Why I Love Being a Surgeon

Why I Love Being a Surgeon – Finding Purpose in the Operating Room

As a surgeon, I'm fully aware that in the operating room, I hold someone's life in my hands. In the operating room, I always have to be at my best. Surgeons have what you call "Type A" personalities, which can come off as confident and even assertive. Still, these personality traits are necessary to do what we do daily. We task ourselves with finding a problem and fixing it. We must be confident in our abilities to do so in all situations. I love being a surgeon and want to share with you why I do. 

Being a Surgeon - A Family Affair

My dad is a big part of why I love being a surgeon.

In the operating room with my dad.

I grew up in a medical family with a father who was a general surgeon. When I was a child, I didn't know what he did; I just knew he had a tremendous work ethic. My mother was instrumental in letting me and my siblings know our dad was helping people and doing good for our community. Our mother managed my father's office from our home, which gave me insight into the business and medical sides. It may seem cliche, but all I can say is that you do what you know. Being a surgeon like my dad is what I always wanted to be. 

What medical school couldn't teach me about being a surgeon, my dad did. I learned from him about having confidence, about being compassionate, and about communicating with patients. We need compassion, whether delivering good news or bad news, and we also have to find a way to articulate complicated medical issues in a way that people understand. He taught me how to treat my patients like my own family and how I would want to be treated.

Why I Love Being a Surgeon

Surgeons are strong and smart. That's who we are. I love finding problems and fixing them for patients. Surgery is challenging, but there's a lot of variety. I love that every day is different and that I'm not always doing the same thing. I perform various procedures, and my field is constantly changing and evolving, and I love growing and evolving with it. 

I also love to learn and find innovative ways to do things better. Fortunately, this has played out in my career as I was involved in the early development of robotic surgery around 2004-2005. I'm blessed to have used this technology as it's evolved throughout my surgical practice and to see what it has become today.  As robotic surgery technology evolves, it allows us to do more and more complex surgeries in a minimally invasive way. That part of the surgery is really exciting for me. Not only do I love fixing the problem, I love fixing the problem in a better way for the patient.  

I love being a surgeon but I also love being a part of an amazing surgical team.

I love being a part of an amazing surgical team. 

The Tough Parts of Being a Surgeon

There is so much I love about being a surgeon, but there are also parts I don't love so much. There are times when we see a patient late in a cancer diagnosis, and operating holds no guarantees. We must walk a fine line between providing hope to our patients and being honest. When we discover a surgery can't fix things, it's challenging to deal with as surgeons because we want to fix people. 

The hardest part is being honest with patients when there is nothing we can do. Patients often feel lost, and many physicians struggle with these difficult conversations with them. After going through my father's illness, I find it has helped me be better at compassionately providing honest answers to patients, even when it's not good news. 

Surgery is a tough field to enter. The hours are demanding, and there is little work-life balance. Even though we may do everything right, things don't always go well with our patients. We often remember the cases that don't go well for a long time. Dealing with loss and imperfection is the greatest challenge we have as surgeons, as the impact goes far beyond ourselves. For more insight into the complexities of our profession, read this article as an insightful guide to becoming a surgeon.

Finding Purpose

As a surgeon, I'm aware of how demanding our profession can be as we face the intricate aspects of our jobs and the emotional side that comes with our responsibilities. We balance the high demands of what we do while navigating the delicate nature of caring for our patients who have trusted us. But yes, being a surgeon is tough, but there are many rewards. I truly love being a surgeon. It's a privilege, an immense responsibility, and an honor that I get to work every day doing what I love. 

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