I hear this question quite frequently. Whether it be from my medical student mentees or from the residents and fellows I teach. The answer is that I love orthopedics for many reasons.
For one, the fact I help improve a patient’s quality of life is immeasurable. Patient’s goals always vary from returning to sports, to being able to walk pain free. The important thing for me to focus on is helping people achieve these goals and to get back to a more active lifestyle.
Another reason is that I have autonomy. I can work when I want and take time off when I want. Many of my friends have high powered jobs, but their time at work is not within their control. With that being said, if my patients need me, I don’t like spending too much time away. If a patient is injured, they should be seen within a few days.
Third, I really like using my hands. Surgery is technically demanding at times and it’s rewarding to get the job done just right.
Finally, I like the variety within my patient population. It’s great meeting a wide range of individuals and I have even taken care of families before where I helped three generations, each varying in different orthopedic needs.
Every patient has a different story, but that’s what keeps my job so interesting. I am happy with what I do and enjoy spreading my knowledge and experiences.