June has been an exciting month. The sports world witnessed a triple crown horse racing winner, the World Cup has started, and the summer movie season is in high gear. For otolaryngologists, June represents a time when our practices begin to slow for the summer, our nights and weekends are filled with our kids’ or grandkids’ activities, and we look forward to a well-deserved vacation. It is truly a time when we can recharge our batteries and reflect on the previous 12 months. Did we have a successful year in practice? How was our office staffing retention rate? Did we receive funding for the grant? How many publications were we able to write? Did we pay attention to the work relationships that are silently the backbone of our workplace satisfaction?
It is that last question that always comes up in my mind this time of year. For academic programs, the end of June is when our residents graduate to become otolaryngologists. Graduation ceremonies are when the program can look back on the past five years, laugh with each other, and meet our residents’ families and celebrate all of their successes. They can also bring out emotions in the most stoic of people. One of my fondest memories is a time when I was the visiting speaker at another program’s graduation. The program director and chair honored one of their graduating chief residents. He was celebrated for his clinical skills, beyond-reproach integrity, and passion for teaching his fellow residents and medical students. His junior residents came up to say a few words, and they too spoke about how he was a great a doctor and colleague. They also playfully poked at his demeanor, as he was often known as the older, more serious resident who was calm under pressure and rarely showed any emotion. When it came time for him to talk, he did not talk about his accomplishments, but rather he began to talk about his kids and his wife. He went into great detail about his wife’s career, her accomplishments, and the incredible sacrifices she made to get the family to that point. He finished by saying to his wife, “My biggest goal in life is to find an opportunity to repay you. I hope there is a time and/or place in this world where I can be the person for you that you have been for me.”
Needless to say, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. June is a special time for all of us, and even more so when we witness moments like that. I am not ashamed to say I have “borrowed” his line to use on my wife and kids and I am certain many of you will do the same. On a lesser scale, we sometimes forget to acknowledge and cherish our workplace relationships. Peer support and camaraderie play an invaluable role in our work satisfaction. In this month’s issue, our cover article focuses on mentor–mentee relationships. We also have a viewpoint from Michael Johns, MD, who talks about relationships and collegiality as major contributors to medicine’s lofty professional status.
On behalf of myself and the editorial board, we hope you all have a fantastic summer and congratulate all of our graduating residents and fellows. On a personal note, I hope you all will take the time to reach out to an old colleague or mentor. I promise it will be time worth spending.
Thanks for reading and see you next month.