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Derms and Conditions Podcast Episode 83:

Professional Success, Personal Fulfillment, and Teaching Countless Others Along the Way

Featuring Clay Cockerell, MD | Release Date: July 11, 2024

In this episode of Derms and Conditions, host James Q Del Rosso, DO, is joined by Clay Cockerell, MD, a practicing dermatopathologist at Cockerell Dermatology in Dallas, TX, whose expertise in dermatopathology and commitment to ongoing education offer listeners practical advice on enhancing patient care and professional fulfillment. 

They begin by discussing some common pitfalls that can lead to missed diagnoses. Dr Cockerell emphasizes the importance of proper biopsy techniques, noting issues such as inadequate superficial biopsies that miss diagnostic areas and improper punch biopsies that fail to assess critical features. He also addresses insufficient preset menu options in EMR systems that lack necessary detail, advocating for including clinical photographs with unusual skin biopsies to improve diagnostic accuracy. 

They then expand on the topic of the underutilization of EMR systems to send clinical photographs to dermatopathology labs, urging more offices to adopt this practice to provide valuable context for difficult cases. 

Dr Cockerell then shares his journey of continuous learning, having pursued multiple MBAs and a law degree. He emphasizes the value of business and legal knowledge in medical practice, noting that his MBA education helped him with personal finance, hiring, leadership, and people skills, while his law degree provided valuable insights into understanding legal documents and advocating for his rights. 

Dr Del Rosso and Dr Cockerell then speculate on the increasing rates of burnout among dermatologists and emphasize the importance of hobbies and interests outside of medicine, with both agreeing that diversifying one's interests is crucial to maintaining passion and satisfaction in one's career. 

Tune in to the full episode for more valuable insights into improving dermatology practices, the importance of continuous learning, and strategies for maintaining work-life balance to prevent burnout.


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