The Wonderer: Andrew Tisser, DO

Andrew Tisser, DO specializes in emergency medicine and is the host of the Talk2MeDoc Podcast. The podcast and Dr. Tisser’s work as a career strategist focus on the unique issues pertaining to the early-mid career physician. He works tirelessly with his clients to accelerate their goals to completion.  

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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.

Andrew earned his medical degree at the New York Institute of
Technology, College of Osteopathic Medicine. He then completed his residency at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY.

Andrew has been featured in NBC, NPR, and MTV News as well as multiple podcasts. He was most recently named as one of the “50 Best Doctors to Follow on Instagram in 2020” and Top 21 Medical Podcasts. Dr. Tisser lives in Western NY with his wife Alysia, daughter Marlowe, and dog Lillie.

Connect with Dr. Tisser:

Dr. Tisser’s Website
The Talk2MeDoc Podcast
Dr. Tisser’s LinkedIn
Dr. Tisser’s Twitter

Dr. Tisser Prescription for Success:

Number 1: You should not just let your career happen to you, you should design it.

Number 2: Relationships are everything.

Number 3: You are never too young to be unhappy, unsatisfied, or burnt out.

Number 4: Learn your values

Number 5: This is a Job. It’s not part of your identity.

Notable quotes from Dr. Tisser’s interview:

I tried everything in regards to a clinical setting, and wasn’t too happy.

I offset the boredom I feel in day-to-day medicine with all the other things, and it brings a lot more enjoyment to the clinical work.

I would like to keep my toe dipped in clinical medicine

I think to be an effective physician administrator, you have to see some patients, and be back there with the troops, so to speak.

Access the Show Transcript Here

75. The Wonderer: Andrew Tisser, Do

2021, Dr. Randy Cook
Rx for Success Podcast


[0:00] I call it career strategy because that’s what it is you know and there’s no perfect role for anyone you know I certainly I’ve pieced together something that includes clinical medicine some of my clients do the same.
Some just need to change their hospital or clinic or setting so I’m just need a new job.
But there’s a lot a big mix of what’s right for each person and and that’s that’s what the purpose of my program.

[0:30] Paging dr. cook paging dr. cook dr. Kirk you’re wanted in the OR dr. KO.

[0:38] Music.

[1:00] Hello everyone and welcome to prescriptions 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.
In this episode I’ll be speaking with an emergency medicine physician who felt something was missing from his career in clinical practice will hear how he found what he was looking for in medical management as well as coaching and podcasting.
So let’s hear my conversation with dr. Andrew tisser.

[1:52] Music.

[1:57] Pleasure it is for me to be in conversation today with a fellow podcaster dr. Andrew tisser.

[2:04] From up in Western New York Andrew is great to have you here today thanks for joining us thanks for having me Randy it’s a real real tree.

[2:13] I’m really looking forward to the conversation but as always we want to.

[2:20] Know all the details about your professional development and I’m always interested in when you decided that.
Medical school was going to be right for you I notice I think you got to do your undergraduate degree was in psychology.

[2:38] If I’m correct and then there might have been a little time between when you finished your Baccalaureate disease degree in when you started to medical school so what’s the story there.
Yeah thank you so yeah I attended college and Western New York as well.
State University of New York College at Geneseo so small little rural college that the Rochester New York.
I pursued study in Psychology and graduated then the the plan in the beginning was to just,
figure out what the plan was so I volunteered for the fire department is a firefighter and EMT throughout college and this that was kind of my introduction to medicine and what.
Spurred me to pursue medical degree is 2,
I wanted to know kind of what happened to the patients after we drop them off well now just a minute so you you embarked on an undergraduate degree in psychology.

