I’ve just wrapped up the first four weeks of my 8 week surgery rotation. I spent this first half doing general surgery in Albany, GA which is a rural city in south Georgia. My preceptor ended up taking a week vacation during my time there, So I got to spend a week with a surgical oncologist (who operates on cancers) in the middle of doing general.
Going into surgery, I automatically expected myself to not like it. I never really saw myself in that light. Even during OBGYN, I wasn’t really gravitating to the surgical side of things. Plus, I already had pre-conceived notions/biases as to the personalities of surgeons and how they treated people who weren’t surgeons. I developed these over time mainly from tv (don’t judge me) what I heard about other student’s experiences. I don’t know any surgeons first-hand so that’s what happened. But man when I tell you everything I thought about surgeons was knocked down! I mean I even considered becoming a surgeon–seriously. The doctor I worked for is in private practice, which means he really has control over his hours and workload. His lifestyle was fantastic (besides being on call). He doesn’t work/barely works Fridays, and his family is his main priority. He even coaches his son’s baseball team! He was so humble and gave credit to God for everything he did for people. I was so impressed. Shocked, honestly.
Outside of all that, the patient interactions we had were very compassionate. He had patients he’s been seeing for years because of their complicated gastrointestinal diseases. He knew their families because they would choose him to operate on their loved ones. He had continuity that I thought I would only see in primary care. And then the whole idea of surgery began to appeal to me. That feeling of doing something for someone, deciding when and how to intervene in order to have the best outcomes. It was awesome, so I definitely contemplated my life a few times in the last weeks. In reality though, surgery doesn’t give me the level of patient care and continuity that I want to have, and the ratio of OR/clinic time was a bit much for me. Also, the physical demands of the specialty on my body are no joke. I need to put something in my mouth every 2-3 hours otherwise I get headaches. I felt myself actually getting upset after we’d be in the OR more than 3 hours because my back, neck, and/or feet were hurting. So, logistically, I know it’s not the specialty for me. However, it did make me realize that I want to be able to do procedures in my practice, so I will set my sights on more procedure heavy family medicine programs.
They always tell you to have an open mind when going into your different rotations because you never know how you’ll like things. I see why! I’ve so far loved surgery. Now, most of why I feel this was is because I went away to a off-camus site to do this rotation, so it was just me and my preceptor–no cranky residents. Now that I’m back in Augusta, I’ll be on the orthopedics and trauma services over the next 4 weeks at the main hospital. I suspect that my current sentiments may change as I re-enter the hierarchy of the teaching hospital. But regardless, I’m keeping an open mind and hopefully will find more things to enjoy in the specialty.
Hope you have a wonderful week!