25 May The Importance of Teaching
Teaching is a fundamental part of our society. I really enjoy teaching. I feel that passing knowledge on is imperative. Especially in training future doctors, it’s important that they know the correct way to treat patients before going out on their own.
During my years as a resident in Chicago, I came across a surgeon who was doing a foot case. I walked up to the surgeon and asked if I could assist so that I could learn more about this particular case. The surgeon looked me right in the eyes and said, “I do not let residents in my operating room.”
I was dumb struck. I wondered how he became a surgeon without somebody giving him the opportunity to do cases as a resident. It only reinforced my desire to be very different as I became an attending physician.
I volunteer at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a youth advisor and work with 13- through 15-year old young men. They wanted to know more about what I do for living so I gave them a glimpse by providing a hands-on evening at our clinic.
The evening was sponsored by Stryker, who I have a great working relationship with. They provide great products that help millions of people all over the world.
For many of these young men, it was their first exposure to surgery. We demonstrated some of the tools that we used in the operating room. We also demonstrated some of the procedures that we do.
The boys had a chance to use the saws and screwdrivers and power instruments that we have available. They fixated some saw bones as well. Some of them have a great touch already with the instruments. It was fun to see their reactions to the hardware that we used. They were surprised that the screws looked so normal, like something you would use in woodshop.
The highlight of the night was the rubber foot. When training to do ankle replacements we use these rubber feet to learn how to do the dissection and bone cuts in preparation for the metal implants.
The boys got a chance to give injections into the rubber foot. Of all the things we do, I have never seen them so enthusiastic. I guess the shyness goes out the window when you get to stab something. They had a blast.
I really enjoy these teaching opportunities. You never know how evenings like this can change the perspective on a young man’s life.
I also really enjoy teaching the residents that work with me in the operating room. It is fun to see them grow in their skills and talents as they prepare to go out on their own.