Editorial by Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, Chairman and Professor of Orthopaedics, and also the Residency Program Director and The University of Toledo, located in Toledo, Ohio
The road to becoming an orthopaedic surgeon is long and difficult. For medical students interested in orthopaedics, the road can be even more difficult, as it is among the most competitive of specialties.
Following college, future doctors head to medical school for four years. With some of the best and brightest students applying, it's very difficult to gain acceptance into medical school. In addition, the whole process is very expensive. The students and/or families need to take out loans. They learn the importance of tightening their belts and making sacrifices.
After medical school is completed, students enter residency. The sacrifices continue as they take calls, delay time with their families and delay having kids or spending time with their children. By the end of residency, they learn and refine their skills in a specific subspecialty.
Finally, they become independent orthopaedic surgeons. They begin to realize there are struggles at this level as well. They have to worry about health-care regulations, research regulations, and patient needs. In addition, they have to worry about the business aspect of their practices and systems. As soon as they solve one problem, they are on to the next problem.
All of this may sound negative, but it usually does not deter anyone from going to medical school. More and more people are applying to the medical school. Why? Because being a doctor is the best profession. We are blessed with a special gift and talent, which we are able to use for the betterment of mankind. Patients come to us to ease their pain and suffering. To be given that opportunity is rare.
There will always be people second-guessing our treatment decisions, our handling of matters, our working hours and our lifestyle, but that comes with the job. We are fortunate to have this opportunity as doctors. Millions and millions of people want to be in that position, but they cannot. Whether you are a medical student, resident, fellow or doctor, you are fortunate to be in that position; you should be proud of yourself and your profession. You should all get up in the morning with smiles on your faces and a sense of purpose. For where there is a pulse, there is a purpose.
Our specific residency program has selected some of the brightest and most intelligent students throughout the years. We are delighted to have many Alpha Omega Alpha honor students for our orthopaedic residency program. I am thankful for the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of our patients and I am thankful we have the opportunity to participate in teaching the doctors and orthopaedic surgeons of tomorrow. What a great feeling!
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