Freelance MD, a community of physicians that gives you more control of your career, income, and lifestyle. Join us. It's free, which is a terrific price. Grab Some Free Deals
Search Freelance MD

Freelance MD RSS    Freelance MD Twitter     Freelance MD Facebook       Freelance MD Group on LinkedIn      Email


2nd MD Special Offer

ExpedMed CME

Medvoy Society of Physician Entrepreneurs

20 Newest Comments
Newest Nonclinical Physician Jobs
This area does not yet contain any content.


Confessions of a Surgeon

Paul Ruggieri MD, FACS - Confessions of a Surgeon

By Paul Ruggieri MD, FACS

Confessions of a Surgeon

It has been a little over a month since my book, "Confessions of a Surgeon:  The Good, the Bad, and the Complicated...Life Behind the OR Doors" was published and I have finally had time to think about the unique places it has taken me.   I cannot describe to you what it feels like to be at the end of a very long journey.  I started writing in my head ten years ago and knew someday the words would make it to paper.

I wanted to let the public into my operating room world with a very honest depiction of what I do and how I feel about what I do.  The book is a very blunt depiction of life, death, imperfection, emotional stresses, legal pressures, and human frailties.

I believe , because of our unique day (and night) jobs, everyone one of us physicians has an extraordinary story to tell, a story the public has a right to hear.  Everyone of us has a book buried deep inside our gut (being the general surgeon that I am) that just may need a little coaxing to bring out.

I was not a seasoned writer and had no understanding what it involved to write,publish, or promote a book.  All I knew was I had a story to tell and Julie Silver's Harvard Writing course was something I had to experience.  I had to experience it so much that I attended her course twice before writing my book, once in 2005 and again in 2010.  The first time got me warmed up to write (the timing was just not right).  However, the second time I attended the course, the stars were aligned and it ignited the fire in me.  Her course taught me very usable lessons on how to organize my story, discipline my writing, and instill confidence in my ability to complete what I had set out to accomplish.   Dr. Silver's course was also instrumental in giving me access to top New York City agents and professional writers.  The funny thing was I almost did not attend her course in 2010.  It was a last minute decision and probably the best one (outside of asking my wife to marry me) I have made in a very long time.

Writing my book was not easy and there were many a time when I just stared at my labtop, hoping the keyboards would just move by themselves.  To me, writing anything never came easy.  Remember, I am a general surgeon and if I cannot drain it, remove it, or rearrange it within a few hours I move on to the next one.  Most of us do not have the patience to write almost every night and weekends, one page at a time.  So, when I received my first galley copy in the mail from Penguin Publishing, I got drunk.  No, I am only kidding.  However, I did open up a bottle of single malt I had been saving and toasted everything in sight.  When I finally received my free 50 copies of the finished product,  then I finished the bottle off and got drunk.

The best advice I can give anyone who has a dream is to just go do it.  Do it with honesty and sincerity.  Do it because people need to know what unique lives we lead.  People will never know what is in our heart unless we show, not tell them.

About: Paul Ruggieri MD,FACS is a general surgeon in private practice, writer, stepfather, and a lover of single malt scotch. He writes at

Submit a guest post and be heard


ZDoggMD Live Standup: Doctor Comedy

Get your ER comedy fix.

Standup medical comedy from the Mel Herbert’s Essentials of Emergency Medicine 2011. Lame and offensive…well, you really haven’t seen nothin’ yet.

Part 1

Part 2


Successful Physician Authors

How to go from taking a 3-day course to becoming a successful author.

As I prepare for the Harvard CME publishing course this year, I am reviewing "success stories" to present to the attendees. What the attendees will want to know is "how to go from taking a 3-day course to becoming a successful author". 

If you are wondering the same thing, consider this piece of advice that makes writing incredibly powerful: Show, Don't Tell.  What this means is that while it's helpful to have an explanation, sometimes the thing that helps the most is giving a specific example. 

