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Clinical Presentation Skills: How to be a Stand Out Applicant for Employment

PGY-3 Year…Freedom at Last! Right? 

How to be a stand out applicant for employment

By: Jonathan D. Rouse, DPM, DABPM

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Your phone goes off in the middle of the night. You pop up immediately because you are a PGY-3 and you’re used to this lifestyle now. You’re just happy it’s not a pager going off…until you see it’s your junior PGY-1 calling. You pick up and they ask you how to order a medication in the EMR. Of course you’re happy to help because you are nice and empathetic. You get it; you were once a PGY-1 trying to figure out how the heck to input orders in the system.

We’ve all been in the trenches. The first day of residency, wide-eyed, scared and asking ourselves, “What did I get myself into?!” Then second year comes and you’re so used to the smell of wounds that you can probably eat lunch while treating them, although unsanitary and not recommended. By the end of your PGY-2 year, your confidence level is usually beginning to peak. Your PGY-3 year starts, and the feeling of being near the top of the food chain is ephemeral as you realize that you soon need to find a real job while still completing your training. While nothing can replace great training and confidence, there are some preparations that can aid you in standing out against other applicants.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

The CV is a living breathing document. I personally view it as a professional diary as it shows everything that you have done in relation to your professional life. It’s hard to fill up during residency because you are so busy training, but it should be updated at least quarterly. Once in your PGY-3 year, it should be updated monthly. I recommend keeping a list on your phone of information to add, then once the time comes, you aren’t struggling to remember information. Also, when saving the file, I recommend putting the date last updated on the file so you are aware of the last time you made updates. Everything you do, whether it be workshops, cadaver labs, research, specialized trainings, published journal articles, pending journal articles, poster presentations, etc., needs to be on your CV. The bullet points should be quick and to the point, however, elaborating on your residency training is a good idea so as to not undersell or oversell yourself when the time comes to apply for employment.

Your CV is also a reflection of your organizational skills. It should have a natural flow and be separated into different headings such as: Education, Professional Training, Work Experience, Research Experience, etc. It should also be chronological within each sub-heading. The job you’re applying for may have 30+ applicants depending on the position; if the reviewer has to jump all over your CV to try to figure it out, it’s going in the trash. Proofread, proofread, and then proofread again. Then have your parents, spouse, best friend, whomever proofread it again.

Your professional references are also very important, so ensure you are selecting people that can speak positively about your professional and clinical skills. The interviewer(s) will more than likely contact your references to learn more about you as they will only get to know a little bit about you in your interview.

Cover Letter / Letter of Intent

A Cover Letter or Letter of Intent should be supplied with every employment opportunity you apply for along with your CV. Before applying, do your research so you can explain why you think you would fit into that particular practice / hospital. Explain how you think you can help the practice / hospital become successful with your skill set. This is a chance for you to sell yourself, so make it count! Again, proofread, proofread, proofread.

One of your best resources is the product reps in the area you are looking to work. They will know about job openings, personalities or different doctors, which surgical centers have the best food in the doctor’s lounge, etc. They are at your disposal and are full of information that can aid you. Nothing will make you look better than going into an interview and knowing nearly everything about someone’s practice or hospital. Just act surprised when they tell you they have Surf and Turf daily in the Doctors’ Lounge! (Do these even exist anymore)?

Logs

Once you meet the minimum required number for surgical procedures, biomechanicals, H&Ps, etc., you should stop logging right? WRONG! I believe you should try to log all encounters in residency. Perform a nail avulsion? Debride and perform cryoablation on verrucae? Put on an Ex-Fix (This is not a stand-alone surgical procedure)? Debride a wound and place a bioalternative? These should all be logged as category 6, (Other Podiatric Procedures).

Put a detailed explanation in the Notes on PRR when logged and you have a diary from residency. Your numbers matter! Imagine the strength of a cover letter with sentences such as: “Extremely comfortable in the clinic setting as well as the Operating Room; 10,000+ patients seen in clinic while performing over 800 surgical cases in Residency.”

Or if you happen to be applying to a Wound Care Center part time: “5,000+ patients seen in residency with greater than 25% of them obtaining bioalternative products to aid in healing. Comfortable managing complicated wounds and extremely knowledgeable about the different treatment modalities.”  Statements such as these will set you apart from other candidates as they may not have the data to support why they should be hired over you.

