Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses. Next week's question: What characteristics will future spine leaders need to possess?
Please send responses to Heather Linder at email@example.com by Wednesday, March 6, at 5 p.m. CST.
Vincent Arlet, MD, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, KneeFootAnkle Center of Kirkland (Wash.): Do a two-year spine fellowship that would be comprehensive and allow [you] to tackle the whole spine spectrum.
Ara Deukmedjian, MD, Neurosurgeon and CEO, Deuk Spine Institute, Melbourne, Fla.: Try to learn from the best in the business. If you know a successful spine surgeon, then make every effort to spend time with him or her and "learn the ropes" on both the clinical and business sides. Practicing medicine has become the equivalent to walking through a mine field with 1,000 mines underground and nowhere to go but forward. Good luck!
Jeffrey Goldstein, MD, Director of Spine Service, NYU Langone Medical Center's Hospital for Joint Diseases: When beginning your career, don't forget the three A's you heard about in medical school: affable, available and able. Additionally, there is a fourth A — affordable. When you start, you will be considered "able" by your community until you prove otherwise. Choose your surgical cases wisely and appropriately. Probably better not to come out flexing your muscles and pounding your chest and take on the "horendioma" that nobody else wants to touch (likely for good reason). As one of my mentors, Kingsbury Heiple, used to say, "Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment."
You need to be available. Remember the 5 p.m. Friday consult you hated getting as a resident? Take it. Now you're the "go to" guy and you'll also get the next consult, which hopefully will be during regular office hours. Finally, don't plan on going into practice and not participating in any insurance programs. If that's the track you take out from the gate, you'll have a lot of time at your desk to ponder your future.
Richard Kube, MD, Spine Surgeon, CEO and founder of Prairie Spine & Pain Institute, Peoria, Ill.: There are so many things to say to a young surgeon starting out. First, know your limits. This goes for all things. Do not schedule cases beyond your comfort level or set patient expectations too high, either. You will be pulled in a multitude of directions to market yourself, befriend partners and engage in your community. Know your limits of time and do not over commit or overpromise, especially at the expense of your family.
Early on, focus on the cases with predictable outcomes. Your stress level will be less and you will be able to meet expectations of referring providers. Once you have built confidence in yourself and those sending you patients, then consider wowing them with more challenging cases. It’s better to enter the big leagues hitting singles but go 20 for 20 than aiming for the fences and striking out 2/3 of the time. Also, have patience. If you do a good job, the cases will come, and your practice will grow.
Gaetano Scuderi, MD, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, Jupiter, Fla.: This is very apropos question for me as I recently relocated from an academic practice at Stanford University to South Florida. The number one thing I would recommend is to immerse yourself in the community. You can't sit around in your office waiting for patients to come to you. If you recently graduated, you probably have some talks that you've given. I would recommend offering up a CME to a local hospital to engage other physicians. Additionally, you can offer community service talks on uncommon maladies of the musculoskeletal system of which you are an expert in. Often times there are volunteer positions that will assist you in interacting with others in the community. The overall message is to establish yourself as a resource so people feel comfortable in going to you for consultations.
Jeffrey Wang, MD, UCLA Spine Center: The biggest thing to keep in mind is to put your patients first. With all the financial issues, new regulations, starting a practice and determining time for research, clinical work and family, it is hard to find the right balance. I would advise them to try to find the right balance and to be honest with yourself on what you like to do, and what you do not like to do. With all the problems one may face starting his or her career, do not lose sight that the ultimate goal is to make your patients better. All that you do in your career, whether it's leadership in a society, performing research, or administering a practice or a department, do not lose sight of your largest responsibility — your patients.
More Articles on Spine:
7 Things for Spine Surgeons to Know for Thursday
5 Factors Driving Physician Practice Sales & How to Overcome Them
Vertebral Motion Analysis Comes to Allegheny General Hospital
6 Spine Surgeons Give Advice to New Practitioners FeaturedWritten by Heather Linder | Thursday, 28 February 2013 16:01
Six spine surgeons discuss advice for a spine surgeon just beginning his or her career.Last modified on Thursday, 28 February 2013 16:39
© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2016. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies here.
Most Read - Spine
- Dr. Robert Blok joins Laser Spine Institute — 4 key points
- Orthopedics and spine — 6 trends for 2016
- Does workers' compensation matter for cervical disc arthroplasty outcomes? 6 key notes
- NY spine surgeries migrating to high-volume centers — 5 key points
- 8 things for spine surgeons to know for Thursday — Jan. 14, 2016
Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months
- Cleveland Clinic standardizes to 2 implant vendors, at least one orthopedic surgeon out
- 22 minimally invasive spine devices to know
- 5 things to know about physician assistant pay
- Becker's Spine Review Channels
- Did this orthopedic surgeon let his PA perform surgery? Dr. Munir Uwaydah faces conspiracy, $150M fraud & aggravated mayhem charges: 6 key notes
- Surface technology for spine devices: Key trends & concepts
- Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Reilly's whistleblower lawsuit results in $69M+ penalty for Broward Health — 7 things to know
- 15 things to know about physician shortages
- Current annual & hourly salary rates for orthopedic surgeons: 8 statistics
- 334 spine surgeons to know — 2016
- Dr. Sang-Ho Lee awarded Parviz Kambin award for endoscopic spine surgery at NASS meeting: 5 highlights
- Dr. Richard Rooney pleads guilty to undisclosed financial interest, sentenced to prison: 5 things to know
- Physician stabbed in Virginia leaving clinic — Attacker wanted more pain meds
- Rumors of a Stryker acquisition of Smith & Nephew swirl once again: 6 key notes
- Stryker recalls 16k+ units of orthopedic products: 5 takeaways
- The future of private practice: Key thoughts from OrthoCarolina CEO Dr. Daniel Murrey
- 5 trends putting the squeeze on surgical practices
- MIS, stem cells, biologics & more: What excites spine surgeons most about the current landscape?
- Transparency in healthcare can work today — Hoag Orthopedic Institute proves it
- Google and Johnson & Johnson to form new surgical company — 4 highlights
- Drs. Troy Caron, Raj Kakarlapudi, Jeff Martin join Laser Spine's surgery centers: 5 key points
- Global spine surgery device market seeing double-digit growth: 5 key points
- The theory behind Geisinger's spine surgery refund
- 8 surprising topics your spine patients are researching
- The ICD-10 deadline is almost upon us — Are spine surgeons ready?
- 5 key trends on Massachusetts physician pay — And what it means for US physicians
- 5 huge reputation management mistakes for surgeons
- Q2 financials: 150 things to know about NuVasive, Stryker, J&J Orthopedics & more
- 5 trends in the medical tourism market
- 10 key notes on the 2016 CMS physician fee schedule
- 10 statistics on neurosurgeon salaries & bonuses
- Stryker director sells 18k shares, following Smith & Nephew acquisition rumors: 7 points
- Intersecting care of spine pain specialists & spine surgeons: Drs. Heidi Prather & Scott Glaser talk pain
- Rothman Institute merges with OrthopaediCare; adds 17 physicians: 4 things to know
- Did Loma Linda's orthopedic device rep-less strategy work? 5 things to know
- Alphatec Spine, LDR, Globus Medical & more — 21 key notes
- Population health on a budget: How one orthopedic surgeon succeeded in Chicago's most impoverished neighborhoods
- Is PEEK cost-effective for spinal surgery? 5 things to know
- 32 hospitals to pay $28M in spine surgery false claims settlement: 5 things to know
- ProDisc-C vs. spinal fusion: Which has better results? 5 key notes