076 – Flying High with Dr. Wayne Smith

076 – Flying High with Dr. Wayne Smith

Flying High with Dr. Wayne Smith

“In informal education, the purpose of my education was to let me do what I wanted to do.  The purpose of my formal education was to make it legal for me to do what I wanted to do.”  –Dr. Wayne Smith

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076 - Dr. Wayne Smith

[In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript]

In This Episode

  • Does your child want to become a doctor but doesn’t have the grades?

  • Have you ever wondered what happens when you get put to sleep by an anesthesiologist?

  • What is the purpose of licenses and credentials?

076 - wayne smith flying 02Join us as we strap on our boots for a trek along alternate paths into healthcare.

Today’s podcast breaks a streak I’ve had for quite sometime on our podcast. For various reasons, I have not had the opportunity to interview a medical doctor for the Table Top Inventing podcast. However, healthcare is one of the fastest growing fields in our country today.

In fact, engineering and science to address healthcare challenges is also a quickly growing field. So I’m glad I found an unique and interesting anesthesiologist to speak to us about his journey to becoming a doctor and what a young person entering the field might want to consider.

Dr. Wayne Smith is a very curious individual with an unusual story to tell about starting with a 2.6 GPA out of high school and eventually exiting his residency in anesthesiology with excellence. This is not your typical 4 years of pre-med followed by 4 years of med-school followed by a residency. 

Dr. Smith certainly doesn’t pull any punches. He worked hard and found a way where most others would have quit. Along the way, he discovered the valuable lessons of learning how to learn and seeking excellence for its own sake. Hold on to your seats as we take off for an aerial view of a curious path into healthcare.

If your student needs that little spark or push into a life of curiosity, head over to our website ttinvent.com and find our Inventor Camp. Just like Dr. Smith, Inventor Camp helps students become curious about life and to seek out answers for themselves.

Dr. Smith said, “Learning is secondary only to things like sleeping and breathing and eating.” Let us inspire your teenager to find that same excitement for learning!

Parents AND students both tell us, “We can’t believe how much learning happened in just 4 days!”


We want to help you and your kids create the future!

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Guest Bio

Born in North Carolina, the only child of older parents, Dr. Wayne Smith was kept out of school until he turned eight. Once he did start school, he finished through 12th grade in nine years, graduating at the age of 16, shortly after surviving a serious accident that provided his first introduction to the field of anesthesia.

As a child, Wayne’s family moved a number of times, so much so that he still has a hard time with the question “Where are you from?”

Science was the only subject Wayne really enjoyed in grade school, and the schools he attended for high school didn’t provide many opportunities for advanced science, and lacked strong math teaching. So, even though his interest was in science, he was ill-equipped to pursue the theoretical or design branches of science.

That led to a more practical career path. His first job, at the age of 13, was making eye glasses for a local optometrist. When he turned 14, his folks told him that he could have their VW bus to drive, but only if he revived it from its non-functioning state. So, armed with a book and a basic tool set, he attend the school of hard knocks, specializing in VW repair. The bus went on to be the reason he met one of his strongest mentors, Larry, whose shop he frequented for help with various mechanical quandaries. Larry eventually gave him a job, which only ended 5 years later, after he had graduated from nursing school.




076 - Wayne Smith Renaissance Online RadioNursing gave Wayne an opportunity to combine scientific knowledge with practical applications. Very much on the applied end of the spectrum, he learned to use technology to maintain the operation of the human body. Later, he also passed on some of what he learned to student nurses, as a clinical instructor. Eventually, nursing provided me a path to medical school.

But before medical school, Wayne traveled another road, one that combined physics and metallurgy, Newton and Bernoulli, internal combustion and wings. His first memory, from the age of 3, was of sitting on his grandfather’s lap in a little airplane. That memory was the foundation of a love of all things aviation and space. The books he read chronicled Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. The maiden flight of the Columbia was during his first-grade year. Model rocketry provided for him what legos and Atari provided his peers during grade school. During nursing school, Wayne started taking the money he was making at the garage and bought flight lessons. His first check ride was days after he graduated from nursing school. He went on to get his Airframe and Powerplant mechanic’s license, and commercial licenses to fly gliders, airplanes, and helicopters.

Not surprisingly, Wayne gravitated toward the more technical specialties in medical school, also, and found anesthesiology to suit him well, with its mix of the skills he learned in nursing, combined with the advanced skills and knowledge that made up the specialty of the safe suspension of awareness, pain, fear, and movement.

Today, Wayne is raising a family of his own, using airplanes to make the most of his weekends, and learning to farm. His little farm raises sheep, goats, chickens, cattle, bees, and now industrial hemp.

When time allows, Wayne still enjoy other hobbies, such as playing music, talking on amateur radio, and now hosting his own podcast, Renaissance Online Radio.

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076 - wayne smith flying 750

An Inspirational Quote

Fortune favors the prepared mind. – Louis Pasteur

 About Teachers

So hard to pick. Larry Williams showed me what being a man meant while teaching me how to make a car live again. Joe Kirkpatrick gave me a chance to learn about customer service and dealing with the general public by letting me manage one of his auto parts stores when I was 17 and still recovering from a car accident. Dick Kaping taught me to know when to be perfect and when to say “TLAR” – That Looks About Right. Dr Warren Bagley gave me the chance to become an anesthesiologist, and, in the process, gave me the confidence to embrace all of my interests and to pursue more. He also introduced me to the American gun culture, a gift I will always value. These are just a few highlights of those who provided direction and example.

 Something Wayne Made Recently

A podcast! No, seriously, podcasting is very much an out-of-my-comfort-zone endeavor. And, as I make each podcast, I learn. To make the podcast better, I do research. The act of researching lets me connect what I already know to what I’ve not yet learned.

About Learning

Learning is a every-day many-times-a-day act for me, almost like eating or breathing. Patients bring their own experiences and their own diagnoses to me, and every day I learn new things. Today, I learned about a new drug. I also learned that NASA is hiring astronauts. Again. Learning ends only when we are preparing to return our carbon atoms to the environment.

Additional Notes

Connect with Wayne:

Mentioned in the Episode:

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Text Transcript Coming Soon!

“I chose healthcare, and since healthcare has a very tightly controlled entry no matter what part of healthcare you want to get into, you have to play by the rules in order to enter the game. You cannot hang a shingle out and say, ‘I will heal you,’ without credentials in this country.” –Dr. Wayne Smith


“To me, learning is secondary only to things like sleeping and breathing and eating. It is not something I so much think about as something I do as habit.” –Dr. Wayne Smith

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