by Jacob Unger, MD
The holiday season is upon us and with it comes a time for reflection, for family, and for giving thanks. This thanksgiving I was lucky enough to get to spend some time with my extended family and refocus on those important aspects of life as well as spend some time contemplating my future.
I was surprised at my own
nerves for my first case
When I look back on the past 5 months of training it is easy to see the progression in both thought and technique that have occurred. It seems like just yesterday that I was writing about the anxiety and excitement of starting my 5th year of training with the all-consuming role of Chief of the Parkland plastic surgery service. Yet, here I stand, now with multiple chief rotations under-my-belt, and starting to think about fellowship opportunities and even possible first jobs. While I may be able to see how I have progressed over these last few months, the opportunities for improvement are always present as well showing me how far I have yet to go.
Recently, I was able to perform my first case that I booked through our Chief Resident Aesthetic Clinic. This is a wonderful opportunity where the 5th and 6th year integrated residents (and 2nd and 3rd year independent residents) are allowed to see cosmetic patients solo in the faculty clinic space and create operative plans based on these patients’ desires. We then present our plans to faculty, find an OR date that is mutually agreeable and perform said surgery, with continued follow up in our individual clinics. I was surprised at my own nerves for my first case. While it was a procedure I had been a part of and even performed numerous times, the fact that this patient had chosen to trust me with her surgical goals and had given me the honor of determining and carrying out the best plan in my opinion was both humbling and exhilarating!
But, it is moments like these that allow you to both realize how much you have learned, as well as how much more there is to discover
Fortunately, the procedure went well and the patient is pleased with her result. But, it is moments like these that allow you to both realize how much you have learned, as well as how much more there is to discover. You quickly see how much more efficiency there is to achieve, and how elegance does not come as easily as it seems when watching the masters that surround me in my training program.
As I reflect on the past year I realize how lucky I am. I am thankful for my family, for my training, and for my future. The hard work that all of us as physicians put in to our education, our training, and our patients has a clearer light at the end of the tunnel as we get closer and closer to reaching the end. While I have more training ahead of me, I am thankful as well for the future opportunities to learn and improve my craft before the day comes that I am truly ultimately responsible, with no sage advisor over my shoulder.
This thanksgiving I am just so thankful; Thankful for those who educate me, those who support me, and those who love me. I can only hope to be as inspirational to my family and to future generations of plastic surgeons as my mentors have been to me.