It’s great to be able to have data when interviewing. What if a practice is looking to expand and needs a Podiatrist with RRA experience? You have all of your rearfoot cases, but if logged correctly, you can pull out how many External Fixators, Delta Frames, etc completed in residency. If you can send prospective employers your logs or be able to pull data from them when they inquire about certain skill sets, you will stand out as the numbers speak for themselves.

Be Realistic

Every Doc thinks they deserve to make $1 million per year out of residency. The dues have been paid and now it’s time to get paid the big bucks! But guess what? You will likely be offered a lower salary than you were hoping for, especially if you are entering a practice system versus a hospital system. The reason for the lower salary is that the owner is taking a chance on you. The practice cannot afford to pay you $175,000 guaranteed salary your first year out of residency because you don’t even have any established patients yet! What you should be hoping for is a decent base salary and a good performance based bonus structure. That means the more money you bring into the practice, the bigger bonus you get, which should make you work harder so you can get paid! Do that for a year or two, and now you have some leverage to renegotiate your contract for a larger base salary.

Another problem I see is that a lot of residents are applying for high-volume trauma positions or Orthopedic group positions when they did not receive this type of training during residency. Yes, it can pay more, but if you aren’t qualified for the job, you’re going to be wasting time and money interviewing once and possibly twice for the job. Instead, you could be interviewing for a perfect job elsewhere before someone else snatches it up. Be realistic and honest about your skill set and personality and you will be able to find the right fit.

“Do I Need a Fellowship?”

I get this question A LOT from both residents and students. My answer is always the same: If you’ve had a well-rounded residency experience, you likely don’t need a fellowship. If you feel like you need more confidence in the operating room, go do a fellowship. If you had a void in your residency training and you are uncomfortable with it, go do a fellowship. If you want to be seen as The Expert in a certain subspecialty, go do a fellowship with a targeted focus. It is all a personal choice that only you can answer as you are going through your training.

Remember the Podiatric Roots

80% – 90% of most Podiatrists’ time is spent in clinic. The best thing you can do in residency starting Day One is to learn how to perform a good clinical exam and treat patients conservatively when possible. If you didn’t and you’re at the beginning of your PGY-3 year, you have time left to polish your skills. Most patients don’t want to have surgery unless they absolutely need it. Yes, you may be able to put in a Total Ankle Replacement in 2 hours with no jig and no fluoro, but can you give a proper Hallux anesthetic injection for a nail avulsion without the patient screaming? Don’t overlook where Podiatry came from by focusing too much on surgery. You should be able to teach the PGY-1s & PGY-2s how to do almost everything in clinic during your PGY-3 year. That’s when you know you’re ready.

Board Certification

Getting board certified as fast as possible is the most important professional accomplishment a recent residency graduate can obtain. It allows you to get on insurance plans quicker, get hospital privileges quicker, you will likely get a bump in your salary for being board certified, and it looks professional. The great thing about the ABPM is that you are able to take the qualification exam during residency and the certification exam the Fall after, thus becoming board certified as soon as 4 months after completion of residency. I like to refer to the ABPM as the “Board of What We Do Everyday.” It truly is the only certifying board that recognizes what we do on a daily basis and is one of two Podiatric board certifications recognized by the JCRSB (the other being ABFAS – which can take 1-7 years to obtain). It is important to get board certification quickly and in my opinion, every graduating resident should be signing up for and taking the exam. Dual board certification is very important and I believe all practicing Podiatrists should obtain both ABPM and ABFAS.

My hope is that each resident gets at least one nugget of information out of this article. My advice, especially for those just starting residency, is to remember that this is your last chance before you enter the real world. Once you get that residency certificate, you are practicing under your own license on your own patients. Soak up everything in residency and it will pay dividends for your future. And never forget, “Treat every patient like they’re your mother.”

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Jonathan D. Rouse, DPM is a Diplomate of the American Board of Podiatric Medicine. He is the Chief of Podiatry at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, IL where he also serves as the Residency Director. He is active on multiple national committees and is very passionate about the growth of the field while still staying true to its roots.
You can follow Dr. Rouse’s adventures on Instagram by following @docrousedpm

ABPM Exhibits at the American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Conference

Dr. Mitchell Shikoff at the ACP Internal Medicine Meeting

Dr. Mitchell Shikoff at the ACP Internal Medicine Meeting

By: Mitchell Shikoff, DPM

This past April I had the opportunity, along with our assistant Executive Director, Marc Benard, DPM, to exhibit at the American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Conference in Philadelphia, PA. This conference is the largest medical seminar in the country. It is attended by over 11,000 physicians yearly representing countries from around the globe. This was part of our outreach to medical specialties to showcase the ABPM and the benefits of incorporating ABPM diplomates into treatment plans for their patients with lower extremity pathologies. Our attendance was received enthusiastically by the conference organizers and the hundreds of physicians who came to our booth. We were told repeatedly about the value of podiatrists to the individual practitioners and their respective hospitals. Many contacts were made and referrals recommended for ABPM diplomates around the United States.

