I would like to start off by saying that after I graduate Louisiana Tech University, my plan is to go to medical school and then to go from there to become a pediatric surgeon. My inspiration for this blog is my interview I held with Dr. Mark Brown. He is a pediatric surgeon at Pediatric Surgical Associates in Shreveport, LA. My goal for my interview with him was to learn more about how much technical communication is used in the particular career path that I am interested in.
When I asked Dr. Brown about what he has to say about technical communication in his workplace, he sighed and said “there is a lot of written work that goes into my job. It definitely isn’t my favorite part of my job but it isn’t all so bad. From charting the patients, to writing letters, to even publishing chapters in certain books, I have done a lot of written work in my career.”
One thing Dr. Brown has to do, as a requirement of his job, is to write letters to his patient’s parents. In these letters, he tries to be as compassionate as possible while also relaying all of the necessary information that the parents need to know. He also has to write letters to his supervisors almost in a way of updating them on his work lately.
Something interesting that Dr. Brown got to do was write chapters for certain books on medicine. He wrote different chapters on pediatrics, surgery, and much more. He told me “this was a really neat opportunity for me because I got to put into writing a lot of my knowledge. Also, while writing the chapters, I realized that I know a lot more than I thought I knew.”
Last and, most likely in his opinion, least, Dr. Brown must chart all of his patients. “Charting patients is probably the least interesting part of all of the paperwork I have to do,” explains Dr. Brown. He goes on to say, “It is exactly what you would imagine it to be, putting everything about that specific patient into one file. Thankfully, I have some great nurses to help me out.” For the simple fact that Dr. Brown is a very busy man, he gives all of the information on his patients to his nurses and they configure it all into a chart.
Personally, I learned a lot from Dr. Brown that I didn’t already know about being a surgeon. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that most people don’t realize. In order to be a surgeon, you have to be well rounded. You must be compassionate, but you must also be able to switch to serious in a time of crisis. Especially when being a pediatric surgeon, there is even more that it entails. Working on adults is one thing, but working with children is a whole different ball game. When working with children, you don’t only have to communicate with the patient, but because they are a minor, you must also communicate with their parents and/or guardians. Also, being a pediatric surgeon requires a lot of patience too. The doctors must be able to relay all necessary information to the parents and must be prepared to repeat themselves multiple times. Dr. Brown told me, “Dealing with worried parents is my least favorite part of my job because I know what it is like to be worried about your children. So it is easy for me to have sympathy for them.” I am very happy I chose to interview him and I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn so much.
-Meghan Johnston, guest blogger