Dr. Jeffrey Jim is a Washington University vascular surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital specializing in aortic aneurysms, carotid artery stenosis, peripheral arterial disease, and varicose veins.
One of the reasons I went into vascular surgery was probably because you can do a lot. You can treat patients, just medically manage them and sort of help them that way and obviously there’s a chance where you can be a surgeon and do surgeries to fix them. I think the thing I really like about my field is I kinda work all over the body, you know by definition we can work on almost every blood vessel in the body, so some mornings I’m working on the neck fixing a carotid artery and then later in the day I will fix an aneurysm in somebody’s belly and ultimately I would do something in the legs for instance and the other thing that’s really appealing is, you know we can do classic big surgeries, where we have very complicated, make big cuts and sometimes we’re very delicate and we’re able to do something with a small poke in the groin. A lot of times we do things where everything is combined – so a lot of mix variety and we’re able to help patients in a lot of different ways and that’s really exciting.
The normal week is probably there isn’t a normal week, you know, my role here I think primarily I’m a clinician. I’m supposed to take care of patients, so most of what I do is seeing patients in clinic, offering consultation, obviously doing surgeries to help them with procedures, but I also do a lot of stuff within the hospital, within the university – I’m responsible for the training of all of our vascular surgery trainees, so I got to make sure the education, the curriculum is standardized, make sure they have a good training learning experience. I’m also very involved with the hospital, within the department and on quality improvement and patient safety. So basically over the course of the week, I put on a lot of different hats and it depends on the week and one of the things I say is I really don’t have a standard week. Every week is a little bit different and that’s what keeps it interesting.
I don’t know if I have a personal philosophy on patient care but I think that the way I look at it is, I always sort of make a little bit fun of my mother. She probably still has no idea what the heck I do, so when I talk to patients, it’s almost like I’m talking to her. I’m trying to put it in a way that my mother can understand, because obviously as a physician, I spent four years learning all these weird words that nobody else knows how to use, so I try to make it a point to really explain how things are going and the other thing is obviously I want my patients to want to be able to make a decision. I want to give them all the information for them to make a decision on how best take of themselves. Obviously I will recommend certain treatments and whatnot but I want them to be empowered to be able to make a decision on their own, so I would say that’s probably my biggest philosophy, is you know talking and making my patients understand what’s going on and helping them make a decision that’s best for their own care.
Patients may want to choose to come to Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine is because of our overall academic mission. You know, I think first and foremost, we have to take care of patients, that’s the most important but you’re looking at a place where we have the leading, cutting edge research, we have a lot of people developing cures for diseases, helping develop new devices and that’s otherwise not available in a lot of other different places. You’re certainly coming to a place where there’s experts in many different fields, you know, as a faculty member here, I’m always amazed by how many people I’m continuing to learn from. Be it, my partners or other colleagues within different fields of medicine. These are literally the people that write the textbooks, that have the new discoveries, they’re the ones that are going around and teaching everybody else to be doctors and what leaders in their fields are supposed to be doing. When you come here, you know, you see all those patients but more importantly you’re going to get really good patient care. I think we pride ourselves in really good outcomes. You know really patients come for the most challenging of problems and they do really well when they come here. Be it, medical management or surgical treatment. I think looking for that as a patient I want to go to the place where they have the best physicians around, the newest technologies available and, more importantly, the best outcome possible for them.