By: The Generation Y Surgeon (@GenYSurgeon)
Billboards, radio commercials, internet pop-ups….to patients, Surgery is cutting edge. Closer to the truth, the scalpel is the only thing with a legit cutting edge, to my mind, in Surgery. Here are my thoughts from the realm of the true cutting edge.
I am a surgeon. Well, I am a chief surgical resident, which means I’m almost a surgeon. Actually I’m just a surgeon without a surgeon’s paycheck–but my low-level of employment has its advantages. I see Medicine from the inside, with access to the battlegrounds (the ED, floors, OR) and the round table (M&M, committees, conferences) with a license to teach and to take. I’m still gaining knowledge and learning new skills, but I already know for certain that Medicine in general is in need of it’s own doctor.
Enter Generation Y. My generation has been accused of being entitled, narcissistic, and detached from institutions. Yet we embrace disruptive innovation, social entrepreneurship and creativity in the workplace. We are the optimistic ones who still believe Medicine, and specifically Surgery, can be saved. Some of my take on things: as a profession, we have failed to integrate new technologies effectively, failed to address how we should most efficiently acquire knowledge in a rapidly changing field, failed to present ourselves as true professionals both interpersonally (and professionally), and failed to develop each individual to their fullest potential. We practice by archaic social rules and endure job stresses that lead us to early burnout and early graves.
My generation, with our optimism and overconfidence, is charged with reinventing Surgery as the Dinosaurs (the patriarchal, heavy-handed, gray-haired surgeons responsible for our early surgical beatings) begin to fade into the background. The habitat is crumbling and most have failed to adapt to the changes that have now surrounded them, be it technology, system-based changes or even their up-and-coming mentees. Surgeons have failed to adapt in rapidly changing times, and I may not know all of Surgery but I do know this:
Truth #1: We must evolve or die.
Truth #2: The Dinosaurs are dying off.
Truth #3: It’s up to Generation Y to keep this profession alive.
In future posts I will be writing about the quirks and shortcomings of modern Medicine and Surgery in particular, as well as some potential solutions. We have a lot to learn from our non-medical colleagues in business and technology fields, and most of all in leading change.
Stay tuned for more on how this Millennial views Surgery, dissenting opinions on yesterday’s surgical culture, and what’s to come in the very near future. Thanks to the team at SBMI.com for the venue. It’s been a pleasure to meet you all, & thanks for reading.