Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Joshua Mali, MD, a vitreoretinal surgeon at The Eye Associates, a private multispecialty ophthalmology practice in Sarasota, FL. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of or UBM Medica.
It's a long journey for us. Four years of undergraduate education. Four years of medical school. Four years of residency training. Possibly even another year or two of fellowship (in my case a two-year vitreo-retinal surgical fellowship). All you can think is: finally done and ready to start!
After just completing my first week of my career as a vitreo-retinal surgeon, I felt compelled to offer a few words of wisdom and ideals that have guided me to a successful start and hopefully a rewarding career in ophthalmology.
1) Have confidence in your training
Now you're on your own. No attending back up. You are solely responsible for every single patient. At first, this may seem daunting. However, have trust in your training and your surgical abilities.
Coming from Albany, New York, I was blessed to receive excellent training during my residency and fellowship. Our practice and regional medical center managed essentially any and every pathology imaginable. Therefore, I feel comfortable with anything that comes my way. Whether it is the bread and butter retinal detachment repair or the metallic intraocular foreign body case, my training has prepared me well for any scenario. For me, this gives me the confidence to handle any surgical case or unusual patient presentation.
Especially when starting out, make yourself available to utilize all the techniques and treatment strategies in your arsenal so that you can offer your patients (and referring physicians) a wide range of services to demonstrate that you are a versatile clinician and surgeon. This will ensure a continued flow of referrals and demonstrate your confidence in managing your patients.
It is important to go visit the operating room or surgery center you will be working at prior to performing any scheduled surgeries.
Make sure to inspect the equipment, meet the staff you will be working with, be familiar with the instruments they have, and feel free to request particular instruments that you have utilized in your training. Try to form a comfortable environment in which to operate so that you can perform to the best of your abilities. Also, continue any of the traditional routines and good habits that you picked up during your residency training and/or fellowship. For example, I still do my typical pre-surgical routine since I was a resident and expanded upon it during my fellowship. It gives me a sense of consistency and focus that makes my surgery days go smoothly.
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