Dr. Cindy Calder, USAP-Texas (Houston)
Tell us about yourself. What is your favorite hobby?
I enjoy yoga, cooking, country western dancing, travel and reading. Is this where I add ‘long walks on the beach and good wine?’ I am a certified yoga instructor with an interest in therapeutic yoga and a love for inversions. I initially pursued teacher training in yoga to learn more about the discipline and be able to evolve my own personal practice, since we work such odd hours. It has become a passion and a significant pathway for personal growth.
Why Anesthesia as a profession?
I started out in medicine wanting to heal the masses and save the world. You know, achievable, definitive goals. I did one anesthesia elective and fell in love. It’s great when your strengths align with your career, but when your weaknesses are assets, it’s a match made in heaven. Being OCD is a requirement for the OR. (Come on, who doesn’t have a way they always line up their syringes?). There are many aspects of anesthesia in which to continually grow and learn. It is a never ending challenge. There is a defined endpoint with goals accomplished. It is a team sport with individual effort. And, finally, the people are just the best.
How do you ensure patient safety and care in every case every day?
Safety is not a checkbox for any of us. We can be duly proud that our specialty has pioneered many of the safety policies and procedures adopted by the airlines and other industries. But how do we stay focused and fresh on our 20th knee scope, post-call, when we tossed and turned all night and barely got any sleep? If I stay in the patient’s perspective, it’s easy. It’s the first knee scope for them. Or, the patient that’s on his 18th surgery and got grumpy as soon as he was posted—same technique. He’s clearly out of coping mechanisms and he’s going to need mine, and my help. Every patient’s care is a sacred trust.
What legacy would you like to leave?
At my retirement party, or when people are looking at old pictures and remarking on those long gone, I would like it said of me that I always gave each patient my very best effort. That I was an excellent clinician. That I took care of my assignment as well as solving other people’s problems. That I instilled calm. That I left the practice richer and better than I found it. That I knew how and when to lead, as well as follow. That I mentored others to discover and reach their potential. But mostly, that I treated everyone I came in contact with—business office, anesthesiologists, CRNAs, nurses, surgeons, patients, administration, housekeeping—with respect, kindness and acceptance.