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Becoming a Urologist with Dr. Sean Heron

If I had to do it again, I would still happily choose urology. I really love urology and I’m always excited about the opportunity it offers to listen to people talk about distressing conditions, detect life-threatening conditions and make interventions that improve their lives. For me, the honor of being relied upon to offer advice, the awe of discovering problems in the genitourinary tract, the chance to provide life-improving and life-saving treatments, and the gratitude that comes with helping people through difficult illness — these things just never cease to motivate me. So even in my most stressful work days — when crushed by unbearable time constraints or enormous pressure — I have never felt anything like a drop in my passion for urology.

Why urology?

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a doctor. My mother, who was a teacher, realized this early and encouraged me to work hard in school to fulfill my dream. I went to Denison University for my undergraduate studies, then to Ohio State University for my medical degree, graduating in 1989. In medical school, I wasn’t really sure which field of medicine I wanted to specialize. In those days, the first two years of medical school were dedicated to intensive classwork and then in the third year we would go for clinical rotation.

When I went for my rotations, my first area was nephrology, medical care for kidneys. It was quite depressing working with patients with kidney problems and those under dialysis. I couldn’t figure out why patients who were not doing well were discharged to go home only to be back in the hospital the next day. This early experience shaped my attitude toward urology and at this stage, I felt strongly that I would never be a urologist.

We had eight choices as electives, including urology, but I didn’t want to work with kidneys and tried to avoid urology. However, as things turned out, I ended up picking urology. My eureka moment came when I watched from a side view as the prostate was being cut by a urologist. As the procedure went on before my eyes, I immediately changed my mind about urology.

That was my first real experience with urological surgery and it inspired my career choice and my lifelong commitment to the field. I completed a six-year urology and surgery residency at Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., and soon became a certified urologist by American Board of Urology. And even though I heard people say that urology was boring, I have found it fun and fascinating.

Areas of expertise

As a urologist, I offer diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care for a broad range of urological ailments and associated emotional issues. I routinely provide medical and surgical treatments for conditions such as kidney stones, urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, male infertility, pelvic pain, urologic cancers and genitourinary tract injuries. But I also perform specialized laparoscopic, laser and robotic procedures for various conditions, such as laser enucleation and laser vaporization for prostatic problems, steam ablation (Rezum) of the prostate, da Vinci robot-assisted surgery for prostate and kidney issues and high-intensity focused ultrasound for prostate cancer. Most importantly, I believe that every patient has unique needs that must be fully understood by the urologist before treatment can commence. So I always make sure to take into account all the needs, concerns and presenting factors of every patient and to provide tailored treatments that meet the specific needs of individual patients.

Job satisfaction

Urologists manage genitourinary tract disorders medically and surgically, taking care of their patients from start to finish. The ability to fix urologic disorders, see the lives of your patients improve, have them enjoy life much better and establish enduring relationships with them is quite satisfying. Likewise, the chance to use some of the latest and most innovative technology, including scopes, lasers and robots for complex urology procedures makes the field continually interesting. Even though urology is a surgical subspecialty, we have far better working hours than in general surgery. There are much fewer urological emergencies and rarely are there painful trauma situations to handle, so urologists have more control over their work schedule and better control over their lives. While urology residency is quite grueling, it isn’t nearly as bad as general surgery residency. With urology you get a good mix of surgery and medicine and enjoy better working conditions and great outcomes, all of which makes it quite fulfilling.

Why Advanced Urology Institute?

When I was choosing urology, there were people around me who thought it was a boring field of medicine. So for me, the inspiration to join the specialty was not enough. I also wanted a practice that would make urology exciting and fun. Luckily I found that in Advanced Urology Institute. I joined AUI’s Pinellas Urology in 1995 and quickly found its collaborative, multidisciplinary and patient-centered approach to care useful in bringing out the best of my skills, knowledge and experiences. And with all administrative work centralized at AUI, there are no bothersome phone calls, electronic documentation, paperwork, quality assurance measures and insurance forms for me to deal with. That makes it easier for me to concentrate on providing the best possible care to my patients. So even if I can’t always guarantee that I’ll make my patients better, I have all the time to work out the best possible remedies for their conditions. For more information on urology and urological services offered by AUI, visit the “Advanced Urology Institute” site.

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Advanced Urology Institute

Advanced Urology Institute is the largest urology practice in Florida. We are dedicated to improving the lives of our patients by providing excellent Patient-Centered Care. Set an appointment or visit our closest office near you.

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