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Everyone Needs a Hand

By Jacqueline S. Israel, MD

One of the greatest personal lessons I learned during surgical training is the importance of a support system. While many affirmations ring true for me and are certainly important words to remember – e.g., “Be patient with yourself” – I am humbled every day by the power of accepting support. As a new parent, the many individuals who helped me in the past two years include my spouse, immediate and extended family members (near and far), hired caregivers, co-fellows and residents, mentors, educators, and friends – to name a few. Certainly, a network of support looks different for each of us. I do believe that the joys and challenges we encounter in our personal lives translate into strengths that ultimately inform how we interact with patients. Professionally, seeking peers in similar circumstances facilitates a sense of community. It is helpful to have those individuals with whom to share vulnerability and triumphs. I aspire to emulate the many role models who integrate and excel in both their personal and professional lives so admirably, remembering that everyone needs support from others in some fashion.

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