We also had the opportunity to monitor some of the lectures and clinical skills breakout sessions. I was able to make contacts with the organizers of the conference to investigate the inclusion of speakers from the ABPM in future seminars. Dr. Benard and I submitted a proposal for the ABPM to conduct clinical skills sessions to the conference organizing committee. I am happy to report that our proposal was accepted and, in fact, a request was made by the committee for an even larger role than our proposal.

It is our belief that this is the first time that podiatry has been represented at their conference and will be the first time that podiatry will become part of the faculty.

We are following up on this success with our attendance at the second largest medical seminar in the country at the end of this September. We will be exhibiting at the American College of Family Physicians conference in Philadelphia.

We see these outreach methods as a value added service to our diplomates and a grass roots effort at achieving parity in the medical community.

Dr. Bryan Caldwell is named dean of Barry University’s School of Podiatric Medicine

Bryan Caldwell, DPM

Bryan Caldwell, DPM

Bryan Caldwell, DPM, from Kent State University has been named dean of Barry University’s School of Podiatric Medicine (BUSPM). Caldwell, who served as assistant dean, director of Clinical Education and Clinical Operations, and professor at the Kent State University School of Podiatric Medicine, assumed his role at Barry on Aug. 1.

He earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Notre Dame, and a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from the former Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. He completed a hospital residency at Florida Hospital in Orlando, FL.

Dr. Caldwell became certified by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine in 1997 and served as a Physician Executive Leadership Academy Fellow with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Caldwell returned to medical school and earned a Doctor of Medicine degree in 2017 from the International University of Health Sciences, completing all his clinical clerkships in the University Hospitals Health System and Clinton Memorial Hospital.

Source: PM News, Online

ABPM Spotlight! Meet Director, Lee C. Rogers, DPM

Lee C. Rogers, DPM

Lee C. Rogers, DPM

Lee C. Rogers, DPM became a Diplomate of the ABPM in 2008. After serving several years on the ABPM Exam Committee, he was elected to the Board of Directors in 2015.

As a Director, Dr. Rogers led the initiative to start ABPM’s first Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ), which was first offered in 2017, and is currently the sub-Chair of the CAQ in Amputation Prevention and Wound Care. He is also co-authored the ABPM’s document on Privileging and Credentialing Doctors of Podiatric Medicine which has been instrumental in helping ABPM Diplomates obtain and keep their hospital privileges.

“I have seen ABPM grow and it’s on the path to be the largest and most influential certifying board in podiatry within the next 5 years. As an ABPM Director, I will continue to be a leading force in efforts that will help to drive this change. I will also promote policies to help those podiatrists who are single-board-certified, by ABPM, like me.  I have been working to connect ABPM with the many international organizations of podiatrists.  We are now a very young organization, with 60% of our membership being less than 10 years out of residency.  I support getting our younger members involved in committees and nominating them for Board positions.  I advocate for improving processes in the Board Headquarters, including the adoption of new technology to make the busy lives of our Diplomates easier.”

Originally from Gallatin, Missouri, he completed his undergraduate education at Truman State University and received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) from Des Moines University in 2004. Following graduation, Dr. Rogers completed a PM&S-24 residency at Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers in New York in 2006, and a fellowship in diabetic limb salvage and wound care at Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in 2007.  Since then, he has focused much of his practice and research on the diabetic foot and currently sits on several committees for many organizations around the world that promote podiatry or diabetic foot care.  He has authored over 150 papers or book chapters and delivered almost 500 lectures in all 50 states and more than 40 countries.

