Make A Deal! - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon who wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 43

Pump the brakes on your week and take 10 minutes to make your life as a surgeon just a little better…

In this episode of the mini-podcast, Jeff welcomes Daniel Schlatterer, DO, to the SurgeonMasters Mini-Podcast.

Dan is an orthopaedic trauma surgeon and vice chair of the residency program at Atlanta Medical Center.

About four years ago, Dan suffered a stroke that left him on a long road to recovery. Naturally his family and friends wanted to do whatever they could to help. While their intentions were good, their actions were not always what he wanted or as helpful as intended. These challenges led Dan to develop a system - Let’s Make a Deal!

Can you think of any recurring circumstances where a moderately complex conversation requires some back and forth to create mutual understanding? What if you completed that conversation ahead of time, then just needed to have a quick conversation to confirm that the deal applied to each circumstance?

Maybe when a helping hand was, or would have been, helpful? Without a conversation beforehand, and no system in place to manage expectations, asking our colleagues, friends, or family for help can feel like a burden to both parties.

How can we start to make a deal?

  • Step 1 - Recognize common situations or circumstances where support is needed.

  • Step 2 - Identify individuals - colleagues, family members, or friends - who can serve as a support system during these times.  

  • Step 3 - Make a Deal! Have a preemptive conversation to set up a system moving forward.

By having a conversation in advance, we can avoid awkward situations or conflict stemming from miscommunication.

If we know we have a support system in place, we can focus that much more on the task at hand, and that much less on managing the situation.

Most importantly, start having conversations and the mutual understanding of - let’s make a deal!

 

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Daniel R. Schlatterer, DO


Dr. Daniel Schlatterer received a Doctorate of Osteopathy (DO) from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1999. He completed a surgical internship at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY in 2000, an orthopaedic residency at Buffalo University, Buffalo, NY from 2000- 2004, and an orthopaedic trauma fellowship at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 2005. Dan is currently the Vice Chairman of the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program at Atlanta Medical Center. His interest in regenerative medicine and exosomes began during his recovery from a stroke in 2015. He provides editorial review for numerous journals, and writes extensively while also pursuing product development.


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Be Smooth! - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon who wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 42

Pump the brakes on your week and take 10 minutes to make your life as a surgeon just a little better…

In this mini-podcast episode, Jeff welcomes orthopaedic trauma surgeon Assistant Program Director for Broward Health Orthopedic Residency, Brian J. Cross, MD, or “BJ.”

The topic of discussion in this episode is: Be Smooth! More specifically, BJ champions the mantra, “Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast.”

What does BJ mean by this?

BJ is an avid fly fisherman and military training enthusiast. On one trip to the everglades with his friend and fishing guide, Mark Giacobba, Mark recognized a simple, yet incidental move BJ was doing that would spook the fish, in turn ruining their chances of catching anything. To negate this habit, Mark told BJ, “Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast.”

Coincidentally, BJ also happened across this concept later while studying how military snipers train. If we take our time to learn a repeatable skill, eventually the skill will become so ingrained that we can do it smoothly. With enough practice, our ability to perform this smooth skill will get faster and faster.

Shortly after that BJ started considering how he could apply this concept in surgery. One example is learning new surgical skills as a resident. BJ’s residency has adopted this saying as a mantra, and his surgical residents have improved their ability AND speed during procedures.

What steps does BJ suggest we take to incorporate this concept?

  • Step 1 - Slow down. Ignore your speed.

  • Step 2 - Take your time. Focus on learning proper technique.  

  • Step 3 - Practice technique. The speed will come.

Most importantly, find opportunities to slow down the process to improve overall effectiveness!

 

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Brian "BJ" Cross, DO


Dr. Brian Cross is an orthopaedic  trauma surgeon and Assistant Program Director for Broward Health Orthopedic Residency in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He received his medical degree from Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years. When he is not taking care of patients and teaching orthopaedic residents, Brian is spending time with his family. He enjoys participating in outdoor activities like fly fishing to get away from the grind.


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We Are Wellness! - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon who wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 41

Pump the brakes on your week and take 10 minutes to make your life as a surgeon just a little better…

In this episode of the mini-podcast, Jeff is reporting from the 2019 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeon Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. An important session at the conference addressed a broad spectrum of ideas related to burnout prevention and wellness. The session was titled, Surgeon Well Being for the Benefit of the Patient: How Can We Become Better for Everyone Else?

The moderator, Dr. Shah, and the panel of speakers did a great job of communicating an important take-home message, and one of SurgeonMasters core beliefs, wellness is personal and unique to each of us. Further, there are simple, practical steps we can take now to improve our well-being. In the end we all benefit - our patients, families, friends, and especially ourselves.

