Working with residents is a rewarding experience that most of us would not want to trade for anything. The idea of mentoring the next generation of podiatric physicians is fulfilling and generates lifelong friendships.
Gary Jolly, DPM, FACFAS, is still my mentor and friend. I will always carry with me his reassuring words, “Kath, there is nothing that you could break that I cannot fix so go ahead and start the surgery. You have to learn and I am here to teach you.”
Well, I do not know if I ever achieved that level of skill but I did impart some wisdom to a generation of residents, and I have lived to see them excel in their own practices and become academic leaders themselves.
However, a question remains about whether residents impair our own practices by:
• slowing us down and making hospitals and surgical centers reluctant to book our cases at prime times because of the slow turnovers
• making patients hesitant to be treated in our offices because these trainees will participate in their care
• running our days into the late hours because of the time that we spend between patients and after hours explaining and teaching
I would not trade my years in academic medicine for a high-dollar practice. It has all been worth it. I always tell people that my wealth is measured in the lives of my former students and their practices.
However, if I had been in one of those lucrative private practices, with five cases to get through before starting an afternoon clinic, I wonder if I would have felt differently about training residents. I applaud those who take the time and suffer any negative financial consequences in doing so.
Without Dr. Jolly, Peter Blume, DPM, FACFAS, Allen Jacobs, DPM, FACFAS, Bob Mendicino, DPM, FACFAS, Sam Mendicino, DPM, FACFAS, Jack Schuberth, DPM, FACFAS, Gary Dockery, DPM, FACFAS, and untold others, the training of so many of us by so few mentors would not have been possible.
Have we ever considered their financial and personal sacrifices?
Have we ever thanked them?