Creativity and the surgeon

J Pediatr Surg. 2009 Jan;44(1):13-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2008.10.006.


This Robert E. Gross lecture is an analysis of the concept of creativity and how it relates to the practice of surgery. The questions-why surgery and creativity are closely associated; what influences creativity; why we should be concerned about it; and, finally, what rewards it brings-are discussed. In a personal note, the author describes his approach to creativity, with simplification as a central theme. He presents 6 examples of his work and the lessons learned from this activity. He stresses the importance of fostering creativity in all institutions in which physicians are trained and the need to focus on medical students, residents, and fellows. The critical importance of identifying, nurturing, and protecting innovators, as well as the role of the mentor, is emphasized. Because creativity has a place in many settings and discovery encompasses a wide spectrum, the author provides multiple suggestions aimed at encouraging the participation of those providing surgical care in the fulfilling experience of creative activity and innovation.

Publication types

  • Lecture

MeSH terms

  • Creativity*
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • General Surgery / trends*
  • Humans
  • Pediatrics / trends*