows. Complication avoidance and management is of paramount importance to a neurosurgeon and I’ve always felt that trainees should be able to write out the steps of an operation or procedure and include every fine detail. This conceptual modeling, I believe, produces surgeons that are better at anticipating the flow of a case and avoiding technical failures. Touch Surgery allows trainees to take a stepwise approach which is quantified… Very valuable.”
Robert Singer – Neurosurgeon at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
3. “Be meticulous when performing procedures. Make sure that you understand every step of the surgery prior to starting. Mentally rehearsing the procedure before and after each surgery is especially useful. This helps me visualize every step and improves retention.”
Peter J. Morone, M.D. – Department of Neurological Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
4. “Always understand the anatomy, pathophysiology and indications before starting a case. Study the night before if you are unfamiliar. Use resources like Touch Surgery to gain a detailed understanding of the steps.”
5. “Try to understand the purpose of each maneuver and use your knowledge to anticipate what complications could occur at each point.”
6. “There is always more you can learn and the more practice you get the better; be humble and recognize shortcomings as opportunities to improve.”
Brandon K. Root, M.D. – Neurosurgery Resident at Dartmouth
7. “Almost every situation in training is an opportunity to learn something: the OR, clinic, the ER, the wards. Make sure you take advantage of each of them. You learn how to be a surgeon in many more places than just the operating room.”
John Paro – Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at Stanford University Medical Center
8. “Don’t worry about the numbers, the numbers will come. Focus on the steps of the procedure, perfect each one and then move to the next. Try and video your cases, and go through them with your trainer – in that way, you will learn something every time.”
Sameer Trikha (SERI) Glaucoma fellow at the Singapore Eye Centre.
If you Liked these tips, you would also enjoy reading our post about Life hacks for digital health entrepreneur.