Resident spotlight: Dr. Patrick Murphy, General Surgery

Dr. Patrick Murphy is always looking for new learning opportunities, which led him to complete two Master’s degree while keeping up with his surgical residency training.

In this Q&A, Dr. Murphy explains what motivated him to pursue to the specialization of surgery, the defining moments in his residency training so far and how he maintains his athletic interests outside the hospital.

Where were you born and raised and which degrees do you hold?
I was born in Saint John, New Brunswick and grew up in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. I completed my undergrad degree in Chemistry and Neuroscience from Dalhousie University and moved for medical school at Queens University. During my residency training, I completed a Master of Science from Western University and Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University.

Why did you decide to pursue medicine?
I decided to pursue a career in medicine during my second year of undergrad. My role model at the time was a neurologist and chemist at Dalhousie University, Dr. Don Weaver. It was not until my third year of medical school that I decided to pursue surgery, and ultimately general surgery. I enjoyed the breadth of general surgery compared to surgical subspecialties as well as the options for specializing after residency such as trauma and acute care surgery, my career interest.

What has been your most rewarding experience to date in your residency?
The most rewarding experience in my residency is the privilege to operate. The trust required from not only patients, but also the consultants and staff we work with is immense and is respected. In particular a defining moment of my residency was performing a trauma laparotomy on a middle-aged man who had been hit head-on by a drunk driver. This experience cemented my desire to pursue a career in trauma and emergency surgery.

What has been the most challenging experience to date in your residency?
Surgical residency, like most other residencies, is challenging with respect to the personal and emotional commitment as well as the physical commitment it involves. A struggle, which is not unique to just me, is finding the right balance of work and education and enjoy life outside of the hospital.

How do you maintain balance in your life?
I have tried throughout my residency to maintain my athletic interests in soccer and racing triathlons. Playing soccer and training for triathlons is how I decompress outside of work and gives me the energy required to work and learn. Setting realistic personal and residency expectations is important in order to not be disappointed when I miss games or events.

Rapid Round:

If you were to create a slogan for your life, what would it be?
The mind always quits before the body.

If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?
Warren Buffet, just to see what his day-to-day is like.

What is the most random thing you’ve ever watched on Netflix?
The Barkley Marathons! A documentary I clicked on one day that ended up being a captivating look at one of the toughest ultra-marathon races put on by a man called Lazarus.