Get to Know Dr. Jeffrey Kocurek
Why did you become a urologist?
I became interested in surgery when I worked as an orderly in the operating room at St. David’s Hospital here in Austin, in the early part of the ’80s, while I was in college. Then, when I started my third year of medical school, we started doing rotations, and I learned more about urology. I found out that urologists saw a wide variety of patients, men and women, and could see complex and simple problems. Urologists improve people’s lives by treating their issues, and many of the cancers we treat are curable or treatable. All of those things appealed to me.
What is an average day like for you?
I start my day with inpatient rounds at the hospital, and try to complete them in time to arrive at the office by 8 a.m. I see patients in the office five half-days a week, and usually operate four of the other five half-days.
I see patients most mornings, but in the afternoon on Thursday and occasionally on Wednesday. I will see consults in the hospital between surgeries and at the end of the day.
What is your favorite thing about working in urology?
Patient interaction gives me the most satisfaction. I enjoy helping patients understand their treatment or procedures, and why we are taking a particular approach. I try to communicate with my patients in a way that encourages them to participate in their care and understand what their treatment options are and the potential side effects. Once that happens, we can come up with a solution that the patient is most comfortable with. I’ve found that this type of interaction makes patients happier, and obviously, our goal is happy patients.
What is your approach to patient care?
It comes down to communication. I would never try to talk someone into a surgical intervention if the patient were opposed to it, unless the procedure was absolutely necessary to protect the organ we are discussing. For example, I take care of a lot of people who have voiding dysfunctions, and some of these problems are related to obstruction, making surgical intervention a better option. Even if it’s a better choice in the long term, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for that particular patient. I really enjoy discussing those options with patients.
You have to look at the whole patient, not just the condition. You look at the issue, and you base your approach on many factors, understanding that even if a patient has a surgical issue, surgery may not be indicated in their case.
What do you like to do outside of work?
My wife and I like to walk around Town Lake, and we try to do so as many times a week as we possibly can. I’m interested in all the UT sports — football, basketball, baseball. We go to a lot of games. I also love Red Sox baseball. When I was a kid, my father brainwashed me. When I was four, he sat me down to watch the Red Sox/Cardinals World Series, and we went on to watch the ’75 and ’86 World Series together. I’m a fan, and my kids are Red Sox fans, too. I have three children – one in law school, one in college and one who is about to graduate from high school. I take an interest in all their activities.
I’ve been a urologist for 26 years, and I have some patients that I’ve been taking care of for many years. I’ve always enjoyed my interactions with patients, and the relationships I’ve developed with many of them. It’s been a journey for both my patients and me in many cases.