David ZimmermanDavid Zimmerman is ESCP's representative on the European Union of Medical Specialists, and colorectal surgeon at Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital, Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Name: David Zimmerman

Current position and hospital: Colorectal surgeon, ETZ (Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital) Tilburg, The Netherlands

ESCP Executive role: UEMS (Union Européenne des Médicins Spécialistes) representative

Main clinical and research interests: Minimally invasive surgery, transanal surgery, ostomy care, proctology, perianal fistula, in particular

Twitter handle: @ZimNL

What made you want to specialise in colorectal surgery?

When I was a young boy, my father (@AriaenZimmerman) told me that if I wanted to be a surgeon, I had to start at the bottom. I misunderstood.

What is the best part of the job?

The mix of 'soft' and 'hard' skills. High-tech, yet very hands-on. The intense trust and (emotional) contact with our patients are unique for our type of surgery.

How long have you been involved in ESCP and what made you want to become involved?

After being awarded a pre-conference fellowship for the Sorento meeting, I was hooked. I saw the immense educational possibilities of the pan-European and even global network that ESCP offered. Soon after that I was awarded the Japanese Traveling Fellowship which boosted my knowledge and skills and helped me tremendously in setting up our minimally invasive service in Tilburg. I was very honoured to be involved in the education committee in 2013 and am very impressed with the developments since. ESCP is rapidly becoming one of the foremost educational resources for coloproctology in the world.

What do you value most about being involved in ESCP?

The unlimited access to opportunities, resources and contacts within my profession. Through ESCP, everyone in my field of interest is only a phone call away. Just as the EU has done for Europe, ESCP has done away with borders in our profession.

Tell us your best ESCP conference anecdote?

The healthy volunteers for the endosonography course in Sorrento immediately come to mind. Unfortunately, this forum is unsuitable for the detailed story, ask me about it in person and I will tell in detail!

What would your one bit of advice for younger surgeons starting their career in colorectal surgery be?

Start applying for fellowships early in your career! The experience of 'looking in someone else's kitchen' is extremely formative. It can be an example of how to organise your own practice or be an example of how not to. Any which way you will grow and learn and make friends. Europe is a lot smaller than we think! Also, work towards the EBSQ examination. Start building your logbook early, so that you can adjust your training where necessary to be eligible as early as possible. Finally; use social media. You will be the first to be informed on great opportunities as well as research and current opinion.

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