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    A physician’s ‘Ten Commandments’

    Beyond residency: Lessons learned from a career in surgery

    I thought residency would prepare me for a career in surgery. I was taught all kinds of useful things about surgery, like how to make an incision, or how to put in an IOL, or how to take a 2-minute nap while assisting in surgery without jostling the microscope.

    I didn’t realize that being able to do surgery was just a small piece of what one needed to know to succeed as a surgeon. The rest I had to learn in the school of hard knocks.

    I’ve listed here “Maloney’s Ten Commandments” of a career in surgery. These will be obvious to any of you over the age of 50. I offer them to you young ’uns out there, in the hope that your post-residency education will be less painful than mine.

    I. Thou shalt treat your scrub nurse with respect. Maybe next time, she won’t keep her mouth shut when she sees you about to make a mistake.

    II. Thou shalt listen attentively to your patients and patiently answer their occasionally crazy questions. Then they will still love you even when you make the mistake your scrub nurse neglected to warn you about.

    III. Thou shalt not treat your spouse as if she/he is your scrub nurse. Your spouse is nowhere near as inclined to obey your orders (although your spouse is much less likely to keep his/her mouth shut when you make a mistake).

    IV. Thou shalt not complain that the world is the way it is. Yes, the government sucks and “Obamacare” is a disaster. Suck it up and move on. You can’t breathe under water, or teleport to your next vacation, or live to 150. You aren’t complaining about that every day, are you?

    Robert K. Maloney, MD, MA
    Dr. Maloney is director of the Maloney Vision Institute and associate clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of ...

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    • Anonymous
      Another commandment which applies to medical and/or surgical care: "Thou shalt treat your patient the way you would want to be treated if you were the patient."


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