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Neurosurgery Happenings

Mohamed S. Saleh, MD Finishes Residency Training

After 7 years as a UC neurosurgery resident, Mohamed Saleh, MD has completed his residency training and is headed to warmer weather. He will be joining Neuspine Insititute in Tampa, Florida. He tells us about his experience at the University of Cincinnati.
 
Mohamed SalehAfter finishing your 7th year of residency, how do you feel?
 
I feel great. I feel like it's finally coming together; all the bits and pieces of the training, readiness and being prepared for a future career.
 
What made you pick the job that you did?
 
Location was a big factor for myself and my family (wife, Lejla and daughters: Anela, 20 and Hana, 6).  I was also particular on the type and size of practice that I would join.
 
You and your wife consider Minnesota home. Did you have any interest in going back there?
 
We've both been out of Minnesota for more than 11 years now. We go back once a year to visit family, usually in the winter, and we've concluded that we'd like to live in warmer weather. 
 
What advice do you have for incoming residents?
 
First, I would tell them to definitely keep their options and interests open. Some of us come in with preferences, mostly fueled by mentors or previous experiences, such as publications, research or case reports that we've been involved in. For me, it was really, really helpful and valuable to keep my options open. I didn't really decide or lean toward a sub-specialty until pretty late into my fourth year, which is more than halfway through my training.
Second, I think our program offers an outstanding opportunity in the sense that you can train really well in all subspecialties. So, there's really no reason to short yourself on your experience. 

Mohamed Saleh and George Yang
 
Is there one moment that stands out to you as a life-changing training moment that will shape who you are as a doctor? 
 
Not one moment, but lots of moments that happen quite often actually. And the experience changes every time it happens. It's usually the difficult cases and the complications that just make you go back and remind yourself of the basics: take care of the patient first, spend more time with the patient, with their family, and communicate with them. And for as long as we are in practice, complications will happen.  I feel like those moments, especially as you become more and more senior in your training, you tend to approach them differently.  I feel like it's a tremendous privilege and learning opportunity to just spend a good amount of time with the patient, with the family, with yourself, the faculty and just mentally re-visit all these difficult cases and complications from time to time. It really is a humbling experience and a good learning opportunity. 
 
Do you have any nervous feelings about being out on your own?
 
I actually don't. Our faculty here have left us with enough autonomy, skill-set, repetition, discussions, thought process, complication management, communication that we understand what we're doing. We understand when things go wrong, why they go wrong. We understand how to fix them; we understand how to handle them. 
Dr. Cheng was impressive about that. He will give you as much autonomy and opportunity, as you can handle. When something happens, he says, 'Have you talked to the patient? What did you tell them? What's the plan? What do you want to do about it?' He lets you take it as high as you can, and then he'll fill in the gaps and take it from there. Repeating that cycle gives you a lot of training and confidence.  It's a combination of training and parenting, but honestly, this is why we feel good saying, 'I know what I need to know. I have my two feet to stand on.'

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The Department of Neurosurgery will recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Mohamed Saleh, MD at the Queen City Club in downtown Cincinnati on Friday, June 18, 2021. This socially-distanced event will be the department's first in-person celebration since the COVID-19 outbreak began in 2020.

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University of Cincinnati
College of Medicine
Department of Neurosurgery
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Cincinnati Ohio 45267-0515