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10 Reasons to Take Dr. Nancy Snyderman’s Advice

By: Arianne Cohen

Dr. Nancy SnydermanDr. Nancy Snyderman is busy. A mom of three, she’s also the chief medical editor for NBC, appearing regularly on the Today show, Dateline NBC and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. She reads every medical journal that comes across her desk and keeps hourly tabs on Washington. Starting Monday June 29, she’ll take over the lunchtime hour on MSNBC with her show,

Dr. Snyderman will also check in with the iVision community and share her tips and expert opinion about health. She stepped away from her busy schedule to talk to us, and we uncovered 10 reasons why you should always heed her advice.

1. She doesn’t waste your time.
Dr. Snyderman spent the last two decades as a practicing cancer surgeon and busy mother raising three children. It turns out that talking to patients and toddlers is great training for television segments. “The skill set is very similar," she says. "It’s all about time management--there are always time constraints. At a patient’s bedside, I pick words that take complicated medicine and make it user-friendly.”

2. She cares about women’s health.
“I love telling the stories of women and children," she shares. "I find that the best stories aren’t the ones in the medical journals, but the stories that affect women and children anywhere in the world, because there’s an everydayness to all of us that gives women common bonds and things we share.”

3. She knows (nearly) everything.
“I practiced medicine for 25 years as an ear, nose and throat surgeon, with a subspecialty of head and neck cancer," she says. "Then I worked at Johnson & Johnson for five years, and later as a correspondent for ABC News. I love telling stories and I love traveling, so during my ABC years, there wasn’t a hot spot I didn’t go to or a refugee camp I didn’t see. Africa, India, Mogadishu, you name it. I have a pretty unique vantage point.”

4. She really is Dr. Mom.
With three children, and three-plus jobs, Dr. Snyderman has to make sure her family gets some mom time. "No matter how busy I am or they are, family dinner is non-negotiable," she says. "We do a sit-down family dinner every night. I usually leave work at 5 p.m., go home and make dinner. Around 7 p.m. while [my son] Charlie’s doing his homework, I do my homework for the next day.”

5. She knows how to wake up at 4:55 a.m. and be out the door at 5:00 a.m.
“Every day I wake up at 4:55," she says. "I’m like the kindergartener whose clothes are put out the night before. My purse is by the front hall; my Blackberry charged. I wake up, brush my teeth, put on moisturizer, pull on jeans and walk out the door.”

6. Her office is filled with cowgirls.
Her office at 30 Rockefeller Plaza (30 Rock, for short) is covered with framed posters of cowgirls, famous and not: Dale Evans and Patsy Cline; dozens of cowgirls at a local roundup in 1911. “I love cowgirls," she says. "I used to live on a ranch for 17 years on the Marin-Sonoma border [in California] before I moved to the East Coast. I’m an avid rider.” Above her door is a sign that says, “Well-behaved women rarely make history.”

7. She insists on candles.
“I like to come into the office and light a Zen candle," she says. "It violates every rule in corporate America to light a candle in 30 Rock. They busted me.”

8. She knows when to say goodbye.
“After 25 years in head and neck cancer surgery, I found that there wasn’t much left for me to do," she says. "But I found that there was a lot for me to do in journalism. So three years ago I made the decision that it was time to step out of the operating room. So right before my 55th birthday, I said goodbye to the operating room and I closed my private practice, and quietly left.” She still teaches medical school surgeons once a week at the University of Pennsylvania.

9. She once had dinner with Julia Child.
“When I was on Good Morning America, we all went to France for a week," she shares. "Julia came on the show. That night, she only wanted a reservation at a hole-in-the-wall, two-star place. When we walked in the restaurant, every head whipped around. She was oblivious.

“Julia ordered liver kidneys," she continues. "And when offered red or white wine, she said, ‘I think we should have both, don’t you?’ Afterward, I talked to my mother, and told her that I’d just had dinner with Julia in Paris, and that if I died that night, I’d be dying a happy person.”

10. She knows the secret to balancing a very busy life.
“Self-preservation," she says. "Women are the nuclei of the family. So when women get sick, the family falls apart, and the workplace falls apart, and it trickles into the community. So one of my priorities is teaching women that taking care of themselves is not selfish. If you don’t put yourself first, you’re not going to make it.”





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