Book Review: November 2023

“Become the Boss MD: Success Beyond Residency”

Author: Amy Vertrees

Book Reviewer: Denise Nemeth, OMS III


Author Bio:


Amy Vertrees, MD is a board-certified general surgeon, Army veteran, certified coach, author and founder of the BOSS Business of Surgery Series. She served 17 years in the Army, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel, and deploying 3 times to Afghanistan and Iraq as a general surgeon. After leaving the military, she was an employed surgeon then created Columbia Surgical Partners, a private practice general surgery group. She discovered there were lessons that she was never taught in residency that were necessary for a successful surgical career. She created the BOSS Business of Surgery Series to fill in that gap and has used everything that she has learned to become a successful private practice general surgeon. The BOSS series includes a highly rated podcast, group coaching and 1:1 coaching and the book “Become the BOSS MD: Success Beyond Residency.”

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Book Review:

In "Become the Boss MD," Dr. Amy Vertrees delivers a refreshing and indispensable guide for surgeons at every stage of their careers. With a keen understanding that residency doesn't cover all the facets of a successful surgical career, Dr. Vertrees takes readers on a journey that is not only informative but also empowering.

The book is particularly valuable for those in residency and about to enter practice, as it addresses the often-neglected aspects of a surgical career—the skills needed to advocate for oneself and navigate the intricacies of the profession. Dr. Vertrees insightfully states, "Residency didn’t teach us everything we needed to learn to be a successful surgeon. While we spent our time caring for patients and learning how to operate, we didn’t learn how to advocate for ourselves or navigate our career."

One of the book's strengths is its accessibility. Dr. Vertrees manages to convey crucial information in an easy-to-follow and engaging manner, making it a compelling read for busy medical professionals. Despite addressing weighty subjects, the book remains down-to-earth, honest, and well-written, creating a connection with the reader. The timeliness of "Become the Boss MD" cannot be overstated. In a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, the book serves as a beacon, guiding surgeons through the complexities of their profession. Dr. Vertrees generously shares her wealth of knowledge, making this book a valuable resource for anyone in the field.

While the narrative follows a female surgeon character to illustrate key points, the wisdom imparted is universal. I’d like to add that the book is not exclusively for women but for anyone aspiring to navigate the challenges of becoming an attending surgeon. She stresses the importance of early familiarity with the business side of medicine, making this book an excellent introduction for students.

"Become the Boss MD" is effectively structured as a five-part guide, providing practical tools applicable to surgeons at all stages of their careers. The book empowers readers to become their own advocates, a crucial skill often overlooked in traditional medical education. As a former mid-level provider, I found myself both laughing and nodding in agreement with the anecdotes and insights shared by Dr. Vertrees.

Dr. Vertrees deserves commendation for her courage in addressing the gaps in surgical education and sharing her experiences openly. "Become the Boss MD" is a powerful tool for surgeons looking to take control of their careers fearlessly. It deserves a prominent place on every surgeon's bookshelf, serving as a constant companion in the pursuit of one's best surgical self.


Book Reviewer Bio:

Denise Nemeth is a third-year medical student at the UIWSOM in San Antonio, TX.  She currently serves as the Association of Women Surgeons National Medical Student Committee Social Media and Marketing Coordinator. Denise is originally from Piedras Negras, Coahuila). Denise is an active member of multiple organizations including the Latino Surgical Society (LSS), the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), and the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons. She is passionate about providing healthcare to medically underserved and marginalized communities and she currently serves on the Community Practice and DLPD committees. Her research and subspecialty interests are varied and include minimally invasive surgery, wound healing, and gender equity within surgical specialties. She is an advocate for Latino health and hopes to see increased representation via increased numbers of Latino/Hispanic physicians and surgeons. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling the world, reading, and writing. Denise aspires to become a rural surgeon.

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