Newswise — Nell Maloney Patel, MD, program director of the general surgery residency and associate professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, was admitted into the American College of Surgeons Academy of Master Surgeon Educators—a prestigious group of nationally esteemed surgical educators.

The academy recognizes surgeon educators who have played a leadership role in advancing the science and practice of surgical education and training. As part of her membership, Dr. Maloney Patel will be active in preparing educational programming for surgery and planning the future for surgical education, along with other top thought leaders in the field.

Humbled by the nomination into the academy, Dr. Maloney Patel shares, “Impacting the next generation of surgeons is the most fulfilling and exciting part of my career. I love watching students and residents improve and further develop their passion in the field. I am honored to be part of a group of surgical educators whom I really admire and who share my dedication for teaching.”

Dr. Maloney Patel chose a career in surgery because she could impact patients in an immediate and definitive way. She was also continually inspired with surgical patients in their determination, resilience and strength. In tandem with her surgical responsibilities, since her own residency, Dr. Maloney Patel has been active in surgical education. In her current role, she uses innovative and inspiring ways to teach surgical principles and techniques to 43 residents and also medical students.

Says Chair of Surgery Leonard Lee, MD, who nominated Dr. Maloney Patel for the Academy of Surgical Educators, “One of Dr. Maloney Patel’s true strengths is her ability to respond in a creative way to resident concerns about specific challenges. She finds innovative solutions to problems using a variety of educational techniques.”

Dr. Maloney Patel has helped transform medical education in the Department of Surgery at Rutgers by prioritizing individualized development and leadership for the residents, including creating a formalized leadership curriculum. She designed and employed individual educational plans that focus on each resident’s goals and she then instructs on areas important to the resident.   

Dr. Maloney Patel explains, “Our Residents are hardworking, smart and excellent. My job is to help identify where they would like to take their career and get them to that tract. This is not always the same for each person so individualization is key.”

Dr. Maloney Patel views her role as an educator not only to promote professional development of residents but also to help kind and compassionate surgeons. She says, “Our surgical residents are the people who will be taking care of me and my family down the road. I want to help them become curious and excellent and caring so they deliver amazing patient care. Laying that groundwork for this work is incredibly fulfilling.”