Believe it or not, by the time I got into my early teens, I was pretty sure that I was going to go to medical school. But when I turned 16, I had the opportunity to go to work in a small market radio station in East Central Alabama. I liked the work and it was a lot of fun for a lot of reasons. And briefly, I thought, "Well, maybe this might be something that I could do.”
I even had an interest in sports broadcasting, but I had the presence of mind to look around at other people in the business. And most of them, the great, great, great majority of them, were having a hard time making ends meet. So, I thought, "Well, this was a nice youthful endeavor, but now it’s time for me to get busy and get trained to do something that'll make a living for me.”
I grew up in the small town south in an area similar to where I live now, and later moved to the big city of Birmingham to get my undergraduate education and also medical school. I got my MD at what is now the University of Alabama at Birmingham. And I knew early on that I wanted to go into surgery. I decided to do my residency at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta for no other reason than I thought it would be a cool place to be. It's kind of a smallish town as well, and I thought, "Gee, it might be nice to be able to go and see the Masters golf tournament.”
Unlike a lot of really successful people, I have never been a long-term planner. When I entered my fifth year of residency, I really didn't have a plan about what I was going to do.
Fortunately for me, one of the former surgery faculty members at the Medical College of Georgia had left about the time I started my chief residency. Within about six or eight weeks of his departure, he called me and said, "I'm in Clearwater, Florida. I'm in a place where I've got more work than I can do, big multi-specialty group. The partners want me to bring on another surgeon right away and I can hold it down until you can get here if you can give me your commitment right now". So that was it. That was how I lined up my first clinical practice.
I guess I kind of did things in reverse order. I started life in a gigantic multi-specialty group, but ultimately, I decided to move back home to Alabama. I joined a small surgical group, which dissolved after about five years. And then I found myself as a solo practitioner, during the last years of my surgical life. Then, after many years in surgical practice, I was asked by a hospital CEO to consider opening a wound care and hyperbaric medicine center for our hospital.
The timing was right. I needed to get off of emergency room call and was approaching an age when I knew my surgical skills would soon start to falter. So, I got really serious about it and embarked on a very intensive reeducation process. I got board certified in hyperbaric medicine. I got involved in management and got involved in wound care education. I even became involved with an organization to create an examination for certification of wound care physicians.
And that was what I did for the last years of my practice.
As I mentioned before, I'm not much of a planner. After just over a decade in the world of chronic wound care and hyperbaric medicine, I found myself spending more time fighting bureaucrats and administrators than fighting disease.
I was 67 years old, and I hadn't really intended to retire quite so early. I just got mad and quit. I didn't have any plan other than to do what retired people do. But that wasn’t in the cards for me.
I had met Rhonda Crowe, founder, and CEO of MD Coaches, several years before. My wound center was under management of a big company. I was on their teaching faculty for many years instructing healthcare professionals that were coming to learn how to be wound care specialists. So, Rhonda and I knew each other through that professional connection. I guess about seven or eight months before I made the decision that I was going to pull the plug on my practice, Rhonda called me out of the blue and said, "I'm starting this coaching company and I want to publicize it with a podcast. And I know you have a history in radio. Would you consider doing that?"
My response was, "Rhonda, do you know that my radio experience was concurrent with the invention of the vacuum tube?" She said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that, but this is what I want to do.” Rhonda was looking for physicians who would make qualified coaches. And she thought that if for no other reason, my 44 years of experience might qualify me for that.
Today I’m humbled to be the host of the Rx for Success Podcast and a physician coach with MD Coaches. To my surprise, we recently won the 2022 Columbus Podcast Awards, “Best Arts Podcast.” With four seasons and over 100 episodes, I have been able to share countless meaningful and inspirational stories along the way.
What a wild and fulfilling ride it has been so far! In my spare time you can find me spending quality time with my lovely wife and taking captivating photos of nature.
Are you ready to discuss your career path forward? We can help you find balance, avoid physician burnout, develop leadership skills, and develop a custom path to help you make medicine everything you hoped it could be. Contact us today:
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