The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

Choosing a Specialty & Finances to Maximize Happiness With Dr. Andrew Tisser

Dr. Andrew Tisser discusses choosing a specialty, non-clinical careers paths for physicians, and developing financial literacy.

  • [01:28] Talk2MeDoc
  • [03:42] Why Dr. Tisser Chose Emergency Medicine
  • [05:03] Advice for Med Students Choosing a Career
  • [07:50] Building a Life that Aligns with Your Core Values
  • [10:44] Diversifying Your Income and Maximizing Your Medical Degree
  • [14:55] The Importance of Financial Literacy
  • [18:51] Dr. Tisser’s Advice to Pre-meds and Medical Students

Erkeda DeRouen talks to Dr. Andrew Tisser, DO. Dr. Tisser is an emergency physician and podcaster at Talk2MeDoc which focuses on issues relating to the early-career physician. He is also the owner and president of Talk2MeDoc LLC which helps early-career doctors develop career strategies, navigate career transitions and design the life they want. In this episode, Erkeda talks to Dr. Tisser about choosing a specialty, non-clinical careers paths and developing your financial literacy.


Dr. Tisser initially started Talk2MeDoc to explore the experiences of other healthcare professionals and discuss the details of healthcare communication. Over time, however, Dr. Tisser realised that his passion was helping new doctors which led to the consulting arm of Talk2MeDoc. The theme of his podcast is “Keep Talking” and attempts to promote enhanced communication. It explores the intricacies of healthcare at every level, hosting guests from all areas of healthcare and beyond.

Why Dr. Tisser Chose Emergency Medicine

Dr. Tisser was a firefighter and EMT in college and continued in the first few years of medical school. He always knew he would eventually practice emergency medicine, and though he tried, other specialties failed to capture his attention.

When choosing a specialty, Dr. Tisser suggests that students start by making a list of all the available options and then crossing items off the list, as opposed to adding specialties to a list as they pique your interest. An important part of this exercise is identifying what you do not like about the specific field you are crossing off. Dr. Tisser discovered early on that he did not like obstetrics, and concluded his aversion was contingent on his dislike of the OR. In addition, this allowed him to eliminate all surgical specialties. This process of elimination also allows the student to distinguish whether their feelings towards a specialty is based on the specialty itself, or a bad experience or attending.

Diversifying Your Income

Dr. Tisser loves to talk about money and thinks that you should do it more often because money is important. While there are varying opinions on diversifying one’s income, Dr. Tisser’s advice is that you should do what’s right for you. Educating yourself about money is an important first step in developing a plan to monetize your degree and finding a career you love either inside or outside of medicine that allows you to meet your personal goals.

Dr. Tisser cites the sunk cost fallacy as a reason many doctors choose to become doctors. People often become anxious over what they feel they have put in and feel like they have to go on to become a doctor, to recoup the time and money they have spent in medical school. In order to build a life you can love, Dr. Tisser urges students and physicians to do what makes you feel fulfilled and aligns with your core values.

Setting Yourself Up Financially

Make mistakes, but not big, bad mistakes. Doctors are often scared by areas they feel they are not proficient in, like financial planning. Acquiring a basic grasp of financial literacy is the first step in taking control of your financial health and ensuring that your life is not ruled by financial anxiety. Medical school is a massive expense, but loans and the accompanying stress should not run your life; the loans can be managed. Avoiding debts at all costs is also not always reasonable; it is important to remember to live life.

Dr. Tisser’s Advice to Pre-Meds and Medical Students

  1. “There is no failure in life, just feedback.” Everything teaches you a lesson, it is your responsibility to keep learning.
  2. See something, say something. Dr. Tisser also urges students to speak up when they experience something that makes them uncomfortable.
  3. Go for it. As with anything else you want in life, you need to identify it, develop a plan to get it, and go for it. Dr. Tisser urges students to actively pursue their career goals, including non-clinical paths, by seeking out mentors, polishing their resumes and scouring LinkedIn for opportunities. Even if you are rejected, you lose nothing.

Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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