The Growth Leader: Bryant Murphy, MD, MBA, FACA

Bryant Murphy, MD, MBA, FASA, is a Professor of Anesthesiology and the Associate Dean for Leadership Development in the UNC School of Medicine’s Office of Faculty Affairs and Leadership Development. In this role he leads efforts to ensure comprehensive and coordinated leadership development and well-being opportunities for faculty, staff, and learners across the UNC School of Medicine.   He is also the Director of the UNC School of Medicine Coaching Academy.

The CE experience for this Podcast is powered by CMEfy – click here to reflect and earn credits:

Today’s Episode is brought to you by Doc2Doc Lending. Doc2Doc provides Match Day loans of up to $25,000 to fourth-year medical students and current residents. These loans are designed to help students cover personal expenses, such as moving costs, housing down payments, and living expenses before and during residency. With fixed interest rates, flexible repayment terms, and no prepayment penalties, Doc2Doc Match Day loans provide financial flexibility and allow students to focus on their exciting journey towards becoming a physician.

Doc2Doc was founded for doctors, by doctors. They understand the challenges and hard work involved in becoming a doctor, and they support doctors throughout their careers. Using their in-house lending platform, Doc2Doc considers the unique financial considerations of doctors that are not typically considered by traditional financial institutions. So, Don’t let financial stress hold you back from achieving your goals – Doc2Doc lending has you covered. Visit to Learn more.

MD Coaches, LLC provides leadership and executive coaching for physicians by physicians to overcome burnout, transition throughout your career, develop as a leader or meet your individual goals. Remember, you are not in this alone. Reach out to us today!

PHYSICIANS BY PHYSICIANS. It showcases unique physician talents, whether it be in the form of writing, painting, creating cookie masterpieces, or storming capital hill in the name of healthcare advocacy. Use promo code RxforSuccess to get three months free when selecting the monthly option.

Dr. Bryant Murphy

Bryant obtained his undergraduate degree in Psychology with a Neuroscience Concentration from Duke University.  He completed Medical School, Anesthesiology Residency, and Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellowship at Wake Forest University.  He also obtained a Masters of Business Administration degree from George Washington University in 2012.

Prior to returning to academic practice at UNC, he was a partner in a private practice Anesthesiology Group in southeastern North Carolina, and served on the Board of Trustees for the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

Bryant has served in various state and national leadership and advocacy roles including President of the North Carolina Society of Anesthesiologists and the North Carolina Medical Board.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Medical Society.

Dr. Murphy’s Prescription for Success:

Number 1: Learn one new thing a day.

Number 2: Always treat other people the way you want to be treated.

Number 3: Never miss a soccer game. Take time for family and friends.

Connect with Dr. Murphy:

Website: UNC School of Medicine Department of Anesthesiology

Coaching Academy at the Office of Faculty Affairs & Leadership Development

Notable quotes from Dr. Murphy’s interview:

You meet people in the holding room before their lung transplant… And that’s a stressful time. But to be able to take them through that and see them on the other side of that – that’s what’s amazing for me.

I’ve literally got about 10 or 15 minutes to convince that person to put their life in my hands. I would argue that it takes a really good set of people skills to be able to connect with someone and earn that trust and rapport in 15 minutes, not 15 years.

As a leader, I think it really helps to be down there in the trenches pulling with your team.

Great leaders aren’t born they’re made.

Note: Links on this page may be linked to affiliate programs. These links help to ensure we can continue to deliver this content to you. If you are interested in purchasing any products listed on this page, your support helps us out greatly. Thank you.

Access the Show Transcript Here


[0:00] You know, when I walk in that room before someone goes in for whatever type of procedure, I’ve literally got about 10 or 15 minutes to convince that person to put their life into my hands because literally that’s what they’re doing. And so I would argue that it takes a really good set of people skills to be able to connect with someone and earn that trust and rapport in 15 minutes, not 15 years.
Welcome to the Prescription for Success podcast with your host, Dr. Randy Cook.

