Summer 2016

From the Chairman

Summer is a time of transition in academic surgery. New faculty members are coming on board, and the department is eagerly greeting new interns and saying a fond farewell to chief residents and fellows.

With these transitions come opportunities for personal and professional growth. Each year at our celebration for the departing chief residents and fellows, I leave them with some words of wisdom, which I would like to share with this broader audience. As we transition in our careers, we should consider five principles that will lead to professional growth.

First, we must leave our comfort zones and expand our horizons. This notion provokes anxiety because of fear of failure. We should not fear failure, but embrace it as a way to enhance our professional development.

Second, we should analyze our strengths and weaknesses — and play to our strengths and minimize the weaknesses.

Third, as we grow professionally, we should seek to lead or participate in projects that will deliver a great good and not serve primarily to augment our curriculum vitae.

Fourth, though we are frequently confronted with stressful situations in surgery and medicine, we must always conduct our business with a professional demeanor. This virtue can be shortened to “never let them see you sweat.”

Finally, we should love what we do. Physicians are passionate about their work, and should share the excitement for this vocation with others. Show your joy to those with whom you work on a daily basis.

To surgeons who are in transition this summer, and to all medical professionals at any level in your career, think about these principles of professional development as a guide to growth and good fortune.

Best wishes!

Kevin E. Behrns, MD