As trainees and young surgeon members of the Resident and Associate Society of the American College of Surgeons (RAS-ACS), we strive to
balance newer forms of communication, technology,
and learning with age-old traditions of surgical training and education. Perhaps more than most medical
specialties, the House of Surgery takes great pride
in our traditions. Historical surgeon leaders and
mentors, including the sixth century BC physician
Sushruta; Harvey Williams Cushing, MD, FACS; William Stewart Halsted, MD, FACS; and Ernest Amory
Codman, MD, FACS, formulated the professional
ideals that we strive to meet and serve as examples by
which we measure ourselves today.
Factors affecting how we practice
We inhabit a rapidly evolving world. The way we communicate through e-mail and social media, has changed
the timeliness with which information is transferred.
Social media platforms allow us to share personal information about ourselves. This heightened transparency
and exposure has made navigating our relationships
with colleagues and patients increasingly challenging,
as well as adding to questions about professionalism.
As surgeons engage in these changing forms of communication, we must remain flexible and adaptable.
Recognizing the efforts of the surgeons who came
before us is key to upholding the ideals of professionalism and decorum, particularly in the modern era.
The rapid evolution of technology has also com-
pelled us to rethink how we provide care to our
patients. The development of newer forms of mini-
mally invasive scopes and instruments, high-fidelity
imaging capabilities, and smaller and finer tools and
devices has allowed us to perform extensive operations
through barely perceptible skin incisions.
We also bear witness to advances in telemedicine
and the use of computers and cameras to visually transfer data. As a result, a rural emergency department can
now communicate with trauma surgeons hundreds of
miles away. The popularity of walk-in drugstore clinics
reinforces societal demand for instant access to medical care and prescriptions. With increased pressure for
immediate action by the public, we must remember
that what made medicine such a distinguished profession is our reliance on evidence, deliberation, and
thought before taking action.
Perspectives from the RAS-ACS committees
The features section of this issue of the Bulletin, written
by members of the RAS-ACS, comprises articles that
describe the challenges that arise when we try to both
honor and modernize tradition. We selected topics by
popular vote among our four standing committees:
Membership, Issues and Advocacy, Communications,
and Education. We hope that you find these articles
informative and thought-provoking.
The RAS-ACS is always seeking new members, so
if you are a trainee or young surgeon who would benefit from and enjoy involvement in this organization,
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or the RAS-ACS
Administrator, Alison Casey, at email@example.com. ♦
Generations of surgeons:
Honoring and modernizing tradition
by Maya Babu, MD, MBA