ABPM Spotlight! Meet Director, Mitchell Shikoff, DPM

Mitchell Shikoff, DPM

Dr. Mitchell Shikoff has been a Diplomate of the ABPM since 1989 and has served on the board since 2009. Dr. Shikoff has several roles as a Diplomate of ABPM; he is currently the Vice President, Chair of the Case Document Review Committee, Chair of the Credentials Committee, serves on the Speakers Bureau, and formed the Marketing Committee on which he is extensively involved. Dr. Shikoff is also the ABPM representative to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS) and the Joint Committee on the Recognition of Specialty Boards (JCRSB), where he has served as the Chair. He represents both the ABPM and the ABFAS as a residency program reviewer for the Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME).

“My time serving as a Director of the ABPM for the past ten years has been challenging and rewarding. I’ve been able to be part of a transformational process of the ABPM and witness astounding growth in membership and Diplomate value. I am proud of the significant changes and encourage all residents to attain certification promptly. Finally, get involved with the Board on one of the many committees and run for a position as a Director. It will keep you at the forefront of your chosen profession.”

Originally from Northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he completed his Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts undergraduate degrees at the Pennsylvania State University in 1979. Dr. Shikoff received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine in 1983 from the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. He completed his post graduate surgical training in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Shikoff has offices in Bensalem, PA and Feasterville, PA since 1985 and continues to take advanced training in various aspects of Podiatric Medicine, Surgery, and Wound Care which most recently includes new biologic wound dressings and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Dr. Shikoff has served as a residency director of a three year PMSR program, and thoroughly enjoys training residents at the hospitals where he is an attending.

As a dedicated husband and father of two, Dr. Shikoff has many interests outside of Podiatry. He enjoys bicycling, skiing, scuba diving, fishing, traveling, and spending quality time with the family.

Outpatient vs. Inpatient Workup of Diabetic Foot Infections

By: Marisse Lardizabal, DPM,

Diabetic foot infections (DFI) are both challenging and common amongst all podiatrists. Treatment of DFI’s require a level of comfort and training as well as resources available to clinicians. ABPM has traditionally been a great source of information for podiatrists which makes the board certification by ABPM paramount.  Like many podiatrists, you may encounter these types of patients initially in the clinic/outpatient setting, where you can catch the potential signs and symptoms of a diabetic foot infection waiting to happen.

First, nothing can substitute a thorough History and Physical Exam on a patient.  A complete NLDOCAT will give one a lot of information as well as develop a story as to why the patient is presenting with a diabetic foot infection.  For example, time frame of the ulceration, how well the patient’s diabetes is controlled, and any prior and/or current ulcerations will help you formulate a treatment plan. This may also foreshadow how compliant a patient will be with their recovery.  A thorough physical exam is of significant value when looking for classic clinical signs of infection, as well as the status of the neurovascular structures. Does the patient have enough circulation to heal an ulcer? Is a referral to a vascular surgeon necessary? Obtaining radiographs and necessary labs (CBC, CMP, ESR, CRP) should be obtained for a complete work up.

The Infectious Disease Society of America Diagnosis and Treatment of DFI, also known as IDSA Classification, is one of the most helpful guidelines that should be utilized by clinicians who treat DFI routinely. This guideline classifies DFI based on severity of the infection, clinical signs, and constitutional symptoms presented. IDSA also makes recommendations of what the appropriate treatment course should be.  For example, consider a patient who presents with erythema <2 cm around the ulcer with 2+ signs of infection. According to the IDSA guidelines, the patient’s infection is classified as “uncomplicated soft tissue infection” or Mild DFI. Therefore one may feel comfortable sending the patient home with oral antibiotics, local wound care and offloading as well as a 3-5 day follow up to see if the signs of infection have resolved.

Moderate DFIs (erythema > 2cm with 2+ signs of infection present) are the most challenging to classify and treat. Without close observation, these patients can potentially get worse and can be very much considered as admitting criteria depending on presentation of the infection.  At times, these patients can benefit from a decompression of the infected foot in the clinic setting, while making sure wound cultures are obtained prior to discharge. If patients are discharged home, close follow up and monitoring is essential. If symptoms do not improve, the safest course of treatment may be hospital admission for IV antibiotics and possible surgical interventions.

 

Lastly, severe DFIs are complicated local infections in conjunction with the patient endorsing constitutional symptoms as well as presence of SIRS criteria. These are the patients that will be admitted to the hospital for surgical management of the infection due failure of conservative treatment.  The IDSA guidelines are key elements to be familiar with as they will guide your treatment and tell you which patient will need a higher level of care.

