Ep 135: Pitfalls in joining a practice: Advice for both sides


Dr. Vertrees shares insights and tips from experienced surgeons on navigating the transition, building relationships, managing expectations, and finding success in the new role. Key topics covered include understanding cultural differences, communicating effectively, asking for help, time management, handling complications, building a referral base, and redefining success beyond just being a surgeon. The episode emphasizes the importance of open communication, setting boundaries, and embracing personal and professional growth throughout one's surgical career.



Dr. Vertrees introduces the topic of pitfalls when joining a new practice and shares her motivation for creating a self-coaching course called 'Become the Boss MD Self-Coaching.' She highlights the importance of learning lessons not taught in residency to become a successful surgeon.

Transitioning from Residency to Practice

The host discusses the fundamental differences between residency and a job, emphasizing the shift in rules, culture, support systems, and expectations. She encourages surgeons to embrace their ability to influence their experience positively, even if the job does not initially meet their expectations.

Asking for Help and Building Relationships

The article stresses the importance of asking for help and building relationships with colleagues, nurses, and staff. It provides advice from experienced surgeons on when and how to ask for help, as well as tips for senior attendings on supporting and encouraging new graduates.

Managing Expectations and Communicating Effectively

The article discusses the concept of 'want match,' where both parties' desires align, and offers strategies for managing expectations and communicating effectively with partners. It emphasizes the importance of open communication, setting boundaries, and understanding each other's perspectives.

Time Management and Efficiency

The article provides tips on time management, including prioritizing tasks, creating templates, and setting aside 'CEO time' for working on the business. It also stresses the importance of completing notes promptly to avoid burnout and maintain a good reputation.

Building a Referral Base and Marketing

The article offers advice on building a referral base, such as meeting with primary care physicians and gastroenterologists, sending letters about patient care, and understanding the referral patterns in the practice. It also suggests marketing strategies for new graduates.

Handling Complications and Building Trust

The article discusses the importance of being present and communicating openly with patients and families when complications arise. It provides strategies for building trust and maintaining a good reputation, such as following Brené Brown's steps for shame resilience.

Redefining Success and Personal Growth

The article encourages surgeons to redefine success beyond just being a surgeon and to embrace personal and professional growth throughout their careers. It emphasizes the importance of finding satisfaction in efforts, relationships, and the ability to help others, rather than solely focusing on work identity.

Closing Thoughts and Resources

The host concludes by emphasizing the value of coaching and self-coaching for surgeons, and mentions her book 'Become the Boss MD, Success Beyond Residency' and the upcoming 'Become the Boss MD Self-Coaching' course.

Action Items

  1. Head to bosssurgery.com to join the wait list for the Become the Boss MD Self-Coaching course, where there will be plenty of bonuses.
  2. Get the book 'Become the Boss MD, Success Beyond Residency' at bosssurgery.com or anywhere books are sold, like amazon.com.
  3. As a new graduate, ask for help as soon as you think it's the case, and don't hesitate to call your partners when you need assistance.
  4. As a senior partner, pop into the operating room to check on new graduates and offer help without waiting for them to call.
  5. Introduce new graduates to the staff and build them up, fostering a supportive environment.
  6. Create a list of equipment and preferences for cases, and communicate openly with partners about any changes or additions.
  7. Build relationships with primary care physicians, gastroenterologists, and other potential referral sources in the area.
  8. Send letters to referring providers about their patients' care and treatment plans to maintain communication and build trust.
  9. Set aside dedicated 'CEO time' to work on the business, improve efficiency, and plan for personal and professional growth.
  10. Complete notes promptly and efficiently to avoid burnout and maintain a good reputation within the practice.
  11. When complications arise, follow Brené Brown's steps for shame resilience: reach out to a trusted source, talk kindly to yourself, and own your story to maintain trust with patients and families.
  12. Redefine success beyond just being a surgeon, and embrace personal and professional growth throughout your career.