Blue Collar, Blue Scrubs The Making of a Surgeon

Michael J. Collins, M.D.

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

304 Pages



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It looked for a while like Michael Collins would spend his life breaking concrete and throwing rocks for the Vittorio Scalese Construction Company. He liked the work and he liked the pay. But a chance remark by one of his coworkers made him realize that he wanted to involve himself in something bigger, something more meaningful than crushing rocks and drinking beer.

In his acclaimed first memoir, Hot Lights, Cold Steel, Collins wrote passionately about his four-year surgical residency at the prestigious Mayo Clinic. Blue Collar, Blue Scrubs turns back the clock, taking readers from his days as a construction worker to his entry into medical school, expertly infusing his journey to become a doctor with humanity, compassion, and humor. From the first time he delivers a baby to being surrounded by death and pain on a daily basis, Collins compellingly writes about how medicine makes him confront, in a deep and personal way, the nature of God and suffering—and how delicate life can be.


Praise for Blue Collar, Blue Scrubs

"Collins's gritty memoir traces his journey from a grimy construction pit to the hallowed halls of medicine. An engaging read—and a valuable reminder that doctors come from all walks of life."—Sandeep Jauhar, author of Intern

"Michael Collins's first book about his surgical training was a marvel for the way the powerful yet unadorned prose pulled you into a thrilling experience. Now he brings that same magic to an earlier and perhaps even more interesting chapter of his life: medical school and the years preceding. Blue Collar, Blue Scrubs is a gripping, humane, humorous, and enlightening read."—Abraham Verghese, author of My Own Country, The Tennis Partner, and Cutting for Stone

"Collins has a superb ear for dialogue, and his breezy style makes his world spring to life."—Kirkus Reviews

"Collins has a poet's soul, whether describing the sunrise through a laborer's eyes or what it means to be human through a physician's . . . Literary talent produces this fast-paced memoir filled with easy, unforced dialogue and authentic characters from all walks of life."—Booklist

"This is a perceptive, no-frills memoir of a surgeon who succeeded by dint of hard work and brains."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Michael J. Collins, M.D.

  • Michael J. Collins, M.D., served as the Chief Resident in Orthopedic Surgery at the Mayo Clinic and is now a successful orthopedic surgeon. He is the author of the acclaimed medical memoir Hot Lights, Cold Steel. He lives in Hinsdale, Illinois.

  • Dr. Michael J. Collins