[3:41] And immediately after getting out of college.
You start running into burning buildings in and responding to emergencies is there.
Is there something in particular that led you in that direction well I actually during college I started probably at the end of my freshman year working for a little like emergency response Squad cuz
I thought it was interesting and that little respond Squad you know wasn’t enough so I joined the local fire department and and that.
Yeah that was that was great fun I really enjoyed my time with the fire department but yeah it was kind of a spur-of-the-moment this kind of seems interesting and
yeah that’s what I’ll do and then so that kind of piqued your interest in what happens to people after the ambulance ride is over and they disappear into the.
Exactly right and the next thing that happened so you decided that you wanted to go to medical school and you picked.
Osteopathy as opposed to the shall we say more traditional
MD route was there some thought mechanism behind how you made that choice yeah there’s a real practical decision I applied to both and I only got into Dio school really yeah,
well that’s practical enough.

[5:04] Yeah you know II didn’t see a major difference you know I know there’s some philosophy philosophical differences in the practice but I applied to both and that’s where I got in and I took my acceptance and went on
and then while you were in medical school did you feel like yeah I did the right thing I’m in the right place now,
you know it break it brings up a lot of questions you know I think I was actually feeling a lot of dissatisfaction earlier my second year of medical school with maybe some disillusionment as to what the career was
you know I don’t come from any doctors in my family and,
my experience with Physicians was was pretty much in the emergency department and you know this seems pretty cool I get to help people get to know a lot of things it’s a pretty good job.

[5:52] Faced with the realities of medicine like early we had some early clinical experiences and my second year I was starting to become a little more jaded as to what the career entail and can you talk about that some more where did that
Jaden is for well where do you think that came from,
well I think I just didn’t really enjoy the subject matter as much as I thought it would you know it wasn’t
it wasn’t interesting to me and a lot of my professors just said it was you know preclinical work and it would just get better and I went out there and just started talking a doctors at that point you know I’m already a second-year med student and they’re all.
Pretty unhappy and so faced with some of those realities I was just starting to really get pretty dissatisfied and unfortunately in my mind I was too indebted to stop.
Horse so that’s a kick but again everyone is just like well yeah it’s preclinical you know it’s not that interesting it’ll get better.
When are you bring up something else that’s interesting.
You did what I would have considered to be exactly the right thing you’re in basic Sciences it is to say the least challenging and I think most people would
probably agree in many ways boring
so you decided to go out and talk to some people that were already on active practice and what you found was.

[7:13] That they didn’t really make it sound like it was going to get particularly better am I reading that wrong no you’re right it that’s that’s really
you know what I found and I didn’t find the actual material all that challenging you know not to secure a know that sounds kind of strange but the actual course work wasn’t challenging it just was boring but you know again if it gets better it gets better but I didn’t find that to be true
well that’s it that that is an interesting part of the story,
well actually not to tell me when and under what circumstances did you come to the decision that it was going to be emergency medicine for you
well I so I started my clinical years hoping again that it would be better and I found it once again not to be the case but.
I started you know I made a list of all the Specialties and I started my clinical rotations and
I never really liked I didn’t really like any of it I’ll be completely honest with you I didn’t really know field really spoke to me I was most familiar with emergency medicine because of my background and.

[8:15] On paper it seemed good you know like make a good salary they said
back in the day people said it was a lifestyle specialty which it is not a lifestyle specialty but you do have a lot of time off and make a pretty good salary you keep work at work that seemed pretty good on paper to me
yeah and so a lifestyle specialty meeting.
That you have more control over your time you work when you work your off when your office is that the idea yeah I mean you know there’s the traditional lifestyle Specialties of like Dermatology and Ophthalmology and Radiology right but
emergency medicine
it was lumped in with that but in fact you have a lot of days off but a lot of the days you work our nights and weekends and holidays you know right right so once you got into your emergency medicine,
residents of your postgraduate training same kind of experience this is not ringing my bell or we feeling any better about it
no I I was pretty miserable in residency and there’s a lot of factors involved my wife and I ended up matching two hours apart so I would often just drive back and forth which wasn’t
yeah that wasn’t too cool but you know that but the actual medicine again it’s you know I’ve spoken about this before on different in different platforms but.
The medicine wasn’t very difficult like I was a good ER doctor throughout and I just found it so.

