John W. Jaureguito, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Fremont, Calif. since 1995, where he owns Fremont Orthopedic & Rehabilitative Medicine (FORM, www.formortho.com) with two other physicians. Jaureguito earned his bachelor’s degree at University of Notre Dame, where he studied science (preprofessional) and graduated Cum Laude in 1985. He earned his medical degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1989. Dr. Jaureguito completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at University of New Mexico Medical Center (1989-91) and University of Chicago Medical Center (1991-94). Lastly, he completed a fellowship in orthopedic sports medicine under Lonnie Paulos, MD, at Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Salt Lake City (1994-95).
John W. Jaureguito, MD, Orthopedic Surgery was interviewed by Juliet Farmer about what his life is like as an Orthopedic Surgeon. Included in this post are a few of his responses.
Why did you decide to specialize in orthopedics?
I was exposed to orthopedics as a junior in high school and then subsequently as a senior in high school. I had a severe knee injury requiring surgery. I have always been a sports oriented person and orthopedics allowed me to stay involved with athletes through my practice.
If you had to do it over again, would you still become an orthopedist? Why or why not? What would you have done instead?
If I had to do it over again, I may not have become a physician. If I had become a physician, I would absolutely be an orthopedic surgeon. I believe that orthopedics is by far and away the best suited specialty to my personality, my work habits and talents.
Has being an orthopedist met your expectations and why?
Being an orthopedic surgeon has absolutely met my expectations. It is an excellent specialty. It allows for both uses of your cognitive abilities as well as your physical abilities. The combination of interaction with patients, both in the office as well as being able to treat them in the operating room, is very gratifying. Indeed, there is immediate gratification with surgery that you can see both at the time of the surgery as well as radiographically in postop visits. From a standpoint of the patient’s perspective, a great deal of what we do changes the patient’s life significantly for the better and they are very grateful for this, and this is satisfying as an orthopedic surgeon.
What do you like most about being an orthopedist?
My favorite part of being an orthopedic surgeon is definitely the surgical procedures that I get to perform and the benefit that my patients get from these surgical procedures.
What do you like least about being an orthopedist?
Probably the one thing that is very specific to orthopedic surgery is that it is a surgical subspecialty and therefore produces a great deal of pain for patients. Unfortunately, therefore, I have to interact with a number of patients who are drug seeking and this is something that I greatly dislike. Something that I dislike that is more general towards medicine is the struggle fighting insurance carriers every step of the way in the treatment of patients.
Describe a typical day at work.
I have two typical days at work; those that are surgical and those that are nonsurgical. My nonsurgical days begin usually around 5 a.m., getting up and getting ready for work. I will see patients typically starting at 7 a.m. and see patients until around 4 to 4:30 p.m. I do not take a lunch. I eat in between patients and therefore I’m seeing patients for roughly nine to 10 hours straight. This makes for a relatively difficult day. My other days are surgical days. These days typically are similar in length beginning at 7 a.m. routinely and finishing usually around 4 to 5 p.m. On occasion, there are emergent surgeries that need to be done in the evening, but this is less common. There are days where I will work half day in the office and half day in the operating room, but these are less common.
On average, how many hours a week do you work? How many hours do you sleep per night? How many weeks of vacation do you take?
On average, I work approximately 50 hours a week, sometimes up to 60 hours a week. I rarely work less than 40 hours a week. I sleep seven to eight hours a night. I particularly make an effort to get at least eight hours of sleep on evenings before big surgery days. As far as vacation is concerned, I typically take about two to three weeks of vacation a year.
Where do you see orthopedics in 10 years?
Orthopedics remains a very technology dependent profession and orthopedics will stagnate if the technology slows. Should major cuts in health care funding be undertaken by the current administration or future administrations, then I believe orthopedics will suffer to a certain extent. On the other hand, in the next decade, the baby boomer population will continue to age and this is going to result in a great deal of volume of patients for orthopedic surgeons to care for.
Do you have any final piece of advice for students interested in pursuing orthopedics as a career?
I think that orthopedic surgery is an excellent career choice, but any career choice in medicine is daunting and a huge sacrifice. I always speak about the “lost decade,” which is the time following college until you get out of your training. For an orthopedic surgeon, there are four years of medical school, five years of residency and typically one year of fellowship training. This is a total of 10 years, hence the “lost decade.” During this time, you are working huge numbers of hours and you put your life on hold. During this time, other people outside of medicine are finding out who they really are, enjoying life, meeting their spouse, getting married, buying their first home, starting a family, and a lot of these are things that you put off in medicine. I think that someone who is interested in going into medicine and orthopedics should think long and hard whether this sacrifice is worth it because when you get out, it does not get any easier, particularly in the early parts of a career. To be a good physician and a good orthopedic surgeon, one has to be very dedicated to their practice and to their patients.
To view the full list of questions visit: https://www.studentdoctor.net/2013/03/20-questions-john-w-jaureguito-md/
Farmer, Juliet. “20 Questions: John W. Jaureguito, MD, Orthopaedic Surgery.” Student Doctor Network. N.p., 17 Mar. 2013. Web. 07 July 2017.