Heart Surgery Forum Essays & Articles

Here is a series of essays that Dr. Curt Tribble (UVA Professor of Surgery and member of our lab) and colleagues have written for the Heart Surgery Forum in recent years. They’re ‘aimed’ at our younger learners (like residents and students). Some are technical, but most are more philosophical and thought-provoking.

Articles and Essays for Medical Students:

Are You Making Yourself Clear? You Can’t Communicate, or Think, Effectively if You Can’t Write Clearly.
-Curt Tribble
(Creating problem oriented clinic and progress notes)

Preparing for the Lurch into a Surgical Clerkship.
-Curt Tribble and Dustin Walters
(An article for 3rd year medical students starting their Surgery Clerkships)

The Mental Strategies of Surgeons – A Primer Part I.
-Curt Tribble
(This two part essay was influenced by my association with several UVA Sports Psychologists. It is aimed, at least partially, at students beginning their applications for Surgery residencies.)

The Mental Strategies of Surgeons – A Primer Part II.
-Curt Tribble

The Calm Before the Storm: The 4th Year of Medical School Prior to a Surgery Residency.
-Curt Tribble, Nick Teman, Walter Merrill
(Preparing yourself to hit the ground running as a great surgical intern)

All the Light We May Fail to See: Learning from Talking to Strangers.
-Curt Tribble
(Reflecting on my appreciation for people who, especially in retrospect, helped me become a better doctor)

Helping Applicants Write Their Way into a Surgical Residency.
-Curt Tribble
(Writing a personal statement for application to a residency program)

The White Coat Ceremony: Welcome to the Medical Profession.
-Stephen Ely and Curt Tribble

Zen and the Art of Thriving in the Clerkship Year of Medical School.
-Curt Tribble, Nick Teman
(As health care providers and as lifelong learners, we must also take
care of ourselves and each other)

Editorials for Residents in Training:

All Bleeding Stops, Eventually (But: The Sooner The Better!).
-Curt Tribble, Lam Pham, and Nick Teman
(Your job is to stop the ongoing “oozing”)

On Becoming a Surgical Intern: Navigating the Lurch from Medical School to Internship.
-Curt Tribble

A Practical Minded Obsession: With the Possibility and Consequence of Failure.
-Curt Tribble
(Analyzing and reporting outcomes, including at M&M conferences)

There Are a Lot of Things They Didn’t Tell Me When I Signed On: Helping Trainees Land a First Job.
-Curt Tribble
(Advice for residents looking for a job after training)

The Well-Tempered Clinic: The Clinical and Educational Importance of CV Surgical Clinics (With a nod to Johann Sebastian Bach).
-Curt Tribble
(An essay about running Surgical Clinics)

We Were Residents Once … And Young.
-Nick Teman and Curt Tribble
(Advice for trainees entering into a Thoracic & Cardiovascular Residency)

Articles and Essays for Young Attending Cardiac Surgeons:

Time for a Cool Change: Getting off on the Right Foot in a New Job.
-Curt Tribble
(Suggestions for starting into a new job, especially after completing residency)

A Shift to the Left: Teaching the Craft of Cardiac Surgery.
-Curt Tribble
(Strategies and tips for helping young faculty start teaching surgery)

On Becoming a Doctor of Humane Letters.
-Curt Tribble
(Some tips on writing letters to patients, families, and colleagues)

Lessons from Crew Resource Management for Cardiac Surgeons.
-Patrick Marvil and Curt Tribble
(Review of strategies from military aviation for cardiac surgery teams. Patrick was a Marine helicopter pilot and a UVA med student.)

Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail: The Known, The Known Unknown, and The Unknown Unknown.
-Curt Tribble
(How to prepare for cases)

Yoga Can Help You Practice and Teach Cardiothoracic Surgery
-Chris Pastrana and Curt Tribble
(One approach to deal with the ergonomic challenges of performing long and intense operations)

Conversations with Patients and Families:

Grandmother Rules: Crucial Conversations with Patients and Families.
-Curt Tribble
(The pre-op, post-op, and follow-up conversations for cardiac surgeons)

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door: End of Life Decisions and Discussions.
-Curt Tribble
(The decisions and conversations necessary for withdrawal of support)

I Call That a Bargain.
-Curt Tribble
(Lessons learned from three remarkable patients and their families)

Pull Up a Chair, Sit Down, and Listen.
-Curt Tribble
(Advice for and examples of talking to patients and families)

Taking Care of Patients and Ourselves:

Give My Poor Heart Ease.
-Curt Tribble
(Notes on enhancing the experience of cardiac surgery patients)

Gimme 3 Steps (With a Nod to an American Rock Song from the 1970s).
-Curt Tribble
(Things one can say, one can ask, and one can do while interacting with patients and their families)

Always Keep Your Clothes in the Car.
-Curt Tribble
(How to care of oneself as a busy resident or surgeon)

Pull Up A Chair, Sit Down, and Listen.
-Curt Tribble
(Challenging conversations with patients and families)

Essays on Ethical Issues in Surgery:

You Are The Perfect Age: An Inquiry into Surgical Ethics during the Arc of a Career.
-Curt Tribble
(An attempt to answer the question: Are you old enough to be doing this?)

First, We Do Harm: Obtaining Informed Consent for Surgical Procedures.
-Curt Tribble and Walker Julliard

Techniques Articles:

The Skeleton in the Closet: Harvesting a Skeletonized IMA.
-Curt Tribble

How I Do It: Temporary RVAD Placed at the Time of Implantation of a HeartMate II LVAD.
-Zack Chancellor and Curt Tribble

A Technique for Implantation of the CentriMag Left Ventricular Assist Device to Allow Ambulation and Rehabilitation in Patients with Heart Failure.
-Curt Tribble, Miguel Urencio, Giorgio Aru and Walter Merrill

Reoperative Cardiac Surgery: Part I – Preoperative Planning.
-Curt Tribble

Reoperative Cardiac Surgery: Part II.
-Curt Tribble

In Through the Out Door: Retrograde Cardioplegia, Tips and Techniques.
-Stephen Derryberry and Curt Tribble

String Music: Creating Coronary Artery and other Vascular Anastomoses.
-Curt Tribble and Stephen Derryberry

What Happens in (the) Vagus, Stays in (the) Vagus.
-Shawn Shah, Stephen Derryberry, Nick Teman and Curt Tribble
(Part of ‘the nerve protection project’)

Median Sternotomy: The Unkindest Cut of All? Pearls, Pitfalls, Aphorisms, & Myths.
-Curt Tribble, Walter Merrill, Stephen Derryberry and Gene Parrino

Sewing Proximals on the Ascending Aorta during CABG Operations.
-Curt Tribble and Nick Teman

The Venerable Subclavian Line.
-Nick Teman, Charles Hobson, Reid Tribble and Curt Tribble
(An in-depth guide to placing a subclavian line efficiently and safely.)

Give Me a Shot of Holy Water: Critical Elements in Myocardial Protection during Cardiac Surgery.
-Curt Tribble and Nick Teman
(A primer on the use of cardioplegia)