Bridging The Gap Between Life Lessons And Cornerstones Of A Successful Practice

Allen Jacobs DPM FACFAS

In 1999, a retired orthopedic surgeon published his perspective on the essentials of success in practice.1 I found his insights and suggestions helpful. I pass these on to our younger colleagues as advice that will stand them well in daily practice. Some older doctors may benefit as well.

1. Maintain humor, humility and humanity.

2. Make only original mistakes.

3. Invest time, thought and energy in interpersonal relationships with patients, colleagues and loved ones.

4. Apologize when causing pain to patients or when you keep them waiting.

5. Treat patients with respect and answer all of their questions.

6. Educate, listen to and serve patients.

7. Provide informed consent and identify outcome goals for the surgeon and the patient.

8. Maintain equanimity.

9. Find things to enjoy at work.

10. Let thought precede action.

11. Plan the surgery.

12. Review the anatomy.

13. Avoid excessive force.

14. Triple check the anatomy.

15. Control the bleeding.

16. Orchestrate the operating theater to manifest the values of patient care, excellent surgery, team spirit and mutual respect.


1. White AA 3rd. Compassionate patient care and personal survival in orthopaedics: a 35-year perspective. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1999 Apr; 361; 250-60.

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