A Fellow’s Tale:
In my last blog I introduced myself and explained what a “Fellow” is and how extensively trained they are. I have a number of roles as a Fellow at the New Zealand Institute of Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery (NZIPCS). One of which is to help out in the early consultation phase of a patient’s journey. This can only occur if the patient is happy for me to attend the consultation. The Doctor that you are visiting will generally introduce me and ask for permission for me to “sit in” with you during your consultation. For some this might seem fine and for others it might be a bit too much. So today’s blog is about why its beneficial to have a Fellow “sit in” on your consult.
Firstly, the reason we do this job is to have a positive effect on our patient’s life. We care greatly about what troubles you and about how we can best treat you to maximize the end outcome. For some it’s a very personal issue, hence, having another person in the room can feel daunting. Its important to remember that the Fellow is a qualified Plastic Surgeon, who has taken the same oaths as your Surgeon and who has the empathy and training to understand what concerns you.
I act as a sounding board to your Consultants, enabling them to verbalise a point of interest in your case. This may lead me to review the latest literature and discuss my findings with your Consultant to optimize your treatment plan. As I sit in with all the Consultants (Mr. Januszkiewiczs, Mr. Gilbert, Mr. Bartlett and Mr. Wheeler) at the NZIPCS, I quickly develop a level of expertise that is associated with particular Consultants interests i.e. Breast augmentation, Face lift, rhinoplasty. Hence, I am able to offer an immediate second opinion regarding various strategies for dealing with an issue or giving the patient further reassurance that this is the best way forward.
A number of patients require a small skin biopsy or wound care procedure at the end of the consultation. Generally, I am able to this for you straight away as I’ve already met you and feel part of your case. This can save an additional trip into the practice. Also, through out your postoperative care visits, the nurses can always contact me to help out or answer additional questions you may have. On a few occasions I’ve had patients come in wanting to have an additional consultation about their operation, recovery etc… which I’ve been happy to do as their Surgeon is otherwise preoccupied.
I generally like to attend the surgical cases of those patients whom I’ve been part of their consultation. This enables me to see the procedure as not a mere technical exercise but rather puts it into the bigger picture of achieving the desired outcome for a person. There are numerous advantages of having me as a surgical assistant. In addition to my extensive surgical skill sets and surgical experience that I bring, I can also aid in reducing the time spent in theater. This may have both a health and financial benefit for you.
The NZIPCS Fellow looks forward to meeting and caring for you!