[0:35] Music.

[0:54] Hello everyone and welcome to Prescription for Success. I’m Dr. Randy Cook, your host for the podcast, which is a production of MD Coaches, providing leadership and executive coaching for physicians by physicians.
To overcome burnout, transition your career, develop as a leader or whatever your goal might be, visit MD Coaches on the web at because you’re not in this alone.
And don’t forget that CME credit is available when you listen with us.
Just look for CMFI in the show notes to learn how.
Well, my guest today is a professor of anesthesiology and the Associate Dean for Leadership Development, at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.
He’s also the director of the UNC School of Medicine Coaching Academy.
Those last two items are relatively new in medical education.
So let’s hear Dr. Brian Murphy tell us about what he does and how he got there.

[1:59] And what a pleasure it is today to be talking with Dr. Bryant Murphy, who is a trained anesthesiologist among many other things, and coming to us from Durham, North Carolina, near the University of North Carolina.
Bryant, it is such a pleasure to have you here, and I want to thank you for joining us on Prescription for Success.
Good afternoon. So glad to be here and thank you for having me.
Well, I’m really looking forward to it. And as we always do, Bryant, I like to take a look at your beginnings.
Are you a North Carolina native or did you come from someplace else? How’d you get where you are?
So I am a North Carolina native. I always tell people that I was born in New York, actually born in Queens, New York.
Were you really? I was, but have not stayed there long enough to really be a native New Yorker.
So my parents are from North Carolina, a little town down near the eastern part of North Carolina.
And so moved back here from New York when I was about three.
So have been here in North Carolina since I was three.
I see. So you truly are a real native. Truly, yes.
As far as influences that moved you into the direction of medicine, are there any medical types in your family or other heroes around that you look to for that?

[3:27] Actually, yes. We have a very big family. My mom and dad had lots of siblings, and so I always had lots of aunts and uncles who really stressed education.
And so there were a lot of teachers, counselors, school principals, who always pushed my sister and I towards that direction. And notably, I have a cousin who is a physician. She’s a dermatologist, and I can just remember kind of following in her footsteps and wanting to be a doctor because she was. But nobody in the immediate family? No, nobody in the immediate family. I was a first generation college student. When did the interest in medical school start to arise? Was it in your head when you started your undergraduate schooling?

[4:14] It was actually before that. I was kind of always that kid who was curious and wanted to build things, explore things, know how things worked.
And so the human body along with that, so medicine seemed like a pretty logical career, but was always interested in science.
And so once I talked to my cousin and learned some more things, it seemed like as I narrowed things down in high school that medicine was going to be my career choice.
So you started working on your BS at Duke around, looks like around 1989-ish. Yes sir.
Working on a degree in psychology and neuroscience, which actually turned out to be, well I’m not sure about my notes, was it a BS or a BA?
It was a BS. A BS in psychology.

[5:01] So how did you square that with an eventual career in medicine?
What was your thought behind picking that major?
So my plan, by that time I knew I wanted to go to medical school and so being kind of a rule following, you know, straight arrow guy, I said, well, I’ve got to do something kind of medicine related.
And I thought I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. So very interested in the brain and I did some research in a neuroscience lab.
And so the psychology and neuroscience were kind of setting me up for a career in neurosurgery, Which obviously didn’t happen, but that’s another part of the story.
Yeah, and I’m going to want to get into that a little bit later.
And so right away after getting your undergraduate degree, you were ready for medical school and went on to Bowman Gray, again right there in North Carolina.

[5:53] Was that sort of your first choice? Was it the only one on the list, He was a doctor. He was a doctor.
Or did you consider others? How’d that work out?
He was a doctor. He was a doctor. He was a doctor. He was a doctor.
That was pretty much my first choice. I knew I wanted to stay in North Carolina.
He was a doctor. He was a doctor.
And throughout, not only undergrad, but even back to high school, I had been involved in a lot of the programming and the summer camps and things at Wake Forest.
So by the time I got ready to pick a school, Wake Forest seemed pretty logical.
And my cousin that I mentioned earlier also went to Wake Forest.
So in following along her footsteps, that was the place I wanted to go.
And when you got to medical school, did you feel like you were in the right place, or were there some bumps along the way?

