Stephen McKellar, M.D.
What attracted you to surgery?
I like treating surgical diseases. Patients who need surgery have real problems that, if untreated, could take their lives. I like being involved in potentially life-saving operations and guiding patients through their postoperative courses. The quick decision-making and ability to work under pressure is required for surgery and that's exciting. Surgery encompasses all aspects of medicine: Diagnosis, imaging, treatment, ICU management, inpatient and outpatient care. That variety keeps things interesting.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for residency training?
When I was looking for a residency program, I found a lot of good training programs out there. Mayo, however, was the place where I felt I would be best trained to take care of patients. The needs of the patient really do come first here, and that is how I wanted to be trained. The city of Rochester was also a big plus for me. I have young children and this city is the best for raising them.
I was also attracted to come here for endless academic opportunities. I was able to spend two years in the lab, published a lot of papers, gave talks at national meetings, and earned a Masters in Biomedical Research from the Graduate School. The research infrastructure and resources at Mayo are substantial.
What makes the Mayo Clinic General Surgery Residency unique?
The autonomy here is second to none. Residents are given a lot of independent responsibilities that I didn't see anywhere else, especially in the operating room. Additionally, the breadth and depth of cases here is phenomenal. Throughout my five years, I will have seen nearly everything. Moreover, the apprentice model is a unique way to train. Working with one surgeon for up to three months is a valuable learning opportunity and allows increased autonomy in OR.
Anything surprise you about Mayo's program?
No. I spent a month here as a 4th year medical student for a one-month rotation. I liked what I saw enough to cancel nearly all of my other interviews and rank Mayo #1.
What is living in Rochester like for you?
Rochester is a great place to live. I have small children and this is the most family- friendly town I've ever lived in. It's safe, affordable and has great kids' sports/activities programs. I don't go to the Twin Cities too often, but when I do, I enjoy watching the Minnesota Twins. Rochester is a great place to be - offering great training and overall good balance.
What does your future look like right now?
I'm staying at Mayo for the fast-track General/Cardiothoracic surgery training program. When I'm done, I'll be seeking a junior faculty position.