[9:43] Boring I just didn’t feel like I was helping anyone but the faculty members were just like oh well your resident it’s supposed to suck it’ll get better
right since we’re seems to be the theme along the way is that it’ll get better it’ll get better that sounds to me like a very unusual way to try to be.
Encouraging but nonetheless that’s what you got and as I understand it I think I have the time Ryan timeline correctly once you are finished with your residency,
was that the point that you and your wife both moved to Chicago.
Yes yep she went on to do a fellowship and I followed her out there in Rheumatology is that right yes yeah and if she still practicing.
She is she’s actually took the academic route so she’s actually here,
program director for internal medicine and clinically she works in a day and a half a week seeing Rheumatology patient and my impression from looking over your CV is during that time when.
She was training that you used that opportunity.

[10:54] Learn a little bit about the the different ways that you can experience clinical medicine you want to tell us about that.

[11:02] I figured it was a good experimental time we were only going to be there for two years and so I took a lot of different jobs part-time locums
and I worked in really tiny little critical access hospitals all the way up to massive academic centers just to see like where do I fit into this puzzle because,
what I was doing a residency certainly wasn’t it so I tried.
Pretty much everything as far as a clinical a clinical setting and wasn’t too happy.
So once your wife was finished with her residency and you decided to go back to New York did you have any idea what you were going to do at that point made any well.
Yes so I near maybe the second half of our time in Chicago I was really miserable and and I started like this quest to find something
frankly to find my escape from that clinical medicine and my wife hates this thinking about these times because we joke like on Monday I would do I would do a Medi spot on Tuesday I would do insurance medicine I don’t Wednesday I would join the pharmaceutical industry any you know any of these
big jobs that could.
Yeah but the problem is you know you’re half a million dollars in debt so you need something that can replace your salary and I had no real Direction so.
It was really straining our relationship it was straining you know my time outside of work and.

[12:22] And my wife was just like why don’t you just figure it out take some time and then when we move back home then you can put the plan into action and that’s kind of what I did.

[12:32] And what was the plan.

[12:34] Well you know I did some work some soul-searching I worked on my did a lot of personal development work I started talking with some of my mentors some coaches myself and and decided that I had a real interest in administrative medicine on the one hand
which I had done some some electives in in residency I really enjoyed in addition to some of these other things that
side businesses that I had worked on so my idea was to try and find a job at a small tiny little Hospital we’re clinically it wasn’t very burdensome and I would have time to explore some of my other interests and and so that’s that’s kind of what I did.

[13:13] So tell us what that looks like and and I really am dying to know have you have you found your sweet spot or you or you happy with where you are at this point
well I’m happy to say Randy yes I’m very happy now it is fabulous,
so it but I’ve hodgepodge together a career and so you know the the quick of it is we moved back home to Buffalo New York I took a staff position in an ER that was really
nice Year well-run good company quickly assumed medical director ship for an urgent care.
Locally there started my podcast started my career strategy business was still doing I was doing some chart review work so I really bought down my time quite a bit and the biggest update.
Is that as of August first I have switched hospitals and I’m now taking ER fully our director role so that’s moving moving up forward in my administrative Pursuits so right
nowadays I’m about 50% clinical and and this this new role you’ve been at it for how long.
Just over a month month and a half August 1st I started and how’s it going.

[14:24] It’s great you know I it’s it brings with it plenty of new challenges but but I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
Hi I’m Rhonda Crow founder and CEO Forum D coaches here on our X 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 now 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 us at my MD to schedule your complimentary consultation.
Again that’s my MD because you’re not in this alone.

[15:35] 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.

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[16:38] And now let’s get back to today’s interview so what I think I hear you saying is.
Do you really.

[16:50] I feel that there is some place for you and some sense of belonging in.

[16:59] Clinical medicine but you just simply don’t want that to be all there is exactly
it’s the I offset the boredom that I feel in day-to-day medicine with all the other things and it brings a lot more a lot more enjoyment to the clinical work
for what it’s worth that’s great that’s fabulous so we’ll give us some details about the.