In this post, I want to "Show" interested readers some of the success stories.  The best way to do this is to take you to the websites of the successful past course attendees.  There have been so many, that it's hard to choose which ones to highlight.  Nevertheless, here are a few examples of past course attendees who have gone on to do amazing things with their writing:

Of course, not everyone who comes to the Harvard publishing course is a medical doctor.  There are many others in healthcare who attend and go on to become successful authors.  Here are a couple of examples:

As you look at these websites, you'll be able to decipher a lot of information about who these writers are and what they've been able to accomplish.  The websites don't tell everything, but they offer terrific examples of how to become a successful physician author!


Are You Stuck? Here Are FIve Ways To Help You Get Unstuck!

Instead of writing a blog post about getting stuck, I thought I would do something in the spirit of Freelance MD and create a video slideshow.

In this video I go over some common reasons you may be getting stuck and ways for you to think about getting unstuck! My intention here is to show you that you can always think outside of the box--even with the very blogs you write!

We all get stuck in our lives and it can be difficult to get unstuck at times. I hope you enjoy and leave lots of comments--my contact info at the end of the video was merely me having fun and playing with video effects.

When was the last time you felt stuck? What did you do?


Doctors Living On Loans

CNN Money has a story about the increasing number of doctors living on SBA loans.

Read the entire story here

Dr. Bryan Glick, a family physician, took out a $198,000 SBA loan to start his own practice in Anthem, Ariz., shortly after graduating from his residency in 2009.

Doctors: Why we can't stay afloat

That loan sustained his practice for more than a year, but he still was not making money.

So he took over a concierge practice 30 miles away in Scottsdale. His concierge medical practice doesn't accept any insurance and charges an annual membership fee ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 for unlimited doctor visits and cell phone and e-mail access.

He continues to operate his traditional private practice. The concierge practice has helped Glick work off his SBA loan. He's now contemplating a second SBA loan to expand that practice.

Jasser has thought about the concierge model, too. But he acknowledged that it's not an option right now.

"Half of my patients are on Medicare," he said. "For economic and ethical reasons, I can't do it."

What's the cause? Certainly there are market forces at work, but there are also just basic business and economic changes that many physicians are having a great deal of trouble coping with; How to pay staff and make them more productive, how to structure their business, how to get paid, and how to attract the number of paients that they need.

There are titanic changes that have started and the speed with which they'll take effect will only increase. With change comes opportunity. Therer are plenty of docs who are doing just fine and makeing more money than every.

Physicians who cling to the old world will be destined to go down with the ship.


The Pharma Rep Physician Hunting Guide

Ah the famous charts and smiles crowd. Hat tip to ZDoggMD.


How Doctors Becomes Successful Writers

Suzanne Koven, MD, is an internist who came to the publishing course that I direct at Harvard Medical School ( a few years ago.  At that time her goals were to hone her writing skills and to learn more about publishing opportunities. 

A year later, I invited her back to speak to the attendees--one of the few "Success Stories" we have featured at the course who has not actually published a book (though that's about to change with her first book coming out soon). 

What I remember most about Suzanne's talk was her football analogy about "moving the chain."  As I watched the New England Patriots win the AFC playoff game today I was reminded of Suzanne's comments when my daughter asked me to explain how downs work.  Getting something published--anything at all--is a lot like a first down.  Touchdowns aren't elusive, but they are harder to achieve.  Super Bowl victories are even more difficult.  But, it all starts with moving the chain and getting close to that first down and then actually achieving the first down. 

Perhaps I was thinking about Suzanne today, because she is now a professional physician-writer who regularly contributes to The Boston Globe.  Her article in today's paper--the same day that the Patriots will advance to the Super Bowl--is titled "Doctors Who Write"

Suzanne has continuously moved the chain, scored too many first downs to count, won many important games and is now on her way to the Super Bowl!  Suzanne, go for it--we'll be watching you!!

Join Freelance MD

Freelance MD is an active community of doctors.

All rights reserved.