On Sunday, April 14, attendees gathered at the San Diego Convention center to be part of the 2019 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting’s Opening Ceremonies, Physician, Steel Thyself: Maintaining Resilience Across a Neurosurgical Career.
Wayne Sotile, PhD, opened with important questions: “How happy are you? Who are the ones you love and work with?” He shared his belief that there is ‘burnout hysteria’ and that even if a person only owns and can influence 10% of their own problems, that can be enough. He challenged the audience to do the following:
- Manage your ambivalence;
- Honestly assess yourself;
- Counter hassles with uplift; and,
- Deepen your relationships.
He closed by asking attendees to strive to see the familiar in unfamiliar ways, experience wonderment and be kind to each other.
Dr. Sotile was followed by Zubin Damania, MD, a.k.a. ZDoggMD. Using Winnie the Pooh as a stand-in for patients everywhere, Dr. Damania discussed the challenges of healthcare right now, concluding, “they don’t pay us to do things for people, they pay us to do things to them.”
He asked the audience to visualize an elephant as the animal within themselves, ridden by a much smaller piece of us – logic – which tries to steer the elephant. As when actually trying to guide an elephant, it takes time to convince our more basic selves to do what is right. The problem, according to Dr. Damania, is that the rider has the skills and understanding, but will always tire more quickly than the elephant.
As he extended the metaphor, he suggested that the best scenario is to have the elephant, the rider and a path, which represents the support systems available to us and the plans we have made. As for medicine, “the ideal is to do well financially by doing well for patients.”
Sunday concluded with an opening reception at the USS Midway Museum. The venue, live music and conversation combined for a memorable evening, which concluded with tours of the ship and a fireworks display.
Please enjoy the photos of the event and the USS Midway.