A Shift to the Left: Teaching the Craft of Cardiac Surgery


  • Curt Tribble, MD Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA




I was in Chicago in 1987 when Dr. Shumway delivered his American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) presidential address, and, like most in the audience, I knew he was correct. Having had the privilege of getting to do a lot of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery in my surgical training, I was preparing myself to make my own move to the left side of the operating table. In fact, I had already resolved that I would make my own “shift to the left” very soon after that meeting in 1987, hoping to become, like Dr. Shumway, the best first assistant I could be. Over thirty years later, I have never looked, nor moved back. However, making this move to the left side of the table – to teach surgical residents how to operate – is challenging for many surgeons in academic environments. In considering the challenges, we must remember that those of us who have agreed to teach our protégés have an obligation both to them, and to their future patients, to help them become safe, capable cardiothoracic surgeons


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How to Cite

Tribble, MD, C. (2017). A Shift to the Left: Teaching the Craft of Cardiac Surgery. The Heart Surgery Forum, 20(6), E269-E273. https://doi.org/10.1532/hsf.1948