Resident: Dr. Benjamin Kamel
Year: PGY 3
1) What residency program are you at, and what year are you?
I am a Third-year resident from Chino Valley Medical Center/Kaiser Permanente Central Valley.
2) What are your thoughts on completing a fellowship versus going straight into practice after residency graduation?
I believe that if there is a specific part of your training or education that you feel you are lacking by the end of your three years of residency, then a fellowship can be beneficial.
3) What is the best part of residency, in your opinion?
The best part of residency is that you are in a three year period of your life where you are thrown into as many clinical situations as possible to learn and absorb as much information as you can. There is no other experience like that!
Once residency is over, you may encounter situations that you may have not encountered before, and you won’t always have your attending’s supervision to get you through such cases. When this occurs, you will have to rely on the skills and knowledge that you built throughout your residency years to get you through this. The other great thing about residency is that you go through this experience with other people who all share a common goal, and who may end up being lifelong friends.
4) What is your surgical case volume and a typical week at your program?
Depending on the time of year, we can experience on average between 25-35 cases per week between multiple locations. There is not one type of surgical case that predominates in our program, I’d say we have a well-rounded experience.
5) If you had to pick again, would you pick podiatry and your program?
6) What advice do you have for a (4th year) podiatry student?
This is your time to maximize and learn as much as possible…
Study hard, and read as much as you can.
This is your time to maximize and learn as much as possible from a variety of different locations. Your fourth-year is a very unique experience in that students can learn from 6-8 different facilities (depending on the school), providing different prospectives on how to diagnose and treat pathologies of the foot and ankle. When choosing your future residency, consider what is most important to you. Whether it is proximity to family, mentors, number of residents in the program, surgical case type, surgical load, or ratio of surgery-to-clinic,
find out what that is.
This will be important when you choose your list of potential residencies. You will hear this over and over, but make sure when you rank the potential residency programs that you rank what YOU want, not what you think will give you the best chance of matching. I always believe that what is meant to happen, and will happen.
7) What is your favorite surgery?
I enjoy any surgeries related to sports medicine and trauma, but I especially like doing lateral ankle stabilizing procedures, such as the Modified Broström.
8) What has been your favorite outside rotation?
My favorite outside rotation has been my orthopedic surgery rotation. It was interesting to see and do surgeries outside of the foot and ankle. There are a lot of surgical concepts that translate to any part of the body, and there are techniques that other surgeons use that you may be able to adopt and use yourself.
9) What do you see for your future practice setting/case type? Has this changed since you were a student?
I see myself working in a private practice setting working mostly with athletes doing a lot of sports medicine/trauma.
10) When you’re finding that things you’ve done or learned in the past are not correct, how do you respond to this?
… be inquisitive and search for the right answer so that we may provide the best care for our patients.
Of course as practitioners it is important to always want to better yourself and your practice to provide the best, evidence-based, treatments. I always will respond positively to learn that what I once thought, or how I am currently practicing may not be the best. That is what makes you a better person and a better doctor.
In my residency program, I was trained to always be inquisitive and search for the right answer so that we may provide the best care for our patients. In our field, as well as with any surgical specialty, it is sometimes hard to develop strong studies, which will make the question of, “What is the best treatment option for X pathology?” difficult to answer. As a student, resident, and young physician, you may tend to lean on the experience of those who have been practicing for much longer. Most of the time that is okay, but you need to be convinced that what you know or how you choose to treat people is the absolute best way.
Interview by: Rob De Los Santos
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