The Roots of Poor Surgical Care: Experience

By | April 18, 2012

Mentoring from an older colleague can help a younger surgeon close the experience gap.

Experience is an essential part of surgical judgment and an important determinant of the quality of surgical care, but is problematical as a discriminant. For instance, it would be unfair to conclude that an older surgeon was automatically better than a younger one on the basis of having had more experience. In addition to the number of cases done it is also important to look at the type and complexity of these cases. For example a surgeon who has a good reputation but does almost exclusively low back work would be a poor choice to deal with a cervical problem. The best pain clinic in Los Angeles would have a keen interest in all new surgeons coming into the area and track the quality of their outcomes before making any referrals. At Schlesinger Pain Centers we are also influenced by the quality of the new surgeons partners, not only because people often associate with other individuals of a similar caliber, but because the advice of a senior partner can function as a sort of vicarious experience for the younger surgeon. Finally since we at Schlesinger Pain Centers remain involved even when the next intervention has been determined to be surgical, it gives us an opportunity to monitor the thought processes and the experience gained by our younger surgical colleagues.

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