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.

DIY Marketing! - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon who wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 44

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

Jeff welcomes to the SurgeonMasters mini-podcast plastic surgeon and hand specialist, Dr. Shruti Tannan. The topic of discussion in this episode is DIY Marketing!

At one time Dr. Tannan was in academic practice, before transitioning into private practice. During the transition, she faced the arduous but crucial task of building a client base. In fact, she found out while leaving that the institution owned hundreds of her reviews and she could not take them with her! At at time when patient reviews were more important than ever, she had to start from scratch. When she was finished creating a brand, website, and steady flow of patients, many of her colleagues were surprised to find she did much of the heavy lifting on her own.

They wanted to know how she did it. Many of them had or would face the same daunting uphill climb.

In her new book, Pillars of Practice: Online Marketing Tactics They Never Taught Us in Medical School, Shruti delivers essential strategies for surgeons to improve their online marketing strategy. While many surgeons would rather not think too hard about online marketing, it is becoming an increasingly important matter.

What does Shruti suggest we do to DIY our marketing?

  • Suggestion 1 - Be Consistent. Make getting patient reviews a fabric of the practice, and don’t be afraid to ask.

  • Suggestion 2 - Make Patient Reviews About Education. Your patients are the best advocates for you, your practice, and future patient experiences.  

  • Suggestion 3 - Diversify Your Portfolio. Make sure you get reviews on a breadth of sites, not just internally at your institution or practice website.

To be clear, this is only ONE important message Dr. Tannan delivers in Pillars of Practice. Shruti wrote this book to help other surgeons market themselves and their practices. Through conversations with friends and colleagues she understood there was a gap around marketing ourselves and our contributions in patient care. She wrote this book to empower surgeons by putting the power of marketing in our own hands.

Most importantly, start thinking about your online presence as a patient resource and not a surgeon-burden!


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Shruti Tannan, MD

Dr. Shruti Tannan is Board Certified in Plastic Surgery with additional Subspecialty Certification in Hand Surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Tannan has a unique perspective on the business of medicine with experience both in the academic and private sectors. She began her career as faculty at a major academic medical center, followed by the successful launch of her private practice, Tannan Plastic Surgery, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Years of advising colleagues in medicine, dentistry, and allied health sciences inspired Dr. Tannan to share her evidence-based approach in her new book, Pillars of Practice, which is available on Amazon, iTunes, and other major bookstores. Learn more about Dr. Tannan and her practice at

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About the Book

Becoming a pro at online marketing is hard — in some ways, even harder than medical school. Trust us, we would know! Physicians, dentists, therapists and other health professionals who start their own practices rarely learn the fundamentals of marketing their business in an increasingly online world. Whether you’ve recently left an employed position to go out on your own, or you’ve been in business for years but need a fresh perspective, this book can help you take your online game to the next level.

Make A Deal! - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon who wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 43

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 Daniel Schlatterer, DO, to the SurgeonMasters Mini-Podcast.

Dan is an orthopaedic trauma surgeon and vice chair of the residency program at Atlanta Medical Center.

About four years ago, Dan suffered a stroke that left him on a long road to recovery. Naturally his family and friends wanted to do whatever they could to help. While their intentions were good, their actions were not always what he wanted or as helpful as intended. These challenges led Dan to develop a system - Let’s Make a Deal!

Can you think of any recurring circumstances where a moderately complex conversation requires some back and forth to create mutual understanding? What if you completed that conversation ahead of time, then just needed to have a quick conversation to confirm that the deal applied to each circumstance?

Maybe when a helping hand was, or would have been, helpful? Without a conversation beforehand, and no system in place to manage expectations, asking our colleagues, friends, or family for help can feel like a burden to both parties.

How can we start to make a deal?

  • Step 1 - Recognize common situations or circumstances where support is needed.

  • Step 2 - Identify individuals - colleagues, family members, or friends - who can serve as a support system during these times.  

  • Step 3 - Make a Deal! Have a preemptive conversation to set up a system moving forward.

By having a conversation in advance, we can avoid awkward situations or conflict stemming from miscommunication.

