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Home > List Archives

unprofessional behavior in surgeons

Andrew J Bowman trauma-list@trauma.org
Sun, 13 Apr 2003 12:54:37 -0500


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Funny, I am kicking myself for not going back to school/med school so =
that I would now be a general surgeon!

Andrew Bowman


  Here are excerpts from a private communication I made with another =
list member on this very subject. I think this issue is an important one =
for the future of surgery.
  As someone involved in medical student education, I am constantly =
exposed to the prevailing philosophy that surgeons are disagreeable, =
childish, quick to cast blame, slow to accept it, and simply =
unprofessional. A recent national poll of medical students revealed that =
general surgery was listed in the top three of disciplines that the =
student would refrain from going into regardless of any reward. Surgical =
subspecialties, on the other hand, were listed as the most popular =
choices to pursue. Without exception, the reasons listed for the =
aversion to GS had to do with the interactions that students had =
experienced with surgical personnel in the past.=20

  Each year, in escalating amounts, we lose the most talented, =
hardworking applicants to the surgical subspeciaties. Not because =
general surgery isn't the most engaging work - they readily admit that =
it is - but rather because they wish to avoid working with the boorish =
personalities. So the competitive students escape to ENT, ortho, =
plastics...or to nonsurgical disciplines, and the program directors wail =
and gnash their teeth over the poor quality and low numbers of general =
surgery applicants. Meanwhile, many historically strong university =
surgery programs go unfilled or fill during the scramble with IMG =
applicants.=20

  Based on consistent feedback from students, I strongly believe that =
simply establishing accountability for basic professional behavior (and =
just plain decency) in general surgery will halt this decline of =
prestige, credibility, and drain of intellectualism which we, as a =
discipline, are experiencing. I also believe that education is augmented =
by open, eager participation, and impaired by an atmosphere of pointless =
hostility and antagonism.=20





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<DIV><STRONG><FONT face=3DTahoma size=3D2>Funny, I am kicking myself for =
not going=20
back to school/med school so that I would now be a general=20
surgeon!</FONT></STRONG></DIV>
<DIV><STRONG><FONT face=3DTahoma size=3D2></FONT></STRONG>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><STRONG><FONT face=3DTahoma size=3D2>Andrew =
Bowman</FONT></STRONG></DIV>
<BLOCKQUOTE=20
style=3D"PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; =
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  <DIV style=3D"FONT: 10pt arial"><STRONG><FONT=20
  face=3DTahoma></FONT></STRONG>&nbsp;</DIV>
  <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
  <DIV>Here are&nbsp;excerpts from a private communication I made with =
another=20
  list member on this very subject. I think this issue is an important =
one for=20
  the future of surgery.</DIV>
  <DIV>
  <P><STRONG>As someone involved in medical student education, I=20
  am&nbsp;constantly exposed to the prevailing philosophy that surgeons =
are=20
  disagreeable, childish, quick to cast blame, slow to accept it, and =
simply=20
  unprofessional. A recent national poll of medical students revealed =
that=20
  general surgery was listed in the top three of disciplines that the =
student=20
  would refrain from going into regardless of any reward. Surgical=20
  subspecialties, on the other hand, were listed as the most popular =
choices to=20
  pursue. Without exception, the reasons listed for the aversion to GS =
had to do=20
  with the interactions that students had experienced with surgical =
personnel in=20
  the past. </STRONG>
  <P><STRONG>Each year, in escalating amounts, we lose the =
most&nbsp;talented,=20
  hardworking applicants to the surgical subspeciaties. Not because =
general=20
  surgery isn't the most engaging work - they readily admit that it is - =
but=20
  rather because they wish to avoid working with the&nbsp;boorish =
personalities.=20
  So the competitive students escape to ENT, ortho, plastics...or to =
nonsurgical=20
  disciplines, and the program directors wail and gnash their teeth over =
the=20
  poor quality and low numbers of general surgery applicants. Meanwhile, =
many=20
  historically strong university surgery programs go unfilled or fill =
during the=20
  scramble with IMG applicants. </STRONG>
  <P><STRONG>Based on consistent feedback from students, I strongly =
believe that=20
  simply establishing accountability for basic professional behavior =
(and=20
  just&nbsp;plain decency) in general surgery will&nbsp;halt this =
decline of=20
  prestige, credibility, and&nbsp;drain of intellectualism which we, as =
a=20
  discipline,&nbsp;are experiencing. I also believe that education is =
augmented=20
  by open, eager participation, and impaired by an atmosphere of =
pointless=20
  hostility and antagonism.</STRONG> =
</P><BR><BR></DIV></BLOCKQUOTE></BODY></HTML>

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