Dre Marie Christine Aumais is one of the most sought after plastic surgeons in Quebec. She has achieved true mastery in her skillsets, working with one of the best teams in surgery located in Westmount. Coming from a humble background, her parents always pushed her to follow her dreams and to contribute positively in the world. “They really believed in contributing outside of yourself, which always came back to the medical industry [for me]. My mother is a physiotherapist and I used to love going to the hospital with her, I felt like I was going to my second home – I know that’s not really other peoples experience in that setting, but it was mine.” She knew from a young age that she would become a doctor. She recalls that, “I used to tell my mother since the age of four that I would one day because a doctor”. She has indeed accomplished her childhood dream. In her story, she tells us about achieving master in her craft, finding balance all whilst keeping her patients at the top of her priority list.
Here’s her journey to the world of surgery, specialization and mastery.
She started in medical school and was fascinated by the world of plastic surgery. “I did an internship in plastics and fell in love with it.” She started her residency in 2014. A graduate of McGill University in 2016 she then went on to do a sub-speciality in Brussels for a year and a half. “I worked closely with a renown surgeon there, in breast reconstruction and aesthetics. [please give us his name]. Then I came back to Canada and started working here full time in 2017”.
So you’ve been working ow for four years in plastic surgery ; were you always in the same clinic?
When I started, I really wanted to focus on doing hospital work. My first year in 2018 I was really working on my own, when I got to experience having patients that were under my charge, accompanying the patient throughout the process of their surgery from start to finish, through their pain, all the way to the post-surgery phase. For me, it was really important to give my all to the hospital and the care of my patients. As of 2019, effectively I got to work under an amazing plastic surgeon, Dr.Sandra McGill, who really taught me the ropes of the industry.
I started working more on my branding and launched in 2020 with [insert clinic name here]. We did lots of revocations since, and we’re growing exponentially. It’s nice since then, we also have another woman doctor who has joined us, so it’s definitely a nice environment filled with women leaders.
Do you see yourself opening another clinic, either with Dr Sandra or on your own one day?
Ideally, that would be the goal in the future. It is definitely a dream for a plastic surgeon to own their own clinic. It is an ambitious dream to go after in the beginning of your career, but definitely one that I wish to accomplish one day. I would love to open a clinic one day that would be able to offer multi disciplinary services, in all aspects from surgery, to nutrition, to wellness. All things I am deeply passionate about. To be able to give optimal results but also durability. People invest a lot into their surgery, so I believe it is essential to give results where they are satisfied with their appearance.
In what region would you aim for?
On the island of Montreal for sure. This type of clinic doesn’t really exist yet on the South shore or Laval, but I feel like it is coming up now to offer a more optimal result and to follow patients into their long term plan. I believe it will happen with time.
What is a challenge you have surmounted, either during residency or as a surgeon?
The one thing I have had to work on the most, is definitely my implication with patients on an emotional level. For example cancer patients, are patients that we see for a long time. We get attached to those patients, which are getting younger and younger, some have families with stories to tell and when there are complications, it really gets to me a lot. I have to distance myself a little in order to sleep better at night.
That can be really hard. What advice would you give other doctors who get more attached to patients like these?
We must be patient with ourselves. To be empathetic instead of sympathetic. That, is something that we learn with time. I don’t see it happening differently than experiencing it.
What steps do you take to avoid burnout?
I think it’s very important to keep a work-life balance. I urge this very much. Having outside relationships, spending family time, having hobbies, a vibrant social life, we overlook this but it really is necessary especially as a surgeon to maintain balance in our every day lives.
What part of your day to day as a surgeon do you enjoy the most?
Definitely being in the operating room. I love to operate. Regardless if it’s performing reconstructive surgery, or if it’s aesthetics, it’s really the place where we get to be artistic as doctors. There’s a lot of precision in mind, we get to use our finesse, from detailing to symmetry, it’s really all the skillsets we are trained for, brought to life.
What does success represent to you?
That’s a great question. I have thought a lot about this. I believe what success to me represents is my capacity of having a positive aspect in other peoples lives. The satisfaction from our patients, the confidence that they put in us – to be able to participate in a big part of their personal change. That’s success to me. It’s not monetary, it’s really the quality that we can give to patients and seeing how happy it makes them at the end.
What inspires you professionally to grow?
We always have ambition, to keep moving forward as surgeons. Maintaining perfection in our craft is the goal, but then moving to the next step and growing professionally is also very important to me. To own my own workspace, to be in charge of a team, it’s something that really represents the whole. Finding new options to service our patients, and to move towards a better approach for quality care.
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