Why I am Grateful to be a Doctor

My days and weeks can be hectic. There are many demands I need to meet each day in order to best serve my patients, my family and my community. Oftentimes when I'm scrubbing into an operation I take those few quiet minutes to do a couple things. First, I use that time to pray. I have a strong belief in God and I pray for His direction and help during each and every surgery. Second, I think about the specific operation I am about to do and that particular patient. And third, I reflect on the blessing it is that I can be a doctor, do what I love, and help people improve their lives. While this has become part of my "scrubbing in" routine, it is an important and powerful part of my day.

It is a great blessing in my life to be a doctor. Not only do I get to do something that I immensely enjoy, but there is great satisfaction in playing an important role in the lives' of my patients. I am privileged to share tender moments with patients during some of their most difficult times and even in their triumphant moments. Every day my patients demonstrate courage and fortitude. It amazes me. Their courage to overcome their challenges is inspiring. Many times, when these challenges hit, patients entrust me with their stories and the vulnerable spots in their lives. I never take for granted the trust that is placed on me when their lives are literally in my hands.

Another reason I am grateful to be a doctor is the opportunity to be constantly intellectually challenged. No two patients are the same. Each individual problem warrants a unique solution. Plastic Surgery is particularly challenging in that manner. It is enjoyable for me to be presented with a problem and then contemplate creative, potential answers. Often I think about it for days and days. It is very rewarding when a new way of addressing an issue comes to mind, I attempt it in the operating room and I find it is successful. Many of my favorite operating procedures have been refined and shaped by such circumstances.

Finally, I am grateful to be a doctor so I can converse and learn from my excellent co-workers and colleagues. No doctor practices medicine alone. Everyone involved in the care of my patients, from my surgical partners, to nurses and surgical techs, to social workers and orderlies, even housekeeping and secretaries play an important role. It is the excellence of each person that touches my patients' lives and ensures success. Every job is important and I am grateful to be surrounded by some of the best.

Working many hours each week, being on-call for my patients 24/7, and the emotional investment I have for my patients and their success can sometimes be overwhelming. But then I receive letters like this: "I wanted you to know that the burden of this process was significantly eased by the care and personal attention I received from everyone in your office. Your office is an office of 'happy and beautiful people'. I have been so impressed by the professionalism and care you gave me and all your patients. I always left appointments feeling encouraged and uplifted. I felt genuinely cared for as a person, and I will be forever grateful for that." Even just one patient that I have helped confirms to me how grateful I am to be a doctor, doing what I love. I'll continue the simple additional steps I take as I am "scrubbing in" to an operation, because it helps me focus on what matters most.

"A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles."