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Life of a Surgeon Program Addresses Transition Challenges Faced by Academic Surgeons

November 01, 2023
by Elisabeth Reitman

Between busy schedules, navigating a complex organizational environment, and mastering a new professional role, the early years of clinical practice bring about many challenges for a young academic surgeon.

Hosted by Benjamin L. Judson, MD, MBA, Charles W. Ohse Professor of Surgery, and J3P Healthcare Solutions, the Life of a Surgeon series aims to address these challenges and build a supportive community for early-career surgeons. This year, Life of a Surgeon introduced topics ranging from career planning to self-awareness. Plans are underway for an additional session on wellness and community to be held on Monday, December 4.

“The responsibilities and the pressure of being an attending surgeon can consume a lot of emotional energy. Talking to people who are in this transition or who have made this transition and comparing notes is oftentimes one of the most useful things,” said Dr. Judson.

The program includes valuable peer support groups to help young surgeons navigate everyday challenges. These include obstacles that apply broadly to early-career faculty and gaps that are specific to being a new surgeon. The program includes three sessions over a year. Before each session, members are asked to prepare an activity for the next discussion. Overall, 32 faculty members with first-time faculty appointments who were hired between 2020 and 2022 were invited to participate.

“The first session was around practice management. And also, folks did a personal style inventory and we talked about self-awareness as it relates to practice management. The session that we're in the midst of right now is around academic focus and career planning,” said Dr. Judson.

Gathering feedback is essential.

“I would say that the value of the program is the faculty interactions. There are relationships that have been built. There's a value in getting to know your peers and your colleagues outside of the people at the front of the table, so to speak. That is the biggest value proposition to what the program represents,” said Alan Friedman, MA, founder and CEO of J3P Healthcare Solutions. .

“I am very grateful for the support and sponsorship from our department in this program. I started in 2020 and I was literally on a zoom screen in my office for months and months. And so, it's been a nice collegial collaborative program where it's a safe place to share the struggles and successes of being a new attending, and I'm really grateful for it,” said Elizabeth Berger, MD, MS.

Session III: Wellness & Community

Monday, December 4, 2023

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Location: The Study at Yale, Drafting Room

Dinner available

*Alternative date is Monday, December 11, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Submitted by Stevi Kramer on October 31, 2023