Editor's Message: Help!

August 2020 Issue

  1. Kristopher M. Schroeder, MD Professor, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health Author


I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink

“I’m So Tired” – The Beatles. 1968.


It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog
It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log
But when I get home to you, I'll find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright

“A Hard Day’s Night” – A Hard Day’s Night. 1964.


Universal truths for medical providers include being asked to accomplish too much in too little time. See too many patients and assimilate too many new procedures and surgical indications into the daily schedule while teaching the next generation of students/residents and documenting too many procedures in an EMR that may not make a bit of sense. At the same time, there is a compelling need to engage in research that advances the science of our profession and attend to a tapestry of administrative responsibilities that are required to keep the operating rooms operating.


Many times I've been alone
And many times I've cried
Anyway you'll never know
The many ways I've tried

“The Long and Winding Road”– Let it Be. 1970.


Unfortunately, it may seem that the path to completing each one of these tasks can be a lonely one without much chance of support or recognition. Like Father McKenzie writing the words that no one will hear, toiling in a vacuum can lead each of us to wonder if our expended energy is warranted or valued. While local senior mentorship can be invaluable, each institution is blessed with a different set of faculty and circumstances that might facilitate (or not) the ability to support junior faculty as they work towards academic achievement, research, and clinical protocol development.

I have always been fortunate in my place of work to have faculty available that were interested in my clinical and personal development. When I found myself in times of trouble, Papa Ford (mentor Dr. Michael Ford) was there for me to serve as a role model for how to provide patient-centered care, treat your colleagues with respect, and remain someone that your kids and spouse are happy to see at the end of the day. Whenever I needed motivation to strive for promotion to the next academic level or muster the courage to ask/apply for an academic opportunity, Dr. George Arndt (inventor of the Arndt endobronchial blocker and airway exchange catheter kit) was there for me. If I needed someone to commiserate or collaborate with, I had a peer in Dr. Melanie Donnelly, who helped me place academic or personal setbacks into perspective. However, I could not always find everything that I needed at the time that I needed it within my home institution. I was therefore fortunate that there were faculty within ASRA who have sacrificed some of themselves to assist me in my academic career. Finding these amazing faculty was not easy but the payoff, support, and guidance that they have provided has been tremendous.


Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends
Oh, I get high with a little help from my friends
Yes, I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends

“With a Little Help from My Friends” - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. 1967.


This is where we need the help of the broader ASRA membership to ensure that all faculty members have the opportunity to benefit from meaningful mentorship relationships and obtain the support and guidance that they need to achieve in leadership positions, develop clinical protocols, succeed in clinical research, or maintain balance between clinical and family commitments. Think back to the first couple of annual meetings that you attended – how much more enjoyable and beneficial would these experience have been if you had one more person who knew your name and was interested and invested in your success?


Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four

“When I’m Sixty-Four” - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. 1967.


Fortunately, within ASRA there exists a tremendous wealth of leadership and mentorship capital that can be leveraged to ensure that our next generation of physician leaders is equipped to assume leadership roles and advance the science of our profession. If you are 64 (or thereabouts), we need you to lead and mentor the growing group of mid-career faculty that are working to become the next leaders in the field. If you are one of those mid-career faculty, we need you to mentor the faculty who are just starting their careers and encourage them to start that first research project, submit their first panel proposal, or simply sit next to them at our annual meetings. If you are just starting your career, we need you as well to help guide residents toward a career in regional anesthesia and pain medicine or help fellows make career decisions that facilitate their ability to succeed.


And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make.

“The End” – Abbey Road. 1969.


All of us are stronger together, and the success of any one ASRA faculty member is one that is shared by the entire group. Please consider joining in this mentorship undertaking by applying to become both a mentor and a mentee here.

Tags: mentorship

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