More times than not, on any given day, if you come to my Columbus plastic surgery office to see me, there will also be another person with me. These additional people in the room are usually in one of three categories of trainees—from the very green variety, the pre-medical shadow, or a slightly more seasoned trainee like an actual OSU medical student or a trainee about to finish training—a plastic surgery chief resident from West Virginia University.
Training a New Generation of Doctors
My firm conviction is that I must open my office and my practice to these trainees who are the future of medicine and plastic surgery, just as the gracious doctors did for me many years ago. There is no substitute for this type of immersive experiential learning, and it is our pleasure to welcome these many future colleagues into our world.
It seems hard for me to believe that I finished medical school in 1990 because, in my head, I feel like I am 25 or 30 years old. But I am pushing 60 years old, so it seems a strange mind game—I sometimes feel like I could still be a medical student or a resident physician!! And when I have the pre-medical students, medical students, and residents come and rotate with us for a few weeks or even a few years (as the medical students do), it makes me feel younger, more energetic, and even more optimistic!
I remember what I was thinking and going through, and I see my life in their eyes and their experiences! So having these trainees at my office has been an ongoing and enriching aspect that I cannot imagine NOT doing.
But we want the patients to feel as comfortable and confident as I do, so in this blog, I will explain their different levels of training and what they do at my office.
Who You’ll See During Your Visits
While I enjoy the trainees, I think it gives some of the patients pause when a VERY young 20-something medical student is with me. And then there is even more PAUSE when it comes to the residents in training, since they have more hands-on responsibilities, including assisting me in surgery. But let me assure you, these students are learning so much.
They are soaking in the conversations between us—the doctor and the patient—but also the entire A-team as they observe the front and back office and the nurses and everyone deliver personal, attentive, and focused care. And importantly, they are supervised every second, so that there is nothing for the patients to worry about.
The pre-medical student shadows come from Denison University, my alma mater, in Granville, Ohio. They are all pre-health care of some variety, including pre-med, pre-PA, or pre-PT. These are the best and the brightest of the students at Denison, and having them is pure joy for us due to their energy and optimism.
As a pre-medical student at Denison, I also shadowed a number of physicians, so again this takes me back to my days in college, thinking about what a life in medicine would encompass. And we call them shadows because that is what they are doing. They do not have any hands-on activities, but instead, the goal for them is that they see what a week in the life of a surgeon looks like. We want them to be sure BEFORE they apply to medical school that this is the path they aspire to. It is just too strenuous to get into medical school and then find out it is not a good fit.
These students have enriched our days in ways that are too numerous to recount here, but let me say, the pleasure is all ours!
The next group of students you may encounter at the office will be the actual OSU medical students in the Longitudinal Program, which is a two-year-long engagement during their first two years in med school. The fascinating part of this cohort is watching them go from the greenest of green Med 1 students to the smart and confident Med 2s as they prepare to transition to the clinical aspect of their training.
At this stage, we can see the gears clicking, and there are so many aha! moments we share—it is truly special. These students are with us for two years on a weekly basis, so we get to know them, and you may come to recognize one of them as you are on your journey. Their responsibilities are limited but do include taking the history and doing small (supervised) duties like suture or drain removal. Since these special students are with us for 2 years, we grow quite attached to them and consider them part of our family. We so enjoy watching them finish med school and move beyond into their residency.
Plastic Surgery Residents
Finally, the last group of trainees at Aesthetica are the senior residents in plastic surgery from West Virginia University Plastic Surgery. Long story short, the Chief at WVU is my BFF from residency, and she asked if her residents could come to Columbus to learn aesthetic plastic surgery—since they do not have as many docs there for them to work under. These residents have completed their medical school training and 4 years of surgical residency before they come to Columbus, so it is a real treat for me to have a colleague-in-training to talk with and discuss cases and just kibbutz.
The residents will actually be in the operating room assisting me, and this is a GOOD thing! They can definitely do this after 4 years in the OR, and it speeds up the OR time, so the patient has a shorter time in surgery. This is a win-win for all. Of course, I do all the critical aspects, and they are just assisting, but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for the future of medicine that we train the next generation of docs. And in the end, I am sure I get more than I give.
So I hope that you will welcome the many different levels of trainees that you encounter as you are on your journey of plastic surgery. It may feel awkward at first, but they all are so special and so important in the big picture. They add so much to my day-to-day schedule and give us all the joy that comes from being at the beginning of something really good!
And now that I am nearing the end of the same something really good, I look back and marvel at the many people who helped me along the way. Won’t you join me in helping these bright young people on their path, and welcome them all to the office at Aesthetica.
Ready to get started on your plastic surgery journey at Aesthetica? Whether you’re considering a tummy tuck, breast augmentation, a facelift, or a nonsurgical procedure, we’re delighted to welcome you to our practice. You can use our online form to request a consultation with Dr. Taylor or call us at (614) 569-2649 to schedule an appointment. We’ll look forward to introducing you to our new friends.