Once the patient is admitted to the hospital, inpatient work up of DFI is very much similar to the outpatient setting.  If admitting the patient under Internal Medicine, it is important to communicate necessary labs, imaging, choice of IV antibiotics, NPO status as well as plan for surgical intervention to the service for an efficient and effective hospital course.  One may consider advanced imaging, such as an MRI (preferably prior to surgical intervention), whether there is concern for osteomyelitis or abscess in the foot.  The advanced imaging should by no means delay surgical intervention if it is considered emergent.

This brief overview of triaging DFIs can hopefully streamline how DFIs are treated in one’s practice.  Effective treatment of DFIs is our expertise and it will benefit our patients to have a standard of how it is treated.  Being board certified by ABPM, I feel confident in treating DFIs with the knowledge and background that I continually use in my daily career as a Podiatrist.

 

References:

Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 54, Issue 12, 15 June 2012, Pages e132–e173, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cis346

Dr. Charles C. Southerland – In his own words: Why not Med School?

“During the first year of my fellowship, I encountered a patient, a beautiful young woman in her early 20’s with a burgeoning career as a model in Miami, who was experiencing intense heel pain.  She had been treated by other physicians for Plantar Fascitis and tendonitis without any resolution. I diagnosed her with Tarsal Tunnel syndrome and confirmed that with a neurology consultation for NCVS and EMG.  The patient was taken to surgery for a Tarsal Tunnel release.  During the course of the procedure, we encountered a tumor pressing on the posterior tibial nerve. The tumor was removed and the pathology report defined the tumor as a Synovial Sarcoma, Stage 4.

The patient was sent to Sloan Kettering Cancer institute in New York, along with lab results and 35mm slide photographs of the tumor. The Sloan Kettering team confirmed the diagnosis and recommended that the patient undergo a below the knee amputation with follow up chemotherapy.  During the chemotherapy, she lost her hair, and the surgical site on the stump of her leg dehicsed.  She dropped to about 60 pounds from an original weight of 120 lbs.  However, in the end, she survived both the chemotherapy and the cancer.  She kept in touch with me throughout the entire process. I developed a close relationship with the patient and her parents. After arriving back from New York, the patient related to me that the Sloan Kettering team had kept the 35 mm slides I had sent with her (in those days, it was not so easy to make photographic duplicates). When she explained that a podiatrist had made the diagnosis, they told her that podiatrists did not make diagnoses for cancer and that she should credit the neurologist who caught the abnormality on the nerve conduction study. The patient asserted to them that she credited the podiatrist with saving her life. The folks at Sloan Kettering told her that podiatrists were “not real doctors” and so had no real part in the process of treating her cancer. She later related to me that she found them to be arrogant and egotistical.

I remember being very much offended by what she told me, frustrated at being recognized as “only” a podiatrist. At the time, I was reading a book by Victor Frankl, “Man’s Search for Meaning”. Victor Frankl was an Austrian Neurologist and Psychiatrist during World War II.  He was Jewish and became a concentration camp prisoner by the Nazis during the war. He was tortured and emasculated by his captors. One day, as he hung helpless before his tormentors he came to an amazing realization. In order to do what they were doing to him, they could not help but to hate a fellow human being. In a moment of remarkable clarity, Victor Frankl realized that while they could not choose to not hate him, he could choose to NOT hate them back. In this seemingly small thing, he had power over them to determine how he would react to the terrible things they were inflicting upon him. They could not choose mercy, but he could.  In reviewing this, I came to a nexus moment question:  “If I could do it all over again, would I choose to have encountered this beautiful young woman as an MD or as a DPM?”  Two MD’s had treated her before  I saw her, one an orthopedist, the other a general surgeon, and both missed the diagnosis. IF I had chosen to attend St. Louis University School of Medicine, instead of podiatry school, and encountered this patient, would she have lived or died because of this tumor? I realized at that moment, that I was totally, completely, absolutely content to be a podiatrist. If the only thing I would ever accomplish as a podiatric physician was to catch this diagnosis and intervene in a way that saved this young woman’s life, it was all worth it – four years of college, four years of podiatry school, one year of residency training and two years of fellowship. What a wonderful lesson, one that has caused me to be very happy in the practice of Podiatric Medicine for over 30 years now. By the way, my patient returned to her modeling career as a poster model for lower limb amputee snow skiers. She could be found in a number of ads for outrigger ski poles and single limb skiers. To this day, she has lived a good life and remains a good friend.”

