Clear Is Kind! - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon who wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 46

Pump the brakes on your week and take 10 minutes to make your life as a surgeon just a little better…

In this episode of the mini-podcast, Jeff welcomes Dr. Jennifer Weiss

Jennifer (Jen) is a pediatric sports surgeon at Kaiser Permanente, and Chair of the Communications Cabinet of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).  

Jen brings a powerful message to the podcast - Clear Is Kind! Jen discovered this concept through researcher and best selling author, Brene Brown, PhD, and Dr. Kristy Weber, 2019 President of the AAOS and Chief of Orthopaedic Oncology at Penn Medicine. During a board meeting, Kristy Weber encouraged the idea espoused by Dr. Brown of being unapologetically clear. Jen feels that when we avoid tough conversations, falsely thinking that politeness is nice, we are doing a disservice to ourselves and others. We are being unkind. The kindest thing we can do for one another is to be clear

While the AAOS is being led by its first female president, that specialty and many others in medicine are still tackling some very tough issues related to gender, diversity, and much more. There are many difficult conversations to be had with our organizations, teams, colleagues, and even our patients. As Dr. Jeff Smith highlights in the 8 PRACTICEs of Highly Successful Surgeons, high functioning communication requires mutual understanding. We don’t have to agree. We need to mutually understand each other.

When you follow the principle that Clear is Kind, it can give you the courage to share your perspective. 

In your next difficult conversation, what if you didn’t hide your expectations, didn’t give polite half-truths, didn’t avoid and talk behind someone’s back. Instead, what if you ...

  • Step 1 - Choose to place your discomfort aside.

  • Step 2 - Choose to share your perspective clearly.  

  • Step 3 - Choose to listen equally to other people’s perspectives.

Most importantly, repeat the process to move towards mutual understanding as to be clear is kind! Incremental steps can lead to meaningful changes in our physical, mental, and emotional well-being!


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Jennifer Weiss, MD

Dr. Weiss is an Orthopaedic Surgeon specializing in Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. Dr. Weiss actively writes and speaks on the topic of women in medicine. She has served on the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Board of Directors, and is currently the Communications Cabinet Chair. She teaches communication skills to physicians, surgeons, and other health care clinicians both within her large integrated health care system in Southern California and within the Orthopaedic surgery societies. Her research is widely published, and she is an active leader and speaker within the medical community nationally and internationally.