The holiday season is upon us, and the new year is not far behind. This time of year, the media inevitably bring up the matter of new year’s resolutions, so why should PSP be any different?

I’m not a plastic surgeon, but if I were, I would make these resolutions for 2006:

My procedures: Am I keeping up to date on new procedures? Am I reading the clinical literature, attending conferences, and discussing them with my colleagues? Or am I drawing water from the same old well, charging patients ever higher fees for outmoded services? I hereby resolve to make sure that I provide the best available surgical outcomes to my patients in 2006.

My staff: Are the people who work in my practice the right people in terms of background, preparation, job performance, and character? Are they well-trained? Do I give them all the tools they need to do their jobs? Do I compensate them fairly and treat them respectfully? I hereby resolve that I will have the best-performing and best-treated staff possible in 2006.

My facility: My patients, my staff, and even I are strongly affected by the environment that I provide. Is the building that I own or the space that I lease a first-class facility? Is it clean and in good repair? Is it beautiful or charming, depending on the character of my practice? Do people like being there? I hereby resolve for 2006 to ensure that my facility is not only in top-notch condition, but provides an atmosphere that represents the character of my practice.

My patients: A plastic surgery practice is nothing without a constant stream of patients, so I must continue to attract new ones and hold on to my existing ones. How do I come across to prospective patients during consultations? Is the conversation all about me or all about them? When patients choose me as their plastic surgeon, how are they treated during the preoperative visits, the surgery itself, and the postoperative visits? Do I take them for granted, or do I treat them as valued customers? What are my staff’s attitudes and behavior toward them? I hereby resolve to redouble my efforts to give my patients the best care possible in 2006.

My business practices: Plastic surgery is an art and a science, but it’s also a business. Is my practice being run as well as possible? Are my staff and I constantly on the lookout for ways to make things operate more smoothly and efficiently? Are we seeking creative quality of service to improve the bottom line to our mutual benefit without eroding the benefits we provide to our patients? Are our financial maneuvers above legal and ethical reproach? I resolve that my business practices in 2006 will benefit my patients, my staff, and myself without compromising our integrity.

My community: I am fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy a successful career and to help others improve their lives. Not everyone is so prosperous, and I have a responsibility to share my prosperity with my community—whether I define that as my city, town, or neighborhood; my place of worship; or even faraway countries where people need aid. I have the power to help others, both by monetary donation and by using my talent, knowledge, and skill to literally put people back together. I resolve that I will expand my generosity financially and with pro bono services in 2006.

That’s a lot to chew on along with your holiday popcorn balls. I suspect that the vast majority of plastic surgeons don’t have far to go to fulfill these resolutions. But it’s a good idea to take inventory once per year—at least—to make sure that you and your practice are operating at the very highest level.