"When you look at it from an outside perspective— how sick our patients are and how complex the surgeries we do are, it’s a very exciting thing."
What made you want to become a surgeon?
It’s one of the more rewarding fields in medicine. You get a problem and apply a solution. You’re able to witness the results right in front of you. Taking out a tumor is an instant gratification. I also love getting to work with my hands. In surgery, you can go on and make an immediate difference—you fix things. It’s labor intensive, and there’s a lot of medical knowledge required to position your surgical treatment in the context of medical management of patients and rounding. There’s diversity in procedures, and it’s a well-rounded field. It’s a combination that really drew me.
What stands out to you about your training at UF?
The reputation of the program, really. The people who came out of here, the people I came across were always very skilled. They had a large breadth of knowledge and spoke highly of their training here. And, coming from the Northeast, there was a definite improvement in weather. During my visits here, I loved the vibe of the program. It really felt like everyone was friends with each other. You got integrated into the family from the get go. Everyone was on the same level in interviews. Gainesville isn’t expensive or overly busy. It’s fun and affordable, and it can afford you quiet when you need it. And, you know, I was always a Gator fan.
What was one of the most memorable moments of your residency?
When the pandemic first hit, people were either exposed or tested positive.I was impressed and how quickly people readjusted their shifts and coverage to continue providing care for patients and the services needed. There were no hiccups in terms of OR scheduling—everything was smooth and natural. Some weekends were sacrificed and yes, there were some long hours. But there was never any shaming or complaints. People came together and said, okay, these are the times we’re living in and what we’re doing to get through it. You talk about these things, and about having each other’s back, but in this case it was a perfect example of putting your money where your mouth is when it really matters.
What advice would you give other residents?
Enjoy every moment. This goes by so quickly! It’s just super rewarding. I think what we do is really cool. When you look at it from an outside perspective— how sick our patients are and how complex the surgeries we do are, it’s a very exciting thing. It may not always feel like that during the day to day, but it’s important to at least try to stop and reflect to realize the moment you’re in. You are literally living the dream you applied for. Remember that when the days get long.