University of Calgary
1) It’s your Chief year! Did you ever believe this year would come? How would you reflect on the journey overall thus-far?
Overall, it has been a great experience. The time has gone by extremely fast. There have been a lot of great times and a few tough times. I think a General Surgery residency is something that will expose who you really are as your true character will show itself when you are pushed to your limit and maybe a little farther…
2) So what is next? Where are you off to in July? Have you already lined up a job or a fellowship or are you still keeping your options open?
I have been accepted to the colorectal fellowship at the University of Calgary. I would like to stay in an academic center in Canada.
3) What are you going to miss the most about residency?
The comradery. A good residency program functions like a sports team. The close friendships you create during residency are special. Our annual trips to Banff for Basic Science retreats stand out. The American College of Surgery meeting in Chicago with all the chief residents was fantastic.
4) Where did you go to medical school and how did you come about the decision to specialize in General Surgery? Was it something you gradually got into or is there an “aha” moment from your background or training?
I went to medical school at UBC. I originally considered Orthopedics but it didn’t fit as well as I thought it would. I was fortunate to have a great experience with the General Surgery group in Prince George, BC. They were very supportive of my application to General Surgery. I did an elective in Prince George last year and it really reminded me of what a good thing they have going on there. An elective with Dr. Morad Hameed at VGH in the beginning of my 4th year of medical school solidified my decision.
5) Where did you grow up and what did you do in your life before medicine? Not just professionally, but did you have any hobbies or passions that you still pursue?
I grew up in Abbotsford, BC. I was a chiropractor before I applied to medical school. Applying to medicine was one of the best decisions I have made. I have been runner for a long time but quite inconsistent during residency.
6) If you had to go back and do something else, anything other than medicine, and more specifically surgery, what would it be?
Unfortunately, I can’t sing or dance so show business is out. I wouldn’t give up my undergraduate years for anything.
7) What was the absolute funniest moment during your residency?
There have been a lot of funny moments over the last four years. Recently, I was rounding early on the colorectal service and woke up a patient who we were planning to discharge that day. He woke up a little confused and referred to me as “cougar face.” The other resident on the service had to leave the room as he started to laugh. I still have no idea how to take that remark but I am sure it was meant as a compliment…
8) How about the scariest?
The scariest moment occurred last month on September 10 when my wife gave birth to our twins. It is an exciting time but also terrifying for many reasons. Needless to say, I started studying early for the Royal College exam.
9) What is your go to food on call?
A good night of call includes your favorite staff ordering Vietnamese.
10) If you could give some words of wisdom to new Residents starting General Surgery in the light of everything we’re facing these days across Canada (limited jobs, duty hour restrictions, more and more specialization), what would it be?
The main advice I give to the junior residents is that there is no substitute for hard work. People form an opinion of you very quickly. If you are perceived as lazy it is almost impossible to overcome. I also believe in being kind to everyone. Sometimes it can be really hard because you are exhausted, irritated and fed up but you will never regret it.
I also try to impress the fact that we all make mistakes. It’s how we handle those mistakes that matter. Do not make excuses…
In regards to jobs, good people are always in demand. If you work hard and get along with everyone it’s hard for them to say no.