An Orthopaedic giant, Freddie Fu MD, recently passed away. Many eloquent obituaries and remembrances have already been written. Dr Fu’s impact is deep and he has positively touched many careers within Orthopaedic surgery.
As I read many of these touching stories about his positive effects on various surgeons, some of the most poignant to me were encounters in which Dr Fu had only one or two meetings and just encouraged others to keep doing great work. As I read these accounts, I wondered how many of these surgeons had told Dr Fu how much he helped them? I also thought about how common it is that people wait until after someone has died to reflect on the impact of that person’s life and their own.
One way to improve resilience is to practice gratitude. Positive psychology researchers have shown that practicing gratitude helps to:
- Feel more positive emotions
- Relish good experiences
- Improve your health
- Cope with adversity
- Build strong relationships
That all sounds like a good deal for relatively little investment. Think also of what it feels like when someone thanks you, be it a patient, family, nurse, or another physician. That is one of the best feelings in my experience. Now you can give that experience to those who have helped you along your path.
Take the time to write to one or two people who had a significant impact on your education. Gauge how you feel for the next several days. If you notice a positive change, then reach out to more people in your life. You won’t be disappointed.
Ryan Will, MD, is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in trauma care. After finishing his orthopaedic residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania, he completed an orthopaedic trauma fellowship at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. When he is not seeing patients or coaching, Dr. Will enjoys hiking, mountain climbing, cooking, and spending time with his family.