The two weeks I spent with Dr. Friedman were invaluable and surpassed my expectations in every way. As a resident pursuing a fellowship and eventual career in cosmetic dermatology, I was particularly invested in learning as much as possible during my preceptorship. Reflecting back on those two weeks, I learned far more than I imagined. Beyond providing me with an enriching education in laser medicine and cosmetics, Dr. Friedman also offered an education on how to be a truly exceptional physician, and it is for that that I am even more thankful.
Beginning on my first day at the practice, I was seamlessly integrated into the medical team and saw every patient on Dr. Friedman’s schedule, which yielded a diverse exposure to cosmetic patients of all kinds. During initial consultations, I learned how to create a thorough, personalized and synergistic plan for a patient’s needs in both the short and long-term. Over time, I began to anticipate questions and concerns with respect to particular treatments and grew more confident in answering them. Though residency has taught me the basics of chromophores and the lasers best suited for each, never before was I able to understand the
nuances of choosing one laser over another with respect to indication, skin type, risk factors, available downtime and cost. As my preceptorship progressed, I began to understand other technologies could be used in conjunction to optimize cosmetic outcome and for what patients non-laser alternatives were the more appropriate initial choice. Over time, I also expanded upon my knowledge of topical therapies and learned how to optimize them in a way that can compliment in-office treatments and minimize potential complications.
Conversely, procedure appointments offered a different and equally valuable learning experience. I was exposed to injectable techniques and styles with which I was unfamiliar and also to new technologies I had never seen. While uncommon, I saw complications, both expected and unexpected, and witnessed how best to approach and address them. For those patients who presented for routine maintenance, I learned how to recognize when a treatment plan should be tailored with increasing age and the changes in skin and facial architecture that accompany it.
Above everything, however, the most valuable part of my experience was something I had not expected, and that was my ability to witness Dr. Friedman’s interactions with patients. No matter how behind he was, or how “difficult” the interaction may have been classified, every patient was given as much time as necessary to answer all questions, address all fears and review all treatment options. This included discussion of mechanisms, purpose, cost and what to expect during treatment, during recovery and long-term. In the early morning and with the last patient of the day, his attention was unwavering, as was his compassion, dedication and kindness. If a patient was anxious or seemed apprehensive, his recommendation was always to start small and slow. He always did what he genuinely felt was best for the patient, without consideration to profit. This is not always the case, particularly in a field as lucrative as cosmetic dermatology, and to see it was inspiring and a profound example of the kind of physician I hope to emulate in my future practice.
To Dr. Friedman and everyone at the Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center, thank you for an incredible two weeks. I felt so welcomed, cared for and appreciated in such a short amount of time. The experience was fruitful, so much fun and one I am unlikely to forget.