General Surgery Residency

Redefining Surgery

Doctors face as he is engaged in surgeryThe evolution of surgery training has forced us to ask students to make major career decisions regarding specialty choice far earlier during their education than in the past. To address this issue, the surgery recruitment video project was conceived to attract the brightest students to consider surgery and its clinical, scientific, and educational pursuits as a career choice.Surgeons representing the full spectrum of the field "” senior surgeons, junior faculty, trainees and students; academic practice and community practice; all subspecialties; and a range of gender and ethnicity "” were interviewed to openly discuss these important issues. The end product is an interactive DVD called "Redefining Surgery" with chapters on:

  • Why Surgery?
  • Surgical Education
  • Academics and Research
  • Diversity in Surgery
  • The Surgical Life
  • The Future of Surgery

"Redefining Surgery" is now available both on DVD and as online streaming video on the AAS website and on YouTube. An extended podcast series is in development. Social networking has also been established to provide additional resources and content, to foster live discussion relevant to surgical career decision-making, and to provide a widespread network of mentorship for students seeking advice and support for their surgical career goals. Find the project on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.

Read Video Transcript

The lifestyle is horrible. I was told that the divorce rate was over 200%. A lot of people say that the surgeon is always in the operating room, he's always at the hospital.

Dr. Luis Fernandex, Transplant Surgeon, "We have a lot of misconceptions about what is the lifestyle of the surgeons."

Unknown surgeon, "In fact, we have done a lot about that. Sure, we do work long hours but I tell you my family has always been my priority. I make it home just about every night to put my kids to bed."

Dr. Melina Kibbe, Vascular Surgeon, "Your lifestyle as a surgeon is what you make it. Whether you go into academics or private practice, it literally is what you make it."

Unknown surgeon, "Really, surgery, you're often the last resort and there's something about that that I found that appealing."

Dr. William Lynn Weaver, "Every day you have an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life."

Unknown surgeon, "You diagnose the problem. And you get to fix the problem."

Dr. Eldo Frezza, Gastrointestinal Surgeon, "I think it's the only branch of medicine that you can actually do something and actually see a change right away."

Unknown surgeon, "That's really a powerful thing and you can't do that unless you're a surgeon."

Unknown surgeon, "How long you could stay or how long you could work were badges of honor for surgery residency training."

Dr. Benedict Nwomeh, Pediatric Surgeon, "Those were probably not the best way to train our surgeons.

Dr. Kimberly Kirkwood, Pancreatic and Gastrointestinal Surgeon, "I think the 80-hour work week is one of the single greatest gifts to surgery."

Dr, Robert O. Carpenter, General Surgery, "Interns now are able to go home and see their families, see their wives, I think it's a great, great asset."

Unknown surgeon, "Surgical training is not a passive thing, it's an active thing. We go after the training. It just about makes or breaks our career."

Unknown surgeon, "Without someone who has a little bit of a birds-eye view of the different kind of career opportunities available to you it's easy to get lost."

Unknown surgeon, "And it's not just about being technically a surgeon, but also how to conduct yourself, how to be professional, how to be a better communicator. All of those things you can pick up from a mentor. "

Unknown surgeon, "I think the multi-faceted aspects of academic medicine were what drew me in."

Unknown surgeon, "I always thought I had something I had to give back."

Unknown surgeon, "I love teaching. I love teaching residents and medical students. "

Another surgeon, "It's standing across the OR table with a resident letting them do what they're able to do, showing them what they're not able to do"

Words unknown"¦"¦.

Unknown surgeon, "I can only do so much, but I can train 100 people to do the same thing."

Unknown surgeon, "The idea that I could be driving to work and come up with a new idea and I could actually take that to the laboratory and act upon it is very appealing.."

Dr. Niraj J. Gusani, Surgical Oncologist, " When I chose this career in surgery, I was exposed to this environment where surgeons not only operate on patients and take care of their problems and help them get better, but we're also contributing by doing research, advancing the field an coming up with the next big breakthrough."

Unknown surgeon, "There's always a lot of new discovery going on in all aspects and you're a part of that position of new knowledge that's going to push our field forward."

Unknown surgeon, "The diversity of our population is something that everybody has to reckon with."

Unknown surgeon, "I think one of the challenges to our field is to try to make our field attractive to a diverse group of people."

Unknown surgeon, "Historically and traditionally, surgery has been a man's area within medicine."

Unknown surgeon, "Three percent of all surgeons in this country are black."

Unknown surgeon, "As time goes on I think there are more and more women in surgery."

Dr. Michael J. Kim, Surgical resident, " When you're sitting there in the trauma bay, you don't know who is going to come in the door you don't know what their background is going to be. I think the more different people with different backgrounds you have in your field, the more ready you are to understand those patients that come in."

Unknown surgeon, "I do think that beyond medical school there could be some maybe perceived barriers in the sense that you look around and you don't see anyone who looks like you. That you may not be able to reach the heights that you want to be able to reach. And so I think it is important and incumbent on someone in my position that I say to any student that it can be done."

Dr. Jason Fisher, " I love this job, don't get me wrong, I, you know, I love it. I get up in the morning and I'm happy about it, but I like being outside of the hospital too. "

Unknown surgeon, "Death and disease and all of those things that we deal with on a daily basis can be demanding. It's unexpected, you can't schedule it in. Because our families and quite frankly our societies depend on us to be there. Therefore, you have to be very creative and persistent in making sure that your family doesn't get pushed to the side."

Unknown surgeon, "I don't start until 9:00am because I'm taking my daughter to school and when work calls and says, can you start at 7:30am", I say no, actually, I can't, I have a scheduling conflict."

Unknown surgeon, "If your children and your family relationship is important to you, then you can fit that into the broad scheme."

Unknown surgeon, "We have a 9 month old son who I see plenty of, Emily works 80% an has every Tuesday off and spends time with Ayden."

Unknown surgeon, "It's also, not any different than any other professional job in that sense. You have time to be home with your family, again, its about making that a priority."

Unknown surgeon, "It's really a fascinating, fast paced, fast moving field."

Unknown surgeon, "If you don't keep up, you might as well retire."

Unknown surgeon, "We are in a very exciting point in time. We put a lot more time into minimally invasive surgery."

Unknown surgeon, "The thing in particular that's being done at our institution is natural oraphis surgery."

Unknown surgeon," I train my residents in the simulation laboratory on really cool things that look like video games."

Unknown surgeon, "We're excited by the new things. We're gadget people. We like these things."

Dr. Niraj J. Gusani, Surgical Oncologist, "New technologies are changing the way we do things and hanging the way we treat patients. So surgery will be different 10 years from now. It's part of the allure of this field."

Unknown surgeon, "Every day I am thankful that I became a surgeon."

Unknown surgeon, "I had to go through 9 years of training. I had to become a pediatric surgeon and there wasn't one day where I thought of doing something else."

Unknown surgeon, "When I wake up in the morning I actually, I know that I'm going to work, but I've never for one day thought of my work as work."

Unknown surgeon, "I think I get that confirmation every single day, that I've made the right choice. I'm so glad that I get to do this every day. I'm so glad every morning, very early in the morning, that I'm getting up to do what I'm getting up to do."

To view the chapters of the DVD, please visit: