2011 Joseph C. Fischer, MD
Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Christopher Browne, '11

Joseph Scordino, MD

Christopher Browne's Winning Essay

The stereotype of a surgeon is that of a physician who chooses the profession in hopes of limiting the patient-physician relationship. Tackling this stereotype is the foremost goal of ensuring that surgeons have effective therapeutic relationships with patients. While this may be a great challenge to some, I have found my greatest inspiration for a career in surgery to derive from compassionate surgeons who take pride in knowing their patients—from their greatest concerns and fears to their current struggle with coping with the difficulties of their condition. These surgeons have not only obtained a high level of surgical knowledge and skills and are devoted to continued learning in their field, but are also able to give honest advice and clear expectations to their patients. The surgeon who is successful at patient-physician relationships is able to educate patients about the choices available and preventative measures, provide guidance, and motivate them to participate actively in attaining and maintaining good health.

I believe that a surgeon, though required to be the most skilled at understanding and employing the physical relationships of the human body, is at the bedside of a patient at the most vulnerable moments in patient care: pre and post-operatively, and thus it is important to use these moments to demonstrate their compassion and commitment to the care of the patient. Therefore, the investment into the patient-physician relationship, the more effective the physician is in delivering care and increasing compliance from the patient in relation to their care. I strongly believe that despite how specialized and advanced the healthcare system may become, it still remains important to step back and see a patient as an individual and not as part of a statistic.

I plan to approach my training and practice of medicine, specifically in the field of surgery with this primary belief as the basis of all my interactions with patients. I also plan to encourage my fellow colleagues by acknowledging their efforts to approaching patient care with increased, compassionate communication. An additional component is making oneself approachable to patients and team members. Participating in the community by visiting religious centers, retirements homes, working with community businesses and local leaders create a more multi-dimensional personable persona. I plan to build upon this public health concept and use clinic bedside, and inpatient opportunities to reach out, in addition to be involved in the public domain where a significant amount of health outreach is done. In my pathway to becoming a physician, I have had the opportunity to work in low-socioeconomic areas and have seen the value in educational outreach. I plan to continue my commitment to outreached providing care to underserved and low-socioeconomic areas throughout my career. While investing in the process of building a relationship might be challenging, time consuming, and not always practical or possible, in those situations where an effective relationship is created with a patient, the reward is limitless—making an ordinary surgeon into a remarkable healer.

Past Scholarship Recipients