While the wellness suggestions from the panel were broad in scope ranging from improving ergonomic practices in the OR to finding time for hobbies, the message is clear: start taking simple steps now to improve your well-being.

What steps do we take to start?

  • Step 1 - Find something that resonates with you. Wellness comes in many forms. You don’t have to adhere to what often is top of mind when others think of wellness, like yoga and meditation.

  • Step 2 - Don’t feel the overwhelm. Focus on the quality of your time spent in this activity. With the busy schedule of a surgeon focusing on time can feel like a lost cause.  

  • Step 3 - Go do it! Create a plan to make it happen. Consider asking a friend to be an accountability partner to ensure greater uptake of your wellness strategy, habit, or activity.

Most importantly, get started! Incremental steps can lead to meaningful changes in our physical, mental, and emotional well-being!

 

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Cognitive Distortions! - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon who wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 40

Pump the brakes on your week and take 10 minutes to make your life as a surgeon just a little better…

In this episode of the mini-podcast, Jeff travels to Palm Desert for One AO, the annual CMF, Spine, Trauma and Vet meeting organized by AO North America. The theme of this year’s meeting was, “Are we as good as we think we are?” Conversations in Quality, Metrics, Competence, and Surgical Training.” This conference is always full of excellent talks where the focus is less on surgical techniques, and more on improving our system and practice environment.

One talk in particular stuck with Jeff. Stuart Slavin, MD, MEd delivered a keynote, “Quality of Life: Physician Wellness.” It was an inspiring message. Dr. Slavin started by sharing the staggering rates of depression, anxiety, and burnout in medical students. Unsurprisingly he advocates for many of the same values SurgeonMasters espouses - workload, rewards, control, community, and fairness.

Dr. Slavin issued a challenge to all of us - start to change your mindset! In life there are a number of problematic mindsets that lead to elevated levels of anxiety and depression, while discouraging sustainability. A few examples Dr. Slavin mentions are maladaptive perfectionism, seeing performance as identity, and cognitive distortions.

It’s the last mindset, cognitive distortions, that really got Jeff thinking. The last few years have led to a change in mindset for Jeff, and Dr. Slavin’s message really hit home.

What steps does Jeff suggest we take?

  • Step 1 - Research problematic mindsets or cognitive distortions.

  • Step 2 - Bring awareness to your own problematic mindsets.  

  • Step 3 - Turn it to the Positive! Take next steps to build healthy mindsets.

Most importantly, learn for yourself! Seek out resources that raise your awareness of your cognitive distortions to find areas for performance improvement.

 

Responding to Criticism! - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon who wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 39

Pump the brakes on your week and take 10 minutes to make your life as a surgeon just a little better…

Jeff welcomes to the SurgeonMasters mini-podcast orthopaedic surgeon and current hand fellow at Thomas Jefferson University, Paulvalery (Paul) Roulette, MD. The topic of discussion in this episode is Responding to Criticism!

Paul describes the importance of feedback and how to respond positively to it. As we all know, receiving criticism and feedback is a regular occurrence for a surgeon, especially during residency and fellowship. In practice, we constantly receive feedback from patients, colleagues, and other members of our teams that impact our success. Irrespective of sender and motive, there is always something we can glean from the message. How we respond can go a long way in determining career satisfaction.

What steps does Paul suggest we do to improve how we respond to criticism?

Here’s what Paul suggests:

  • Step 1 - Divorce Emotion - Listen and truly consider what the other person is saying.

  • Step 2 - Listen Carefully - Capture the other person’s perspective and entertain that at least part of the criticism is true.

  • Step 3 - Return for Feedback - Once you have implemented efforts to incorporate the feedback centered on your strengths and addressing your weaknesses, return to see if the other thinks it is working.

When we respond to criticism positively, we improve our ability to make changes and understand the perspective of others. Responding positively has the ability to solidify relationships, improve our ability to self-assess, and increases the engagement of others in the process.

Most importantly, develop your own personal plan for responding positively to criticism!

 
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Dr. Paulvalery Roulette, MD is an orthopaedic hand surgery fellow at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. After completing his medical degree at Harvard Medical School, Paul continued his medical career at Carolinas Medical Center, completing an orthopaedic residency in 2018. His clinical time is spent on fractures of the hand, and his research focuses on burnout prevention and well-being. Outside of the delivery of care, his passion is volunteering internationally on humanitarian trips. When he is not caring for patients, Dr. Roulette is spending quality time with his family.