The medical field is filled with diversity and inspiring surgeons. Today we’re excited to profile Dr. Nina L. Shapiro, an industry role model with deep expertise as part of our I Look Like A Surgeon series.
Name: Nina Shapiro
Profession: Pediatric Otolaryngologist
Location: Los Angeles (UCLA)
Where did you study? I went to Harvard Medical School, and did my Otolaryngology residency at Harvard, as well. I did my Pediatric Otolaryngology fellowship at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, and at Children’s Hospital San Diego.
What does a typical day look like for you? I either see patients in the clinic, or do surgeries. My surgeries are either in an outpatient surgery center, or in the hospital.
What’s the most rewarding part of your day? Doing the tiniest ear surgery on a tiny child, and making their life a thousand times better by that afternoon.
What is the hardest part of your day? When a child has a breathing problem in or out of the operating room. It’s devastating.
Can you tell us about a favorite career moment? I had been taking care of a boy for many years. He had a chronic breathing problem due to benign tumors of the voicebox. When these got under better control, his parents sent me a photo of him in his soccer uniform. I’ll never forget the smile on his face.
What does being a surgeon mean to you? It means being able to address and fix problems of the pediatric airway. This is a big challenge, but very rewarding. It also means being able to work with a great team of nurses, resident physicians, and anesthesiologists, to name a few.
What advice would you give to an aspiring surgeon? Keep doing it if you love it. No lifestyle is perfect, but if you love what you do, you are in the right place.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be or do whatever your passion tells you. The road may not be straight, but you will get there!