If we know we have a support system in place, we can focus that much more on the task at hand, and that much less on managing the situation.

Most importantly, start having conversations and the mutual understanding of - let’s make a deal!



Daniel R. Schlatterer, DO

Dr. Daniel Schlatterer received a Doctorate of Osteopathy (DO) from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1999. He completed a surgical internship at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY in 2000, an orthopaedic residency at Buffalo University, Buffalo, NY from 2000- 2004, and an orthopaedic trauma fellowship at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 2005. Dan is currently the Vice Chairman of the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program at Atlanta Medical Center. His interest in regenerative medicine and exosomes began during his recovery from a stroke in 2015. He provides editorial review for numerous journals, and writes extensively while also pursuing product development.

What Is Wellness Mean to You? SurgeonMasters Wants to Know.

This is Surgeon Wellness

The Buddy System - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon that wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 20

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

This week, we are welcoming to the mini-Podcast Dr. Lisa Merlo,  a licensed clinical psychologist at the University of Florida. Dr. Merlo talks to us about physician impairment and ways that we can help physician wellness. Physicians are not immune from developing the impaired conditions as they often experience sleep deprivation, personal loss and many other issues which can result in: alcohol-drug use, burnout, depression and/or cognitive decline. Hospital policies, often dissuade physicians from seeking help. As a result, there are many physicians who could be restored to health and perform better, but are not and this ends up impacting their practice and patient care.

Dr. Merlo gave us a strategy to address potential impairment: through a buddy system. The Buddy System allows for confidentiality and allows us to be be proactive in addressing potential impairment to prevent it from getting worse. 


How does she suggest to setup a Buddy System? By doing the following:

  1. Identifying a colleague with whom you have frequent interaction

  2. Giving them explicit permission to ask about your well-being, intervene and step up

  3. Allowing the buddy to check-in with you and express concern

  4. Letting the relationship be mutually beneficial

Most importantly, start thinking about who a good buddy would be, and setup a time to talk to them this week! 

If you’re not familiar with Dr. Merlo, she is a licensed clinical psychologist. She has completed postdoctoral fellowships in clinical child/pediatric psychology and drug abuse epidemiology and prevention. She currently serves as Assistant Residency Program Director for Psychotherapy and is active in the education of medical students, residents, and other health profession students. Dr. Merlo also serves as the Director of Research for the Professionals Resource Network, Inc. (the State monitoring program for distressed and impaired healthcare professionals). As a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT), Dr. Merlo collaborates with faculty from other colleges and universities, as well as the Area Health Education Centers across Florida, to provide training in motivational interviewing for health professions students, faculty members, tobacco cessation counselors, school personnel, and other healthcare providers.

The Buddy System is a perfect example of how surgeons can improve their effectiveness inside and outside of the OR.

Collaboration - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon that wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 9

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

This week on the Mini-Podcast we are welcoming a new guest, Katie Klein, where she discusses the use of improvisation to improve collaboration by using other people's ideas to create something together. She describes it as "Yes, and-ing" other people's ideas to create something all together. 'Yes, and...' means "Yes I heard you, I'm listening, and here's how I'm going to build on it..."

How do you use improv in your everyday life? By doing the following:

  • Start by listening as listening is the willingness to change and to adapt, it allows you to take the info into a new direction

  • See if you have moments in your everyday process where you can say: "Yes, and..."

  • Then try using 'Yes, and... " and see how it opens up the possibilities and changes the outcome

Most importantly, think about a situation today where you can replace the word 'but' with the word 'and'...

If you’re not familiar with Katie Klein, you can currently catch her on stage in Chicago on Second City's 41st e.t.c. revue, "Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno." She is an actress, improviser and teacher. She teaches with Second City Works, Improv Olympics (iO) and performs weekly with improv teams in Chicago, The Late 90’s, Virgin Daiquiri, Superhuman and with her husband Neil in, Ed and Kath. She previously wrote, performed and loved the Second City e.t.c. revue “A Red Line Runs Through It.”

Using improv and 'yes, and...' as a collaboration tool is a perfect example of how surgeons can improve their effectiveness inside and outside of the OR.