Jeffrey S. Scow, M.D.
What attracted you to surgery?
I was attracted to the practice of surgery because of a personal experience. When I was 16 years old I had to have my appendix removed. I remember feeling terrible prior to the operation. When I woke up afterwards I was amazed at how much better I felt. I was intrigued that a person could have the skill necessary to remove safely a diseased organ and restore a person to health.
In medical school, as I became more committed to surgery, I was impressed by the vast breadth of knowledge and the rigor required of a surgeon. Surgery is a goal-oriented and focused field. I knew that if I became a surgeon I would be able to go home each day knowing that I accomplished something.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for residency training?
I was first attracted by Mayo Clinic's reputation. Mayo is known worldwide as a leader in medicine and particularly in the operative treatment of diseases.
When I came to interview for a residency position, I was impressed by the organization of the general surgery program and the superb facilities. Furthermore, I knew that I wanted to do two years of basic science research during residency and it was clear to me that this was possible.
I was awed, most of all though, by the residents with whom I interacted at my interview. During a portion of the interview, one of the chief residents presented a number of the cases he had performed over the past month. Consultants (attendings) asked him unrehearsed questions and challenged him by changing scenarios multiple times. This resident answered each question flawlessly. I was surprised that someone could be that polished and knowledgeable. I was informed that such a presentation was expected of every resident and that if I trained at Mayo Clinic I would be able to perform at that level as well. After having been here for several years I understand that this exercise is excellent preparation for the oral board exam residents are required to take after residency.
What makes the Mayo Clinic General Surgery Residency unique?
The general surgery residency program at Mayo Clinic is unique in many ways. Our residency program is based on a mentorship model. In general, each resident works with one consultant (attending) at a time for several weeks. When your consultant is seeing patients in clinic, you are in clinic. When your consultant is operating, you are operating, too.
This model allows for a large amount of one-on-one teaching. It also ensures continuity of care for our patients. The patients I see in clinic are the same patients on whom I operate the next day, subsequently care for in the hospital, and see back in clinic for follow-up. Also, no answer to this question would be complete without mentioning the nearly 100 operating rooms, the complexity of cases, and the myriad opportunities available to residents.
Has anything surprised you about Mayo's program?
What has surprised me the most is the collegiality among physicians and specialties. We often hear and read the quote by William J. Mayo, "The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered." This commitment is truly practiced. I have witnessed many instances where physicians from multiple specialties have collaborated to determine the best solution for a patient. The institution as a whole, as well as the general surgery program, is committed to putting the needs of the patient first.