Practice Profile: Charles C. Southerland, DPM

Dr. Southerland and studentWhile serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War era, Dr. Charles Southerland was a Special Forces Medic, a role that helped him develop a deep appreciation for the practice of medicine. Later, while on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he met a team of podiatrists who were caring for migrant farmers in the San Joaquin Valley in California. He was impressed with their work ethic and lifestyle – he saw that they were practicing medicine and enjoying the satisfaction that comes with delivering patients from pain, disease and deformity. Then, while an undergrad at Brigham Young University, he applied to podiatry and medical school. After being accepted to both, Dr. Southerland chose podiatry, a decision that he says has led to “lifelong contentment.” (Click here to read Dr. Southerland explain, in his own words, the experience that caused him to be very happy that he chose to practice Podiatric Medicine, instead of going to medical school.)

Dr. Southerland attended the California College of Podiatric Medicine, where he worked as an audio visual technician for his class during the day. At night, he worked as a security guard, a job that allowed him to study 6-8 hours during his shift, while getting up for 10-15 minutes every hour to make rounds and punch a Detex Clock.

After completing a first year podiatric surgical residency at Southeastern Medical Center, he completed a two year fellowship with Dr. Stephen Spinner. Toward the end his fellowship, Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine was starting its clinical program and Dr. Southerland was invited to be one of the first clinical faculty members at the school. He has been a professor at the Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine since 1987.

Through periodic sabbaticals – a privilege he says is one of the great perks of being a full time educator – Dr. Southerland has had the opportunity to expand his view of podiatry and appreciate how podiatric medicine fits in to a worldwide collaborative of providers for foot and ankle pathologies. Dr. Southerland’s diverse educational experiences include fellowship training with AO International in Switzerland, Podopediatrics at Hadassah Hospital System in Israel, Ilizarov Training at the Russian Ilizarov Scientific Center in Russia, and Ponsetti technique training with Dr. Ignacio Ponsetti at the University of Iowa.

When he looks back at his training, he credits hard work, carefully balanced finances and an active interest in technology as laying the groundwork for his approach to Podiatric Medicine. He’s also grateful for the privilege of working with some of medicine’s great minds and believes those experiences helped make him the podiatrist and educator he is today. His mentors include Dr. Stephen Spinner, Dr. Dock Dockery, Dr. Mary Crawford, Dr. Dan Hatch, Dr. Ignacio Ponsetti, Dr. Terrance Barry, Dr. Kieth Kashuk, Dr. Russel M. Nelson, Dr. James Stelnicki, and Dr. Eric Stelnicki.

Dr. Southerland originally sat for the boards when they were the ABPO boards in 1988. He then recertified with ABPOPPM in 1998 and most recently with ABPM in 2016. He also certified with what is now ABFAS in 1987 and has reassessed every ten years to keep his foot and ankle certification current. Over the years, he has served as an item writer, observer and oral examiner for the ABPM.  He feels they have always set high standards for certification and offer a very worthy confirmation of academic excellence.

Dr. Southerland’s advice for residents is to “get the most you can out of your training – even if it means long hours and little sleep. Just remember it is an investment in a lifetime of practice to follow.” He also says that residency is the time to build a foundation for the person you would like to be, and recommends prioritizing family and faith. He also feels that taking good care of your patients will result in them taking good care of you.

When he reflects on his career, Dr. Southerland feels great pride in his former students/residents that go on to noteworthy achievements.  He is also very proud of his accomplishments as the founder and program director of the Yucatan Crippled Children’s Project.  Through this work, Dr. Southerland has seen many of the program’s beneficiaries grow up to be productive, capable members of their society – many of whom might have otherwise been prevented from attending school or obtaining jobs.  Dr. Southerland feels strongly that no one can stand taller than those who will bend over to help a child.

In addition to the Yucatan Crippled Children Project and helping educate more than half the practicing podiatrists in the state of Florida, Dr. Southerland has served as elected Chair of the National Council of Faculties for the AACPM, and a local television medical commentator for first few months after 9/11/2001. Dr. Southerland was also among the first group of Podiatrists to go to Kurgan, Russia in October 2001 and learn Ilizarov technique at its source. He was also part of a group of physicians that attended to victims in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

On a more personal level, Dr. Southerland participates in the Everglades 300 challenge every year, a 300 mile kayak race on the west coast of Florida. However, his favorite hobby is being married to his wife Suzanne for more than 40. They have five “nervewrackingly wonderful” children and five grandchildren.

