Ever since I opened up my website for anonymous feedback submission, there has been one practitioner that I've featured that has received more submissions about her outstanding performance than any others - Dr. Stephanie Katz - a Cardiothoracic Surgery Anesthesiologist at BUMC in Dallas. The feedback has been so defined and distinct, and although anonymous, has clearly come from various aspects of her world:
- Colleagues (surgeons, nurses, etc.)
- Former Colleagues
I've tried to understand some of the common threads in the feedback and there clearly are some. The one that I think is most important is that Dr. Katz shows respect for ALL of her colleagues, no matter what they do or what role they play, Dr. Katz understands that a healthy ecosystem is made up of respectful behavior. There certainly is a technical aspect to it as well - Dr. Katz trained with some of the foremost cardiothoracic surgeons doing some of the highest risk cases in the world at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston. Many have commented about her ability to control chaotic situations - a poise that only those who have been in Operating Rooms where patients say on that slim line between life and death would understand.
There's something else to it as well though. There is a genuine respect and admiration for everything Dr. Katz is outside of the Operating Room - a loving wife and a mother of two young children. There's a youthfulness to her that makes her technical expertise that much more impressive. I've found that superstars are rarely just superstars in one facet of their life. The ones that are most respected and admired are those that are able to find some semblance of 'cadence' to juggle 10,000 things in their mind all at once, without actually losing it. Surgery is extremely technical and there are many that are truly superstars in the field of play (the Operating Room). We are grateful to them. However, the ones that people write in about do find a way to be a superstar outside of that world too, in this greater field we call 'life' - it's not always pretty and it isn't without sacrifice, but it does provide a glimpse into the term 'superstar'.
We all have unique circumstances and we all have our own issues to deal with, but we can learn from those that we respect and admire. Many times, its taking a little bit of the best from many. In the case of Dr. Katz, it's taking a lot from one.