A ride into a new adventure
By Georgios Rossidis, M.D.
Assistant professor of surgery
“Time out. This is patient …”
It is early July 2012. Hard to believe that the day has come — my first case as an attending, my first time out… the final check to confirm details before we start the procedure. In the room there are familiar and young faces: a chief resident full of confidence, a junior resident ready to prove herself, a medical student eager to learn and an operating room circulator willing to make my first day as smooth as possible.
Going through the process of my first timeout as an attending surgeon, I see my last 20 years in a flashback, from my first heart dissection in high school with the lab technician telling me, “George, you have a steady hand. You should be a surgeon” to medical school, and my first day in a real operating room — exhilarated and yet so cautious not to do anything incredibly stupid. Then from medical school to residency, with me ready to take care of patients, prove that I know how to, but at the same time so anxious to always do the right thing … not to harm, not to insult the patient or the family. I recall the overwhelming anxiety to learn our special craft, the know-how, the why and when to make yourself a solid resident, a safe surgeon, a trusted colleague.
Each one of us wants to excel, for ourselves, for our mentors, for our family, for everyone who believes in you. You feel the need to make them proud — not let them down. That is a pride and burden that we all carry as we strive to become the best physician, the best clinician, the best scientist possible.
But now the anticipation of this new start, this new path is different. Through a long road in residency and fellowship you build the skills, the confidence and the character to begin your new endeavor. The anxiety gives its place to a sense of fulfillment and eagerness. More confident, I am now eager to give back all that was offered to me, emulate my mentors, take young aspiring surgeons under my wings and share with them the excitement and gratification of what we are blessed to do on a daily basis. I know that many young eyes watch us every day, and that makes what we do even more special.
How you treat the patient and family, how you communicate the good and bad news, how you behave in adversity, can have an impact that we can’t appreciate in our fast-paced lives. But I do need to focus on that, make the change at a personal level, in every interaction with my patients, colleagues, residents, and students. I promised to a special person that I will focus on every interaction, and even now I can hear him/her imploring me, “Do NOT forget that George, Do NOT forget.”
“Incision…” My first case is about to start, this wonderful journey that I was for so long looking forward to is taking off. To all the young aspiring surgeons out there: Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts, let’s enjoy this beautiful ride together!
“In the Loupes” is an online column meant to give readers insight into what it is like to be a surgeon today. Faculty members and residents from the University of Florida College of Medicine’s department of surgery write the columns based on their experiences in academic surgery. Views expressed here are not necessarily those of the department of surgery, the College of Medicine or the University of Florida.