Patrick Rhoten

Interview with Neurological Surgeon Dr. Patrick Rhoten

in Opinion

Dr. Patrick Rhoten is a neurological surgeon who currently resides in San Diego. He graduated from Texas Technological University’s School of Medicine in 1991 after which he completed his residency at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in 1997. Having performed some additional academic endeavors, he opened a private practice in 1998 and co-founded the Institute of Spinal Disorders. Additionally, he also co-founded the prominent Southern California Association of Neurological Surgeons in Beverly Hills. Although he is most popular for his achievements in the medical field, Dr. Patrick Rhoten has a long history of community involvement. He has coached children, including his own, in multiple sports. Moreover, he frequently volunteers his time to charitable causes like at a recent bike ride for cancer. Due to many achievements, Patrick Rhoten has traveled extensively to attend medical conferences and deliver presentations to thousands of professionals in this field.

Can you tell us a little more about the formal process of becoming a neurosurgeon?

There is a list of steps that one must go through to become qualified for neurosurgery. As expected, that list is pretty long since this is a job that deals with saving people’s lives on a daily basis. First, one needs to obtain a bachelor’s degree with high grades and lots of campus involvement. Then, you will be given an admissions test that medical schools require their students to take to prove their knowledge of basic concepts of the sciences. After 4 years of medical school, you will move on to do a residency that can now go up to 7-8 years or more. In some cases, there may be special training that is completed after your residency.

What are some typical conditions that neurosurgeons deal with?

It really depends. As I mentioned, even a person who is doing their residency in neurosurgery will be given opportunities to subspecialize. Thus, some doctors might specialize in brain tumors while others may be experts in degenerative diseases of the spine. The only thing that will not change is the constant patient interaction and some administrative work tasks.

Do you travel for work a lot?

Yes and no. I do not have many different trips that I have to do as a neurosurgeon for work, outside of keeping up with the latest findings within my medical specialty. However, an example of recent travel is a voluntary medical mission trip to Moshi, Tanzania where I went to teach local doctors about some newer techniques in surgery. The trip took over 2 weeks to complete.

Can you tell us a little about your volunteer work?

It is very diverse. I do everything from monetary contributions to local agencies to past involvement with a food bank. One of my favorite volunteering activities involves coaching my four kids and their friends in sports. Besides those, I also do walks for MS, help the homeless, charity volleyball tournaments, and bike for various causes.

Do you ever have time to do some sports yourself?

Absolutely. Although being a neurosurgeon comes with the territory and a plethora of work, I do have a great work-life balance. My children are one of the most important priorities in my life, and I try to make time for them as much as possible. As far as sports I participate in, I sometimes play golf and am an avid hiker.

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