[6:34] There’s always a few bumps along the way, but I did feel like that was the place where I was supposed to go. It was a great medical school, still is a great medical school and extremely supportive environment. So it was the right place for me.
And when it came time to pick the postgraduate training, you had somehow turned away from neurosurgery and it became anesthesia.
Now, was that something that you decided at that point Or was it later on in your postgraduate training?
So it was actually pretty early on. I went in thinking I was going to be a neurosurgeon.
That was kind of my path.
And ended up doing some research, just some summer research in a lab with an anesthesiologist.
It just kind of happened that that was available.
And he actually eventually ended up becoming my mentor and helped me to really explore some different career trajectories and different specialties.
But I kept coming back to anesthesia because of the work we were doing in his lab and his mentoring. And so once I found out more about anesthesia, it seemed like the choice for me.

[7:46] And you didn’t just stop there. You decided that you wanted to be a very special kind of anesthesiologist. Do you want to tell us about that and how you came to that decision?
So I’m actually a cardiac and thoracic anesthesiologist, which means that we take care of some of the more complicated cardiac procedures and transplants.
And I really enjoyed the physiology and pharmacology part of it.
That is fascinating. That’s really what it is.
And getting to take care of some of the sicker patients at a very critical time in their life, to me was extremely professionally rewarding.
Yeah. And personally satisfying. I bet it was. You’ll meet people in the holding room before they go in for their lung transplant.
And that’s a stressful time, but to be able to take them through that and then see them on the other side of it was just amazing for me. And that was really what helped to make my choice.
I bet that was very rewarding. I can’t even imagine what it might be like to be a patient about to face a lung transplant or a heart transplant.
And the anesthesia people are the last.

[9:03] People that you’re gonna have a conversation with before this happens. This might be the last conversation you ever have in your life. So, That’s fairly good one, right and sometimes anesthesia gets the the bad rap of Not having a lot of patient contact and you don’t have to be really good with patients and I’ll say it’s actually the opposite You know when I walk in that room before someone goes in for whatever type of procedure I’ve literally got about 10 or 15 minutes to convince that person to put their life into my hands, right?
Because literally that’s what they’re doing and so I Would argue that it takes a really good set of people skills to be able to connect with someone and earn that trust and rapport In 15 minutes not 15 years. I would say that it takes a special sort of person to be aware of that and take the time to have that kind of empathy with the patient because you know it’s a busy day, right?
Yeah, absolutely. There’s a lot going on in the operating room.
It is, but every patient is, you know, I try to treat every patient as if they are the only patient I’m taking care of and I try to treat everyone the way that I would want my family to be treated and so that’s really helped shape my attitude and the way I practice.
It’s a great set of rules.
And so after your training, from your looking at your CV, it looks like you went right into private practice. Is that correct?

[10:28] I actually went to the University of Virginia for a couple of years.
I was on faculty there for two years.
I see, yeah. And then I wanted to, as I mentioned, I’m from North Carolina, so it got to be a little bit far from my family.
And so we ended up moving back to North Carolina to do private practice, just to be a little closer.
Family is important as I’ve alluded to and UVA is a very good department, extremely good anesthesia department but was just a little bit too far away.
And so what was it about private practice that just kind of didn’t ring your bell?

[11:03] Private practice was fun. It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed myself. I took care of a lot of complicated patients, but ended up getting an MBA during that time of my training. And I’ve always been really interested in the business aspects of medicine, some of the advocacy, and regulatory aspects. And so I ended up coming back to UNC to really help with a lot of the business development and the growth that they were doing in the medical center and in the department and had that skill set of not only having a business degree, but also having seen kind of both sides of it. So the academic side and the private practice side. And so hopefully.

