What makes work worth it for orthopedic surgeons?


Six orthopedic surgeons connected with Becker's to discuss what makes going into work every day worth it. 

Ask Orthopedic Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting orthopedic care. We invite all orthopedic surgeon and specialist responses.

Next question: If you could change one thing about the orthopedic industry, what would it be and why?

Please send responses to Riz Hatton at rhatton@beckershealthcare.com by 5 p.m. CDT Thursday, September 14.

Note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Thomas DeBerardino, MD. Sports Medicine Orthopedic Surgeon at UT Health San Antonio: I wake up between 4:30 and 5 a.m. every weekday and enjoy the pre-rush hour jaunt to work knowing that I am a part of the multiplicative process of not only helping our patients get better, but helping medical students, residents and fellows learn the skills, knowledge and confidence to one day help all their future patients get better. Receiving a thank you or video clip of a patient "getting back in their game," or a resident saying they were ultimately challenged during their orthopedic sports rotation is always the icing on the cake.

Traci Granston, MD. Orthopedic Surgeon at Proliance Orthopedic Associates (Renton, Wash.): I love helping patients. Growing up, I wanted to be an Olympic figure skater but quickly realized that my true passion was helping patients return to their pre-injury level of function. Helping those impacted by either sports-related injuries or chronic diseases, such as arthritis, is near and dear to my heart. 

As a practicing orthopedic surgeon, I've always put what's best for my patients first. Over time, it has become increasingly difficult for patients to navigate healthcare. That is why I split my time to also serve as medical director at Cohere Health, a company that's using prior authorization transactions as an asset to improve patient care. I've had the opportunity to work on comprehensive episodic authorization programs, which include prior authorizations for related services on a carepath, and have seen some incredible results for patients. 

Whether it be in the operating room or in a health plan's boardroom, it's my patient-centered approach that makes going to work everyday worth it. 

Deeptee Jain, MD. Orthopedic and Spine Surgeon at the Center for Bone & Joint Surgery of the Palm Beaches (Fla.): For me, first it is the people I work with. Moving from academics to private practice I didn't know what to expect; everyone I work with is fantastic, and even more, fun. My partners are some of the most talented I have ever worked with, and the nonclinical staff are so committed to providing excellent patient care. Too often, we overlook the impact staff has on the patient experience, from how they are greeted at the front desk to how they are roomed. Our staff always puts the patient first, making my job much easier and making the experience of the patient much more pleasant.

Second, it is so incredibly rewarding when an operation is successful in alleviating pain. I love rounding on patients on post-op day one and giving patients high-fives when they tell me that their preoperative pain is gone after what is often a minimally invasive procedure. Nerve pain can be one of the most debilitating conditions, and spine surgery can be transformative when it comes to quality of life. When I see these patients in my office and they are back to doing the things that they want to do, it is very gratifying.

Chanakya Jandhyala, MD. Orthopedic Surgeon at Community Medical Center, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus, RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group (Toms River, N.J.): The opportunity to work with a smart, motivated and fantastic team in the hospital and operating room. Working with talented and thoughtful surgeons as we integrate new and improved technologies for improved patient care. Lastly, to make a positive impact in my patients' lives is a tremendous privilege.

Ehsan Jazini, MD. Spine Surgeon at the Virginia Spine Institute (Reston): What makes coming to work every day worth it for me is the privilege of making a positive impact on the lives of my patients, the constant evolution and innovation in medicine, the relationships I build and the satisfaction of knowing that I am helping individuals lead healthier, more active lives.

Over my years in practice, I've had the privilege of building strong relationships with my patients. It's not just about treating their conditions but also providing support, guidance and encouragement throughout their healing journey. These connections are truly meaningful and make my work all the more fulfilling. I love being part of the transformation in my patients' lives.

Jashan Valjee, DPM. Orthopedic Surgeon at the Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics (Bethesda, Md.): For many physicians, myself included, one of the primary and most obvious motivators to go into medicine is the desire to improve the lives of others. That desire to help people, combined with the competitive nature of medicine, is enough motivation to get out of bed in the morning. Orthopedic specialists like myself can make a real difference because many of our patients come in with pain or discomfort that we can quickly fix through treatments such as immobilization, cortisone injections or even a surgical repair. We have the ability to improve a person's life almost immediately, which is extremely gratifying.   

Fourteen years into my orthopedic career, I am happy to report that I truly enjoy what I do. All medical careers come with their own challenges; however, my colleagues and staff are irreplaceable, and improving the lives of my patients makes even my long commute into the office worth it each day.

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