A (Bon)Fireside Chat with Dr. Rob Walsh
“Remember the old Snickers commercials ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’? People aren’t themselves when they’re in pain. They’re a radically different person. We give them that Snickers bar and fix the pain to get them back to who they really are, after the pain is gone.”
Dr. Rob Walsh joins SMOMS in July 2022, fresh out of his residency at the Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. In honor of his summertime debut, we’re moving our “Fireside Chats” to the “Bonfire-side.” So grab a s’mores and read on about the newest SMOMS Surgeon.
Q: What inspired you to enter the oral surgery field?
Dr. Walsh: When I was little, I wanted to be a brain surgeon. I guess I got pretty close! My father is a general dentist in my hometown in Rhode Island, so that influenced me as well. But through my time in dental school at UNE where the SMOMS surgeons teach, they were such supportive and encouraging mentors that I decided to pursue oral surgery.
Q: What was the first surgery you performed?
Dr. Walsh: Just a standard extraction. (SMOMS Surgeon) Dr. Mitchell actually oversaw the surgery, which was pretty cool. I’ve definitely honed the craft since that first extraction though.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Dr. Walsh: Surprisingly, it’s not the actual, technical surgery. The surgery itself you can learn and pick up pretty quickly. No school can teach you how to work with your patients and manage patient expectations. You have to learn that on your own. Failure is also an inherent part of any learning curve–you can’t expect to be perfect at everything your first time around, and that little bit of failure can shake you up a bit. But it’s a natural part of learning, and it gets better.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Dr. Walsh: Is it cliche to say ‘helping people’? Because that’s the answer. Operating on a patient who is in very bad condition–and to see them walk out afterwards is just an unbelievable feeling.
Q: What is your favorite surgery to perform?
Dr. Walsh: Anything trauma related, just because it’s such a big transformation. At Brookdale Hospital where I completed my residency, we specialized in facial trauma. We saw some of the highest numbers of trauma cases in New York City, which is pretty incredible.
Q: How does your career impact the way you see the world?
Dr. Walsh: Remember the old Snickers commercials ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’? People aren’t themselves when they’re in pain. They’re a radically different person. We give them that Snickers bar and fix the pain to get them back to who they really are after the pain is gone. So I try to see people that way, who they are without pain.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in joining SMOMS?
Dr. Walsh: Residency hours and responsibilities are pretty wild, and I haven’t spent as much time with my wife and kids as I’d like. So I’m looking forward to joining the world of private practice to have a little more freedom outside of work.
Q: If you could have dinner with anyone from history or alive today, who would it be?
Dr. Walsh: My wife. She’s awesome.
Q: What is your favorite cartoon?
Dr. Walsh: Probably CoCoMelon. Or Bubble Guppies. Can you tell that I have little kids?
Q: What is your favorite fruit?
Dr. Walsh: Apples. No wait! Have you ever had Sumo Oranges? Those are the best fruit in the world.
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