[11:46] Those skill sets allowed me to really help our department grow.
Dr. Davidson Back at UNC and for our audience, That’s the University of North Carolina.
When you came there, did you still maintain a fairly substantial clinical presence at that time?
I did, yes. I did. I did some administrative work, but was and still am primarily a clinician.
So in addition to my administrative responsibilities, I still work in the operating rooms and teach our residents.
So you’re still doing surgery?
Absolutely, yeah. I teach our residents. Good for you. I do cases myself sometimes.
So I still enjoy that patient contact, even with everything else I do.
That makes me really happy. We’ve all met people around us and particularly in these institutions that used to be involved with patient care, and then they become administrators and somehow they never seem to quite.

[12:43] Understand what the worker bees are going through. Am I imagining that or am I right?
No, no, you’re right. You’re right. And so I think as an administrator and wearing kind of those two hats is very important.
What I tell our team is to have some street cred. And so if I go into the meetings or if I talk to my team, and they have concerns or, you know, different things they want to bring forth, I think it helps me to talk to them knowing that I’ve walked in the shoes that they’re walking in or I’ve taken care of some of those patients.
And so I think as a leader, it really helps to really be down there in the trenches pulling with your team.

[13:24] Today’s episode is brought to you by Doc-to-Doc Lending. Doc-to-Doc provides match day loans of up to $25,000 to fourth year medical students and current residents.
These loans are designed to help students cover personal expenses such as moving costs, housing down payments, and living expenses before and during residency. With fixed interest rates, flexible repayment terms, and no prepayment penalties, Doc-to-Doc Match Day loans provide financial flexibility and allow students to focus, on their exciting journey towards becoming a physician. Doc-to-Doc was founded for doctors by doctors. They understand the challenges and hard work involved in becoming a doctor and they support doctors throughout their careers. Using their in-house lending platform, Doc2Doc considers the unique financial considerations of doctors that are not typically considered by traditional financial institutions. So don’t let financial stress hold you back from from achieving your goals.
Doc-to-Doc Lending has you covered. Visit to learn more.

[14:43] Hi, I’m Rhonda Crowe, founder and CEO for MD Coaches. Here on Rx for Success, we interview a lot of great medical professionals on how they grew their careers, how they overcame challenges, and how they handle day-to-day work.
I really hope you’re getting a lot of great information, but if you’re looking for an answer to a specific problem, management or administration challenge, or if you’re feeling just a bit burnt out, like maybe you chose the wrong career? Well, then there’s a faster way to get the help you need. No, it’s not counseling. It’s coaching. Rx for Success is produced by MD Coaches, a team of physicians who have been where you are. I know you’re used to going it alone, but you don’t have to. Get the support you need today. Visit Visit us at to schedule your complimentary consultation.
Again that’s because you’re not in this alone.

[15:47] We’ll get back to our interview in just a moment, but right now I want to tell you a little bit about Physician Outlook.
If you haven’t discovered this remarkable magazine, please do so very soon.
It was created by physicians, for physicians, to showcase the intersection between clinical and non-clinical interests.
Whether it’s writing, painting, cooking, politics, and dozens of other topics, Physician Outlook gives a physician perspective.
It’s available online and in print.

[16:18] It’s really unique among physician lifestyle magazines. And like the Prescription for Success podcast, Physician Outlook amplifies the voice of any physician who has something to say. It also engages patients who still believe in physician-led team-based care. And Prescription for Success listeners can get three months free when you enter our promo code RX4Success and select the monthly option at checkout. That’s a really great deal on this stunning publication.
And now let’s get back to today’s interview. So let’s talk about some of the things that you have been involved in, you know, from the standpoint of beyond direct patient care.
One of the things that you’re involved in is as the Associate Dean for Leadership Development.
University of North Carolina.

[17:22] And I don’t recall during my training years that there was anything like that.
People became faculty members and they became department heads for reasons that were never really clear to me.
But the idea that there should be some organized system for identifying potential faculty, And I presume helping shape them into faculty leaders.

