Waleed Gibreel, M.B.B.S.
What attracted you to surgery?
The combination of medical knowledge and operative skills was what first attracted me to surgery. The diversity of cases that surgeons take care of solidified my passion for surgery.
A surgeon is a "physician who can also operate." In addition, surgery is the only field in which I can meld the knowledge of basic medical science to the art and skill of operating. In medical school, I loved being able to see the whole spectrum of the disease, from the presenting problems to the operating room and after. Being a surgeon, I will be able to take care of not only the medical problems of my patients but also their surgical problems as well.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for residency training?
I first worked as a research trainee in pediatric surgery at Mayo Clinic. During this research year, I had an inspiring mentor. Working with him helped me realize that to succeed in a surgical training program, you need good mentors that will guide you.
With this experience and seeing Mayo's welcoming environment, I was encouraged to pursue a preliminary year where I further solidified that Mayo was the place that will be the platform for my academic advancement, development of skills and maturing personality.
During my preliminary year, I was impressed with the dedication to the education of all the residents. This is illustrated by protected time for residents to attend weekly conferences, lectures and simulation center experiences. Mayo's commitment to patient care and its values, combined with the volume of surgical cases that it sees, made this the best program for me.
What makes the Mayo Clinic General Surgery Residency unique?
The combination of service to the community and academic potential is unparalleled — it is the best place to develop my skills as a clinician serving the community and as a scientist contributing to the advancement of medicine and health care.
The camaraderie among the residents and staff makes the working environment very professional and enjoyable. One of the unique things about Mayo's program is the abundant research opportunities available. This dedicated research time allows you to pursue your passions in different specialties and really opens up doors in your future.
Mayo's residency program is built around the preceptorship model. Working with one faculty surgeon over an extended period of time allows you to get to know them well enough that they can push your skills to a higher level. Coupled with the increasing level of autonomy that we get, this produces a very competent surgeon at the end of the program.
Did anything surprise you about Mayo's program?
I was surprised just how approachable most of the staff and residents are. Getting individualized instruction from some of the best surgeons around has been very refreshing and has made my time here very rewarding.
The level of autonomy that is given to residents early on in their training is significant here. The rate at which you are given more responsibilities that you are able to handle is comfortable yet allows you to grow as a surgeon. Transitioning through a year of research and a preliminary year has been very smooth with the help of Mayo's program.
What is living in Rochester, Minnesota, like for you?
Rochester is a quiet, peaceful city to live in. The people are extremely friendly and warm, and very easy to get along with. I have made quite a number of friends since moving here and now call it home. There is a sense of pride and belonging because Mayo Clinic is such an integral part of the city of Rochester.
What does your future look like right now?
The sky is the limit for me now. I am currently interested in hepatobiliary surgery, but with the concrete foundation I've already received, I know I'll be able to attain the necessary skills, experience and exposure to explore all fields of surgery with confidence.
What one piece of advice would you give to medical student applicants?
If you are truly interested in Mayo's program, doing a surgery rotation during your third or fourth year will not only help you grow as a future surgeon but also show you the quality of Mayo's program. On your rotations, work and study hard.
Surgery is a challenging job. How do you keep your sanity?
I relax in my free time and slow down the pace of my activity by painting and playing soccer.