Jacob Murphree, MD is in his third year of orthopaedic residency at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Dr. Murphree serves on the TOA Residency Council.
TOA recently sat down with Dr. Murphree to learn more about his thoughts on the future of orthopaedics in Texas.
TOA: What do you plan to do when you wrap up your residency?
Jacob Murphree: I am currently a PGY-3 at Texas Tech. During our third year, we leave our home institution to do a four-month rotation at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. I am currently doing that rotation. It has been a great experience and I am very grateful to have been able to work alongside the surgeons at this facility. The operative experience has been tremendous and I will be able to use this knowledge that I have gained for the rest of my career.
Right now I am leaning pretty heavily towards a trauma fellowship when I finish residency. I think the reason that most of us go into orthopaedics is because we truly enjoy fixing fractures. That has been my favorite aspect of the job so far and I feel like trauma gives me the best opportunity to do that for my career. You also have the potential to impact someone in a really positive way in one of the most negative moments of their life.
I am from a small West Texas town named Big Spring. After high school, I moved to Lubbock for my undergraduate degree and have been there ever since. I really enjoy being in the area and see myself staying nearby after completing my residency and fellowship if the job market allows me to. I hope to work for a larger hospital system, as that is where most of the big traumas go.
TOA: As a member of the TOA Residency Council, you’re becoming more involved in the state and federal public policy issues that affect orthopaedic surgeons. You’ll be traveling to Washington, DC in the spring to advocate on behalf of Texas orthopaedic surgoens and their patients. What are your initial thoughts on the public policy aspect of medicine?
Jacob Murphree: To this point in my life, I have not really considered the political atmosphere of medicine. However, I recently was given the opportunity to serve on the TOA board as a resident member. This opportunity has peaked my interest in the political aspect of orthopaedics. This coming spring, I will be traveling to Washington, DC with other members of the TOA to advocate on behalf of Texas orthopaedic surgeons and our patients and hope to make our voice heard on our outstanding issues.
As a resident, it is sometimes difficult to think about anything beyond my day-to-day tasks at the hospital. I am grateful for this opportunity to learn about the world outside of my home institution and the policies behind why certain things are the way they are, and how we can change some of those things for the better. I also hope that my involvement will spur discussion amongst my fellow residents and colleagues on the subject of policy. In a field like ours, immediate patient care seems to take priority over policy and academic discussions, which is unfortunate because the former is just as important and can positively impact the latter. I hope my involvement with TOA will help change that for my career and for my colleagues in West Texas.
TOA: Have you witnessed any new clinical advances in orthopaedics during your residency that have surprised you?
Jacob Murphree: I am very young in my career in orthopaedics. However, looking back at the history of how things used to be done, relative to how things are done now truly amazes me. This is an ever-changing field. Although we are sometimes viewed as neanderthals by our non-orthopaedic colleagues, this field has made tremendous strides even in the last ten years because of the great work being done in the field. I’m excited for the future and to see what it has to hold for me and my career.