[17:51] Is exactly what you do in that role. So I’m interested in knowing how you came to that point and exactly how it works.
As I progressed in my career and started to do more work with mentoring and leading and working with students and junior faculty, that became just an aspect of my career that I personally wanted to develop more.
And so I ended up doing for myself some more leadership development and training work, and realized how much I enjoyed it, but also how important it was.
And so at UNC, part of the job that I have is to really help coordinate and set up these leadership opportunities throughout the School of Medicine.

[18:36] You may have read or heard we say that great leaders aren’t born, but they’re made.
So with the right training and set of circumstances, you know, we help everybody with their leadership skills and development.
And then one other thing that I’ve really enjoyed and have started working with more is our coaching academy.
And so through- Right, that was exactly the next thing on my list.
I’m dying to hear about this.
Yeah, so we have formed the UNC Coaching Academy, UNC School of Medicine Coaching Academy.
And it’s really twofold. One is to really help our leaders as they grow and develop to be able to receive leadership coaching.
And so we provide coaching services and matching and allow clients and coaches to really have that connection.
And then we also have a couple of coach training programs. So we’re able to train faculty and staff to become coaches.
And so our goal really is to just increase the culture coaching at UNC and as my senior associate dean says, our goal is ultimately to ensure that everyone who wants a coach can have a coach.
And so that’s really our goal and we’re getting there slowly but surely.
What a great idea. Do most of the people that are involving themselves in that program.

[19:57] Are they coming to you or some representative of the coaching program to say, hey, I’d like to get in on this? Or do you recruit people or does it work both ways? How does that come?
So it’s a little bit of both. As we were getting ramped up, there was a lot of work on the front and just tell people what coaching is about.
You know, what does it do? What are some of the benefits? What are the costs?
I think that once people heard more and more about it, it started to grow.
Now, the challenge that we’ve had in healthcare is that, as you know, coaching has been around in other industries for a while.
But I think healthcare is still picking it up slowly. And so part of it is really just identifying, you know, the goals and objectives and the desired outcomes and those things.
But when you really break it down to each individual faculty member, it’s really, or staff member, it’s really about changing the conversation, kind of one person at a time.

[20:57] And so, in addition to teaching people to become coaches and how to go through that process, we do a lot of work with just teaching basic coaching skills and a basic coaching mindset, But you can apply to any conversation.
And so, like I said, it’s really about one conversation at a time.
And it doesn’t take a coaching certification to listen effectively and just pay attention to people.
I don’t want to put you too much on the spot here, but I am kind of interested.
Have you got any favorite sort of success stories.

[21:32] Of people who have been through this coach training process that either became great coaches in your eyes or people that came to you and said, gosh, I’m so glad that I did this because it’s made me a better person.
Have you got anything like that you can share?
You know, we’ve actually got both. We’ve got a group of faculty and staff now who are going through the process and they will actually be finished in a few months.
They’re finishing up in the late spring. So that’s a big success, which we’ve taken clinicians and staff who are full-time. I mean, that is their full-time job to take care of people and to lead our organization.
And they’ve gone through a very rigorous 100-hour coach training program.
Wow, that is rigorous. And they did it on the strength of, we think this is valuable and we want to do it.
And so all of them will finish successfully. And so I think that that is a huge win for the organization and then also for them personally.

[22:32] So that’s the one big success. And on a more personal level, you know, I’ve coached several people and to just be able to be in the room with them when it clicks, as we say, you know, when the light bulb goes off, where they make that shift.

[22:48] It’s pretty amazing.
And a lot of times I smile when I think about it because it seems so simple, but it’s really about making that shift just in your thought process.
And if I’m being totally transparent and honest, I have a coach.
And so being able to just experience that for myself, just that shift in your thinking and way of looking at things differently has been transformative for me also.
So I will consider myself a success story also.
Yeah. And it really is satisfying, is it not? Absolutely.
To have a coaching client who, You’re right there in the room when the bright lights come on and everything seems to make sense.
The reward for that is very hard to describe, I’m sure, and I bet you’ve seen a lot of it.
Absolutely. And it’s very rewarding, especially when it leads to – it’s the people just achieving the outcomes that they wanted to achieve.
People will come to us for things such as career planning.
I was working with one faculty member who said, I just don’t know what to do from here.
Do I, you know, turn left or do I turn right? And so being able to work through that, not necessarily in the traditional, here’s your CV, did you check these boxes?
This is your next academic step.
But to look at it from the standpoint of what do you really want out of life?

