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BackTable / Urology / Podcast / Episode #24

Operate With Zen

with Dr. Phil Pierorazio

Dr. Aditya Bagrodia and Dr. Aaron Fritts talk with Dr. Phillip Pierorazio from Penn Urology about his Operate with Zen podcast and tips for surgeon wellness. They cover Dr. Pierorazio's motivation for starting a wellness podcast, preventing physician burnout, achieving work-life balance, and managing healthy competitiveness.

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Operate With Zen with Dr. Phil Pierorazio on the BackTable Urology Podcast)
Ep 24 Operate With Zen with Dr. Phil Pierorazio
00:00 / 01:04

BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2021, December 1). Ep. 24 – Operate With Zen [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

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Podcast Contributors

Dr. Phil Pierorazio discusses Operate With Zen on the BackTable 24 Podcast

Dr. Phil Pierorazio

Dr. Phil Pierorazio is the chief of urology with the Pennsylvania Presbyterian Medical Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Aditya Bagrodia discusses Operate With Zen on the BackTable 24 Podcast

Dr. Aditya Bagrodia

Dr. Aditya Bagrodia is an associate professor of urology and genitourinary oncology team leader at UC San Diego Health in California and adjunct professor of urology at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Aaron Fritts discusses Operate With Zen on the BackTable 24 Podcast

Dr. Aaron Fritts

Dr. Aaron Fritts is a Co-Founder of BackTable and a practicing interventional radiologist in Dallas, Texas.


In this crossover episode of BackTable Urology and BackTable VI, Dr. Aaron Fritts and Dr. Aditya Bagrodia speak with Dr. Phil Pierorazio about surgeon wellness and his mindfulness podcast, Operate with Zen.

First, Dr. Pierorazio discusses his motivation for starting the Operate with Zen podcast. During the pandemic, he crafted a new goal for himself: to be happier in surgery. He defines mindfulness as taking a moment to enjoy his livelihood and being more present at work and at home. Next, the doctors tackle the topic of physician burnout. All three doctors agree that burnout is not a badge of honor and are glad that the culture of medicine is progressing towards one that reprimands toxic attitudes early in training.

As for managing work-life balance, Dr. Pierorazio explains that once he started creating boundaries for his work schedule, he expanded what he could do. He encourages other surgeons to trust that their colleagues can handle emergencies, even if the patients are not their own patients. Collaboration with colleagues also leads to healthy competitiveness, a concept in which physicians stop comparing themselves to each other and instead celebrate their fellow colleagues. Dr. Pierorazio recommends channeling toxic competitive energy towards a drive to better a broader institution and patient care.

Finally, Dr. Pierorazio shares two of his personal tips for wellness. He avidly journals each day in order to exercise gratitude, reflect on his day, and set priorities for the next day. Finally, he emphasizes the importance of finding a wellness mentor or counselor in order to expand surgeon wellness and talent.

Disclaimer: The Materials available on are for informational and educational purposes only and are not a substitute for the professional judgment of a healthcare professional in diagnosing and treating patients. The opinions expressed by participants of the BackTable Podcast belong solely to the participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views of BackTable.

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