Food for Thought – Surgery: I Love This Job

31 Jan 2016

By Lauren Poindexter, MD

When was the last time you stood in the operating room and paused to think, “I LOVE this job”? What was it about that particular case, patient, or situation that caused you to feel a deeper gratitude for your vocation?

As a general surgery intern, the prevailing feeling I experience on a daily basis is overwhelmed (as many of you may not so fondly remember ), but I am also energized by specific situations that emphasize the honor of diagnosing, incising, and healing.

My most recent blog entry  for the Association of Women Surgeons offered a broad suggestion that gratitude makes for a valuable  New Year’s Resolution. I want to highlight a professional moment of gratitude in which I participated in an organ procurement (on a Sunday evening, of course!), I was deeply touched not only by the rare chance to follow the lead of a gifted transplant surgeon and improve my understanding of abdominal anatomy but also by the opportunity to assist in the transfer of life-sustaining tissue from one patient to another.  

I am indebted to those patients who declare themselves organ donors, to their families for upholding the wishes of the deceased, and to the organ donation teams that enable safe and legal procurements to take place.  How grateful I remain to walk in the footsteps of talented surgeons who learned in just the same manner. How grateful we are to have a voice in promoting organ donation.

Have you experienced a poignant moment recently or in your training that evoked a similar sense of gratitude? Alternatively, when did you last feel particularly honored to care for a special patient?

LKP cropLauren Poindexter, MD is a preliminary PGY-1 general surgery resident at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center (Phoenix, AZ). Originally from Los Angeles, she worked as a certified athletic trainer in Colorado before choosing a career in surgery. She completed her undergraduate degree at University of Southern California, graduate degree at University of Arkansas, post-baccalaureate pre-medical courses at Harvard Extension School, and medical degree at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (Roanoke, VA). Her research interests include coagulation disorders in trauma and synthetic materials for regenerative medicine.

Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons. 

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