NBC’s Dr. Nancy on TV, Surgery, and Academia’s Glass Ceiling

; Nancy L. Snyderman, MD

| Disclosures | November 01, 2013

Sharing Too Much Information?

Dr. Topol: That's the interesting thing about you: You've got this blend of being into technology and always having been into that human factor. A good example is your recent tweeting and the trip that you made with your adopted daughter.

Dr. Snyderman: Here's the sort of grey zone, especially for someone who lives in the public eye. My 27-year-old daughter went back to Arkansas to meet her mother who placed her for adoption; they had never met in 27 years. I was tweeting the journey. (You and I follow each other on Twitter, so we always know where we are.) The question for me was, is that a story I'm reporting or is it a personal thing that I should keep to myself? Always before I push that "send" button, I'm trying to figure out whether it's newsworthy or too much information.

I was hiking recently in Vancouver and went hiking in Banff afterwards. I started to tweet that I was on this amazing hike and then I thought, stop -- what difference does it make that people know that I'm out for a hike? I realized that I needed to disconnect and reconnect myself with something else. I think that's sort of the constant pull in my life. I live to be connected -- a little bit like it's an adrenal rush -- and when I'm disconnected there's that little blip of anxiety. And then I have to allow myself time for creativity, because I really believe that if you're worried about Facebook posts and tweeting, you're not reinvesting in your own brain.

Being Everything to Everybody

Dr. Topol: Speaking of the kind of energy that it requires, you got up really early this morning and did the Today show, right? And then you're also doing the evening news. How do you do all this stuff?

Dr. Snyderman: But here's what I'm not doing today that you would always do: I am not exercising today. I always think about you; no matter where you are, you're slipping in a half-hour to an hour of exercise. I always have this Topol thing in the back of my head: Why aren't I exercising today? And the reality is, I won't, so sometimes I have to give myself permission that I just can't be everything to everybody on all days. That's not always easy. It's easy to preach to people and tell them what to do; sometimes it's harder to live it.

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  1. Paradise JL, Bluestone CD, Bachman RZ, et al. Efficacy of tonsillectomy for recurrent throat infection in severely affected children. Results of parallel randomized and nonrandomized clinical trials. N Engl J Med. 1984;310:674-683. Abstract

Authors and Disclosures


Eric J. Topol, MD

Director, Scripps Translational Science Institute; Chief Academic Officer, Scripps Health; Professor of Genomics, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape

Disclosure: Eric J. Topol, MD, has disclosed the following relevant financial relationships:
Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant, or trustee for: AltheaDX; Biological Dynamics; Cypher Genomics (Co-founder); Dexcom; Genapsys; Gilead Sciences, Inc.; Portola Pharmaceuticals; Quest Diagnostics; Sotera Wireless; Volcano
Received research grant from: National Institutes of Health; Qualcomm Foundation

Nancy L. Snyderman, MD

Chief Medical Editor, NBC News; Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Disclosure: Nancy L. Snyderman, MD, has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

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