[17:24] Other things if you will I I know there’s not just the administrative role that you just described but
there is a lot of other stuff going on the podcast and the blog and the coaching tell us about that.
Yeah sure so the plot the podcast was the first thing I started January of Twenty Ninth twenty 20 January 2020 and initially that was
an effort to talk to the different players in health care about communication within Healthcare which I another thing I really enjoy talking about,
that got a little stale after a while because people just kind of say the same thing you know everyone has a voice everyone’s part of the team and I agree but it was a great first season and.
And then I pivoted to two things that I’ve been really more interested in lately which is just the specific needs of their early career physician and that’s where I’ve been ever since working on episode 86 this week.
And I’m interested to know if,
in the process of coaching you actually find some Physicians that you really helped to become satisfied with their clinical role and maybe others you actually.
Encouraged to think about either getting into non-clinical roles or getting out of medicine altogether is there is there a mix of that or what is it like.

[18:49] Yeah there’s a big mix and I call it career strategy because that’s what it is you know and there’s no perfect.
Role for anyone you know I certainly I’ve pieced together something that includes clinical medicine some of my clients do the same.
Some just need to change their hospital or clinic or setting so I’m just need a new job.

[19:09] Um but there’s a lot a big mix of what’s right for each person and that’s that’s what the purpose of my program it in your capacity as an administrative person,
do you think that you have had.
Opportunities and if so I’d like to hear about those opportunities where you’ve managed to make life better for the Physicians,
well that’s my goal right I think in the current role it’s a little too early to see but yeah my first job I felt was was,
making the schedule a little more Equitable because I’ve been on the wrong end of that previously and I think that maybe that goes a long way a lot revolves around the schedule doesn’t it.
Oh yeah so that’s good but I think some of the other projects are that I’m working on with my team now or.
Well well better the lives of the Physicians and the a PPS we work with as well how do you feel that you’re being.
Perceived by your physician and counterparts as your as the administrative person that they have.

[20:21] Answer to and look.
To for answers to their gripes how are you being received in that crowd so far I think well,
I think I was a little nervous you know because I’m kind of can’t imagine sitting on the Bob block here and I’m young which sometimes is negatively seen.
But thus far everybody’s been very kind and accepting and so far so good.

[20:50] Yeah I was going to ask you that this specifically about the fact that you are relatively young and if you from time to time run into more seasoned Physicians who.
Don’t quite want to hear what you have to say does that happen from time to time.
I mean I think he ran again not not currently at least not yet but you know I think I’ve run into into the pain in the past you know I think yeah,
ACP well you know what do you know you’ve only been doing this a few years well I feel like quite a bit you know yeah and in terms of,
your long-term strategy do you think on the not too far distant Horizon do you see getting out of clinical medicine all together or would you like to make it work for another.

[21:37] 20 25 years what do you think well I think I’d like to keep my toe dipped and clinical medicine you know I think,
working you know five shifts a month or eight shifts a month versus three or four shifts a month I don’t know that there’s a lot of difference when it comes to administrative work I think to Be an Effective.
Physician administrator you need to at least see some patients and be back there with the troops so to speak yeah I think that’s a great idea it’s.
It’s a lot easier I would imagine
to get some credibility from the people you’re supervising if you can say look I’ve stood where you stood
so hats off to you for for making that decision well
Andrew that’s a really interesting story and it sounds to me as if you’re sort of in the middle of it and
only time will tell where it goes at you.
Clearly shown that you’re willing to Pivot and take another take another tack from time to time and congratulations on having the courage to do that.
And along those lines is your if I may ask is your spouse still a little nervous about what you’re going to do next or is she kind of gotten used to it.

[22:56] Well she knows I’m always doing something but I think before I start telling her what I’m going to do next I think we have a little bit of time to settle in but yeah she’s
I certainly our relationship is so much improved just by my work life the improved and not constantly thinking about how I’m going to get out of this you know what am I going to do I can’t do this forever,
that’s great I’m glad to hear that well Andrews I’ve really enjoyed hearing your story and what I.
Want to do at this point is exactly bring us back to the title of the podcast and.

