It's hard to believe that 2023 is already coming to an end - where did the time go? It seems that each year passes more quickly than the last, and we're left at the end year wondering where the time went. Did we accomplish our goals? Did we make a difference?
Did we improve ourselves or the world around us?
These are all valid questions, and ones that can only be answered after a time of quiet self-reflection. Although it seems the whirlwind of surgeries, emergent cases, and the relentless pace of the OR rarely leaves us with the time to sit and reflect...
So while I have your attention today, I want you to reflect with me over the past year. I can't really guide you through a reflection of your personal goals and dreams, but I do think that we can reflect together professionally. And in doing so, we can reflect on the challenges and triumphs from 2023 and carry the lessons learned into 2024.
What professional goals did you set for yourself this year? Did you accomplish them?
Maybe you wanted to learn to circulate or scrub a new specialty - did you do it? Even if you haven't mastered it yet, did you at least get started? That's something to celebrate!
Or perhaps 2023 was your first year in the Operating Room. That's definitely a challenge to face! How have you done? What have you learned? If you're still in the OR, taking it one day at a time, continuing to learn and improve, then be proud of how far you've come!
Each surgery is an opportunity to strive for excellence, and sometimes our personal achievements get overshadowed by the urgency of the next case. Celebrate the victories, no matter how small. Reflect on the successful procedures, the lives saved, and the impact you've had on the well-being of every patient who entrusted themselves to your care.
Making A Difference
Whether you feel like you did or not, the care you provide to our patients makes a difference in their lives, and in the lives of their families and loved ones. Our actions, from safe patient positioning, to strict adherence to aseptic technique, to guaranteeing correct surgical counts - all of these "everyday actions" - have a profound impact on the lives of our patients.
And it's also about more than just completing a surgery; it's about the compassion we show, the reassurance we provide, and the difference we make in the lives of our patients and their families. So take a moment to reflect on and appreciate the impact you've had that goes beyond the surgical suite.
Did you improve yourself or the world around you? The hectic nature of our profession often leaves little time for self-reflection, but personal growth is integral to professional development. Consider the new techniques you learned, the personal challenges you overcame, the mistakes you made that helped you learn and grow, and the knowledge that you gained over the course of the year. Acknowledge the areas where you've grown and set your sights on continuing that improvement in 2024.
So, as we collectively reflect on 2023, use the thoughts above to really take an honest look at 2023. What did you learn? How did you grow? What mistakes did you make that you were able learn and benefit from? By reflecting, you can use these insights to shape 2024. Your 2024.
Set intentional goals for yourself. Prioritize learning a new specialty, a new skill, or earning higher education. Commit yourself to continuous personal and professional improvement. And despite the fast and furious environment we find ourselves in, set time aside throughout the year to pause, to reflect, and to apply the wisdom gained in 2023 to the challenges you may face in 2024.
May the coming year be filled with growth, resilience, and unparalleled success for each and every one of you. Here's to making a lasting difference in our own lives, and in the lives of every single patient that we see.
Happy New Year!