He addressed new fellows during ceremony speech in Scotland
Rui Fernandes, MD, DMD, an associate professor and associate chair of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, has been inducted as an ad hominem fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. The organization is the oldest and largest royal college in the United Kingdom and one of the world’s oldest surgical organizations, advocating for surgical advancement for more than 500 years.
The ad hominem fellow distinction is the most prestigious designation a surgeon can receive from the college. Of the more than 10,000 U.S. surgeons in his specialty, Fernandes is just the third to be inducted as one.
The induction ceremony was Nov. 17 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
“It was a surreal experience. I was deeply humbled and excited at the same time,” said Fernandes, who was one of two surgeons inducted as an ad hominem fellow that day. “It is an affirmation of my contributions to the surgical field and a recognition from my international peers at the highest level.”
Fernandes was also asked to address the college’s new fellows during the ceremony. In his speech, he shared lessons learned and tips on how to achieve success and happiness as a surgeon. He said to always remember family and continually thank them for their support throughout the years. He then advised the surgeons to become friends with people across various disciplines.
“When you start your new post, if you live in a city away from family and friends, take time to make new friends,” he said. “Good times lie ahead, but challenges will come. And when they do, you will need someone to share your frustrations with and help you strategize.”
Fernandes emphasized finding strong mentors who will be supportive and honest — willing to give truthful advice even when it’s not what you want to hear. He also told the fellows to take time for themselves and engage in hobbies and activities they enjoy outside the medical realm. The potential for burnout is “all too real,” he said.
“Finally, always remember to keep your patients’ best interest at the center of your decision-making,” Fernandes said. “At times, this will require difficult decisions. How you handle these challenges may define your career.”
Fernandes, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, joined UF COMJ in 2005. He is chief of head and neck surgery and director of the head and neck oncologic surgery and microvascular fellowship program.
He is also co-director of the UF Health Skull Base Center – Jacksonville, which treats patients with skull base tumors, brain tumors and related conditions. The center is the only one of its kind in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.