American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Traveling Scholar Report

Traveling Scholar Attends Clinical Congress 2019, Learns from RAS-ACS Symposium How to Prevent Surgeon Burnout

The John Buckingham Travelling Scholarship is an annual grant awarded by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) to attend the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Clinical Congress to encourage international exchange of information concerning surgical science, practice, and education. As a final-year urology resident (or registrar in Australian terms), I was fortunate to be selected for this great opportunity to attend Clinical Congress 2019 in San Francisco.

Prior to the meeting, I spent time at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) with the urology faculty at the Parnassus and Mission Bay campuses as a clinical observer. It was very interesting to appreciate the similarities and differences in our clinical practice and health systems. Overall, I was impressed with the innovative and high-quality clinical care as well as the welcoming attitude and hospitality of the UCSF urology faculty (thanks for having me).

I then shifted my attention to the Clinical Congress, held at the very impressive Moscone Center, where I was immediately taken aback by the magnitude of the conference registration and diversity of attendees. This event was bigger than any conference I've been to in Australia! I very much enjoyed the session "Shiftwork Surgery: Loss of Continuity or Sensible Balance of Responsibility" and the discussion around training in the face of restricted hours from all perspectives, as this is an issue affecting training in Australia and New Zealand. While we are in between the U.S. and United Kingdom on this issue, the different experiences and approaches for different health systems (university versus regional practice, different specialties) was very informative. A key message I will take away was the formula on how to become an expert (deliberate practice, extensive experience, coaching, meta-cognition), the difference between "burnout" and "moral injury," and how to overcome these.

My favorite event was the International Reception, where I was hosted enthusiastically by the friendly Jeremy Kauffman, a general surgery resident from the east coast, and met up with fellow exchange recipient Jaime Doody, a recent pediatric ENT fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital originally from Ireland due to start up practice at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. It was lovely to exchange experiences of training and future ambitions. I met with our local RACS-ACS chapter president, Professor Julian Smith, as well as other Australasian and international surgeons. I was taken aback by the truly international nature of the reception; there were people from all corners of the globe and in between!

Unfortunately, my trip was cut short due to competing clinical commitments back home, but it will remain an important experience in my training and a motivator to further work toward advancing collaborations and exchanges with our American colleagues in the future. Sincerest thanks to Alison Powers and the RAS-ACS for your organization and hospitality on this great trip. I will be sure to recommend it to others in future!

Matt Roberts, MD
Urology Resident and Scholarship Winner, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
RAS-ACS International Scholarship Exchange 2019

Large #ACSCC19 in exhibit hall

Panel session at Clinical Congress 2019