What I love about being a surgeon is that I can fix things. I can remove disease, I can alleviate pain, I can clear infection with my own two hands. What I also fix is sorrow and anxiety. Before I can do any surgical work, I must educate my patients about why they are seeing me and what I can do for them. I must also guide them to make their own decisions for their care. I must be able to guide them to a sense of empowerment and understanding about what they are about to do. I am part of a team with my patients, and we must work together for their own health. I love meeting and rising above all of these challenges, and I’m proud to say that I do these things very well.
The nature of my job requires quick intimacy, and I am always honored by how close I become to my patients over a short period of time. We certainly become physically close, as I must touch and operate on them. But we also become close on a personal level. This relationship is what I treasure the most about what I do. I believe that the trust that I garner within minutes of meeting a patient is earned by the fact that my compassion is on display. I lead with my heart in my career. I love what I do and I treasure every person who comes to me for care. I am grateful that they choose to see me, and I am honored that they decide to trust me. I make every effort for them to know this.
Patient education and empowerment are passions of mine. I often observe a power imbalance, rooted in knowledge, between a patient and his/her health care team. This shouldn’t be. I want all people to feel comfortable asking questions and to have the resources to know all that they need to know for their health care. I also believe that patients should have easy access to their providers. I enjoy being reachable to my patients by phone or email, within or outside of my office hours. I sit with my patients and share reading material and images until I am certain that they have all the knowledge that they want to have about their health issues.
I am also passionate about equal access to quality health care. I have seen patients underestimated, overlooked and under-treated because of what they looked like or what they did not have. I am most engaged with these individuals. It is important to me that all patients who come to me are treated with equal amounts of respect, compassion and collaboration.
My career will always include outreach to individuals and organizations such as schools, places of worship and community groups to help strengthen local communities. Regardless of whether or not they will be my patients, I want to help them know more and feel inspired to advocate for themselves within medicine.