[23:29] That’s when we get some advice from you so I’m going to close my mic for just a few minutes and dr. Andrew tisser is going to give us his personal prescriptions for success.
Thank you Randy I really gave this one a lot of thought
my advice is fivefold and this isn’t ranked in order of importance it’s just how it came to mind so number one it’s my opinion that you should not just let your career happen to you and rather you should design it
and what I mean by that is that oftentimes Physicians have a very linear path right College to med school to residency.

[24:02] To maybe Fellowship to job and there’s often a sense of is this
it is that all there’s nothing else after completing residency I have to do this for 40 years certainly a lot of career dissatisfaction
comes from the sentiment and my point is if you have short and long-term goals you have a vision you know what you want your life to look like then you can design your career around that and anything is really possible
once we stop thinking so linearly and start thinking outside the box you’d be amazed at the endless possibilities for your career and your life
the second thing is that relationships are everything when it comes to networking and I hate that term networking but
in any relationship in general the important thing is that you’re not looking for what can I get out of this person or this relationship
it’s important to take genuine interest in other people talk to everybody you know I always end my podcast by saying keep talking because people are inherently interesting and have so much to teach you.
The third thing is that you’re never too young to be unhappy too satisfied or burnt out
throughout my career I was always told like we discussed it would get better it would get better I was too young to feel burned out however this is flawed thinking,
the current generation of Physicians has a totally different set of circumstances and their predecessors and if you are unhappy then you should find a way to make yourself happy because no one’s going to come down from the heavens and hand it to you.

[25:22] The fourth thing is to learn your values this is pretty much as hokey and as you know weird as I get right but if you’re in a job or a position
that is disparate from your values you’re never going to be happy whether this is clinical and non-clinical whatever right if someone is asking you to do something is inherently against your values,
you’ll never be happy.

[25:43] End of the last thing is that this is a job and so many Physicians have this job wrapped up as part of their identity when people ask you to describe yourself what comes out first
I’m a doctor or is it,
I’m a husband I’m a father I’m an avid bird watcher I’m a lizard spider whatever it is right this especially comes up with clients when they’re trying to transition out of medicine or build the profitable side gig and feel that maybe they’re losing their identity as a doctor but the fact of the matter is.
You’re just adding another piece to your identity,
the doctor part will always be there but at the end of the day this is a job and in a job you should be happy and those are my eye prescriptions for success
well that sounds like a really good advice Andrew and I really appreciate you taking the time to be with us today and share your thoughts with us
before we go I want to give you an opportunity to tell our listeners about at least a few of the many things that you can do we hardly talked at all about your podcast but
that and websites and email addresses and anything else that you’d like to share please give it a go.

[26:51] Yeah thanks Randy so everything is really housed at my website which is Andrew T is Ser.
The podcast is called talk to me Doc that’s talk the number to Medio C and again focuses on issues relating to the early career physician,
but really any health care professional can benefit a lot from listening to that you can find me most actively on social media on LinkedIn and Twitter Twitter is kind of for my own personal,
ramblings and enjoyment and Linkedin for a lot of the career strategy work but I’m also on Instagram I used to be on Facebook but I got hacked recently so.
That’s that’s been a challenge
so yeah those are the places to find me you can send me an email at any time and Drew a talk to and I’ll give you all that for this show notes for the listeners and that’s yeah that’s really it that’s that’s where I can be found.
Well I bet we’ll have a lot of people that hear this podcast will be seeking you out and once again dr. Andrew tisser thanks for being with us on prescription for success.

[27:59] Music.

[28:06] Thank you so much for listening today remember you can get more information about our guests as well as hear them face my rapid fire questions at our patreon site.

[28:17] And while you’re there you can also subscribe to the podcast give us a rating and hopefully offer suggestions on what you’d like to hear in future episodes.

[28:29] Thanks very much to Ryan Jones who composed and performs our theme music.

[28:33] That’s all we have for now so be sure and fill your prescription for success with my next episode.

[28:41] Music.