Lynda Dougherty, MD, FACS, FASCRS, a colorectal specialty surgeon at Garrett Regional Medical Center who also owns and operates Deep Creek Colon and Rectal Surgery in Oakland, recently participated as a presenter in a national webinar produced by the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS). The webinar was attended by surgeons throughout the United States.
Dr. Dougherty was invited by ASCRS to be a presenter for the webinar, “Should I stay or should I go,” a session focused on career transitions and their impact on personal and professional growth. Dr. Dougherty’s move to Garrett County and the practice of rural medicine came after she spent 20 years working in her specialty at a large hospital in Fairfax, VA, a suburb of Washington, DC.
The webinar included a diverse group of speakers offering advice on making major career decisions based on their own experiences. Transitions discussed included changing hospitals or surgery centers, changing roles within a hospital or surgery center, changing the type of practice within colorectal surgery, or leaving clinical medicine via retirement or a change in administrative responsibilities.
Dr. Dougherty’s move from a busy practice in suburban Washington, DC, one of the most congested areas in the country, to Garrett County, MD, one of Maryland’s most rural communities, enabled her to contribute an interesting perspective to the webinar’s content.
“We had been coming to Garrett County for 10 years before we decided to relocate,” Dr. Dougherty says. “So we knew the community to a certain extent, and we loved it. So when we decided to move, we had a very good idea of what we were getting into. Practicing rural medicine is a different than practicing in suburbia, which is what I had been doing, and while I knew it would be different, I did run across some bumps along the way. As a presenter in the webinar, I was able to use my experience transitioning from suburban to rural as an example of how to handle changes in one’s professional practice, and how to handle the personal challenges that come with that as well.”
Dr. Dougherty is a colorectal specialist, the only such specialist in the western Maryland region. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and served as president of the Chesapeake Colorectal Society from 2017 to 2018.
Upon relocating to Garrett County in 2018, she and her family became involved in the community and are active supporters of Hart for Animals, Garrett College, the Deep Creek Winter Sports Team, and Garrett Regional Medical Center, where she serves as a surgeon.
“One of the recommendations I made in the webinar is that if you are moving to a new area, especially to a rural area, become involved in the community. That’s how you’re going to be seen as someone who wants to contribute. The community here has welcomed us, and supports me as a local practitioner.
The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) is an organization for colon and rectal and other surgeons dedicated to assuring high quality patient care. The ASCRS supports advancing science through research and supports education for prevention and management of disorders of the colon, rectum and anus.