CataractCoach is very popular among young ophthalmologists who are in the earlier stages of learning ophthalmic surgery and I often receive messages from these young doctors. A relatively common sentiment is regarding the difficulty in learning ocular surgery and whether the doctor should give up operating. The learning curve is truly challenging.
This graph shows three paths in becoming a surgeon:
- The blue line is the young doctor who cannot find the drive to push past the frustration barrier to become an ophthalmic surgeon. As such, this doctor will drop out of medicine, switch to a different medical specialty, or choose to be a medical ophthalmologist who does not perform surgery. Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence.
- The red line is the surgeon who is able to get past the frustration barrier and become a competent surgeon. But the passion and the drive to be better and better, simply is not there. This doctor will be stuck in this zone of mediocrity forever and will simply do the techniques that were learned back in residency training.
- The green line is the expert surgeon who has the drive and determination to learn from every single case and consistently evolve surgical techniques over the years. This surgeon embraces the very difficult cases and prepares diligently for them. This surgeon has the passion to be the best and will maintain that passion for decades. This is the true expert.
The frustration barrier is real and this is a very serious topic.