Dr. Joe Iocono is the featured physician in this week’s Making the Rounds. He is the chief of the division of pediatric surgery and vice chair of education of general surgery.

Pediatric surgeon Joe Iocono always wanted to be a doctor. Here’s why.

Making the RoundsDr. Joe Iocono is the featured physician in this week’s Making the Rounds. He is the chief of the division of pediatric surgery and vice chair of education of general surgery. Working primarily at Kentucky Children’s Hospital, Dr. Iocono takes care of people’s most precious possessions – their children.

What made you want to become a physician?

I wanted to be a doctor from the time I was a little kid, and part of that was I found out real early in life that I had a surgery when I was a baby. I was a real inquisitive kind of guy, and so I would ask my pediatrician about what this scar was on my head. He taught me, each year it seemed, a little bit more about the profession, and so I just wanted to be a doctor. It was never a second thought. I was going to be a doctor from the time I was in first grade.

Is there an aspect about being a physician that is particularly rewarding?

I love teaching the fact that medicine is a true profession. It’s not a job – it’s a true privilege to do what we do. You are truly there for patients, and the satisfaction you get doesn’t come from a paycheck, it doesn’t come from accolades – other than accolades from a mom or a kid that gives you a high five in the clinic.

What place would you most like to visit?

There is a trip to Alaska where you fly in, you dogsled and then you cruise home. I keep saying that one day in my life I’m going to do that.

The most satisfying trip I just did? I went to Kenya for 11 days and operated there for the first time this April. I needed that. That was a battery charger.

How would your friends and family describe you?

Intense, directed – always goal-directed – and that I need to relax more.

Do you have any guilty pleasure musical interests?

Oh yeah: ‘80s hair bands. And if you’re a student in my operating room, you’re going to get quizzed more about ‘80s hair bands than you will about surgical anatomy. ­


Check out this video with Dr. Iocono, where he discusses the rewards of working at UK HealthCare.


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