Speak Out: What's the most important lesson you've learned about practicing urology?

October 1, 2010

Urologists share a diverse range of lessons they've learned since they started practicing.

The other thing I think is important is surgical training. Because of the quickly changing landscape, you have to be prepared for anything in surgery, because you can't make the patient wait while you figure out what comes next."
Daniel Mulligan, MD
Columbus, OH

"The most important thing is to communicate with patients. I have a 2-year master's degree in counseling psychology, which gives me a different focus.

I also find that when patients understand what's going on, they are much better patients and get far better care.

You have to mesh your interview with the patients' intellectual and emotional functions. I think that's the most fun in medicine."
Harry M. Baer, MD
Philadelphia

"I didn't want to join someone else's practice after residency. I wanted to open a practice by myself, but that's difficult because as urologists, we don't really know anything about running a practice when we finish residency, and it's hard unless you have a lot of economic support.

The option I took is to let a hospital open a practice for me. The hospital asks what I need, buys it, and I have a practice that I didn't have to fund out of my own pocket. That's where I am; I'm a ahospital-employed physician."
Hugo H. Davila, MD
Tawas City, MI

"I run a residency program, and there's one thing I harp on with my residents: Before you start operating at a hospital, take an hour or two to meet with the nurses and go over with them the way they like to do surgery and the equipment they like to use. See what equipment the hospital has.

I tell them to go over what they like to do, so they're dealing with these people as partners, not just as new docs who are demanding things. If they do that, they'll find they are received at that hospital far more positively, and they'll be given more slack if they make mistakes because of their interactions with the staff."
Harry Clarke, MD
Charleston, SC