[24:15] Not just here in your job, but what do you want, you know, personally?
What do you want for your family? What do you want for yourself?
And it really helps to change the conversation a little bit.
And I think that that’s important in healthcare especially because those are conversations we usually don’t have.

[24:32] Yeah, it really is, particularly in the world of healthcare as we know it, goodness knows we have our problems.
And I’m sure that it’s been gratifying to you to actually be in a place to do something about that.
But just like I said, one conversation at a time.

[24:52] Yeah. Well, Brian, I really enjoyed hearing about your journey. You certainly have, at least my perception, made quite a success of yourself, and it sounds like you’re involved in making a success of a lot of people around you. Good for them and good for you as well.
What I’m going to do at this point is step out of your way, and we’ll do what we came here for and that is to hear specifically from you and audience.
I’m going to listen quietly while Dr. Bryant Murphy gives us his personal prescriptions for success.
Thank you. So my three prescriptions for success, you know, the first one is learn one new thing a day.
When I was a brand new intern and literally my first day taking care of patients in the pediatric intensive care unit as a first day intern and scared to death.
Our attending said, learn one new thing a day, because you can’t learn everything, but if you can just pick up one new thing a day, by the time you’re done with your training, you will be the smartest person in the world.
So that’s the first thing that I’ve always tried to live by.

[26:03] The second thing is always treat other people the way you wanna be treated.
And it sounds overused and something that we say a lot, but it’s really true, because you never know who you’re taking care of, every one of your patients is somebody’s mother, father, brother, sister. And so that golden rule really goes a long way. And so treat everyone the way you want to be treated.

[26:28] And the third thing I say is never miss a soccer game. Or translate another way, I was at a meeting and someone said, work will take everything that you give it, so don’t do that. So take time for for family, for friends, for gatherings, for other things, because…
You don’t want to miss those soccer games and those important moments in life that you can never get back.
So those are my three prescriptions for success.
Wow. How I love that, particularly that last item. And my goodness, we do not talk about that enough.
So thank you for bringing that up and sharing that with us.
Brian, it’s been a lot of fun chatting with you today, and I appreciate you taking the time to be with us.

[27:18] Before we get away, I want to give you an opportunity to let our audience know where they can find you and advertise anything that you might be doing that they might like to take part of.
What have you got for us? Well, thank you. I am currently, as I said, a faculty member at the UNC Department of Anesthesia.
And so I can be reached at any time through their website, which is
And on there we have links to our upcoming events and different things.
And then also our coaching academy and everything else is on the UNC Faculty Affairs and Leadership Development webpage.
And we can also be seen there with links to all of our activities.
So feel free to take a look at both of those.

[28:06] Well, Dr. Brian Murphy, it has been a great pleasure chatting with you this afternoon, and I appreciate you being here. And I’m sure our audience is going to enjoy hearing from you.
Thanks a lot. Thank you very much, Randy.

[28:20] It’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much for listening with us today.
We hope you’ll help us reach more listeners with your five-star rating and also visit our Patreon page for membership only material like personal rapid fire Q&A sessions with our guests.
If you visit our website at and subscribe, you’ll never miss an episode.
And while you’re there, check out our companion podcast, Life-Changing Moments with Dr. Dale Waxman.
Both podcasts make you eligible for CME credit with CMFI. Details are available on our website.
Special thanks to Ryan Jones, who created and performs our theme music, and also to to Craig Clausen of Clausen Solutions Group, who edits the show.
And remember, be sure to fill your prescription for success with my next episode.