The Honor of our Life Derives from this
To Have a Certain Aim Before Us Always
Which Our Will Must Seek Amid the Peril of Uncertain Ways
Then, Though We Miss the Goal
Our Search is Crowned with Courage
And We Find Along Our Path
A Rich Reward of Unexpected Things
~ Henry Van Dyke

ABPM Spotlight! Meet ABPM Director, Coleen Napolitano, DPM

Coleen Napolitano, DPM

Coleen Napolitano, DPM

The ABPM welcomes Dr. Coleen Napolitano as the newest member of the ABPM Board of Directors. Dr. Napolitano has been a Diplomate since 1994 and has been active with the ABPM for the past 15 years, primarily with the Examination Committee, where she is the current Chair of the certification exam (Part 2) sub-section.

“I am quite familiar with the ABPM’s past and present and have witnessed first-hand the significant strides it has made in the medical community, said Dr. Napolitano.  “I look forward to contributing to the future of ABPM and believe that ABPM certifies specialty skills that represent the majority and the best of podiatric care, witha focus on medicine and podiatric orthopedics.”

Dr. Napolitano did her undergraduate at Florida International University on a running scholarship.  She obtained her doctorate and Bachelor of Science from Dr. William Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine and completed her residency training at Hines Veterans Administration Hospital in Illinois.  Dr. Napolitano followed her certification with the ABPM by becoming ABFAS certified and encourages podiatry residents to recognize the benefits of dual certification.

She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation in the Section of Podiatry at Loyola University Medical Center and is the Program Director for the podiatry residency training.

Clinical Presentation Skills: Communication with your Patients

Faith A. Schick, DPM

Faith A. Schick, DPM

By: Faith A. Schick, DPM

The ability to communicate with your patients is integral to successful outcomes.   This is an important practice skill that should be developed and mastered prior to graduating residency.

As a resident, I recall spending time shadowing multiple physicians.  After a period of time, I was able to know what the physician was going to say before the words came out of his/her mouth.  This wasn’t because I was getting smarter at understanding how I was supposed to treat a specific condition,  but because I became familiar with the conversation the attending was going to have with the patient.  As time went by, and after many experiences, I was able to synthesize different versions of what I was hearing, and have specific treatment plans I would share with my patients when the time came.

Developing this organized thought process helped to ease the transition from resident to attending.  When the time came I was ready.  I knew how I wanted to treat my patients and what supplies I needed to perform an appropriate physical examination and render care.  Being board certified with ABPM and though my experiences I knew I could handle any situation. I was able to walk into the treatment room with confidence and explain to my patients what I thought their condition was, and how we were going to manage it without faltering.  I knew what I wanted to say before I said it, similar to the physicians I had observed.    This confidence reassured my patients.

Realize that just because what you are saying makes sense to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to make sense to your patients.  During residency you are surrounded by peers who easily communicate using medical terminology.  Once in practice this changes, and your audience becomes your patient population.  Language needs to become more simple; you need to still speak intelligently, but use words that your patient will understand.  For example, instead of saying “calcaneus”, explain by saying “heel bone”.  While it may make sense to you that a patient should sleep in their CAM boot, you need to very clear with patients giving them instructions.  Make sure to ask if your patient has any questions before leaving the room.

Think about the message you are trying to convey.  How do you sound?  What does your posture look like?  Are you making good eye contact?  As time has gone by, I have come to appreciate the value this has on my office workflow.  I am able to review my chart notes with ease knowing that there is an organized thought process as to how I treated my patient during their last visit, and depending upon their outcome how I plan to proceed with care.  My staff is able to anticipate my needs and the needs of my patients.  Appointments are scheduled in an organized fashion based upon the diagnosis.  With the advent of electronic health records, I have been able to develop templates that facilitate my documentation process.  Patients are able to leave the office with organized instructions explaining their diagnosis and plan of care.

This level of organization assures that I do not miss any step in my patient’s treatment.  By the time the patient has completed their visit to the office they have an established diagnosis with plan of care, all questions have been answered, necessary studies having been ordered, medical supplies have been dispensed, and a follow up appointment has been made as needed.  This limits my liability and the chance that something gets overlooked or forgotten.  All too often physicians are multi-tasking throughout the day and a simple distraction can lead to error.  Having an organized treatment algorithm keeps things on track to make sure nothing gets missed, and communication with your patients is of utmost importance.

 

 

 

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