Doctors can directly care for patients. But, doctors can also direct hospitals. Doctors can control payer reimbursement. Doctors can research cures for medical illnesses. Doctors can create biomedical devices. Doctors can inform and empower the public about issues of health and wellness. Doctors can educate the next generation of doctors. Doctors can take control of healthcare policy. Doctors can manage population health. And that list does not come close to including everything that doctors can do.
As a health care professional, you are not limited to specific a career model when it comes to your optimal professional path. Health care is not exclusively about patients going to doctors to get a prescription or to have a procedure. If you want to see how you can be a doctor outside of those confined definitions, you may be surprised to learn that you have more career options as a physician than you thought. After reading the following physician bios, write your own ideal bio that you envision 2 years from now.
Do you see yourself in one of these physician profiles?
*Dr. Zeek is an internist working as a medical officer for a health care consulting company. He has recently been promoted to a better position at his company, and relocated to another part of the country for the promotion. His duties include establishing goals for physician reviewers and nurse case managers and evaluating the results as well as coming up with ways to implement a better work flow. He attends at least 1-2 meetings per day, primarily with non-physicians, and he sees his role as a liaison between 'medical talk' and 'business talk.'
*Dr. Snyder is a gastroenterologist who is very active on local hospital committees. A private practice physician in a group of 5, he has built strong relationships with the hospital administration and has been able to negotiate a convenient and optimal scheduling process for his group's GI procedures. He also oversees a strong financial arrangement at the hospitals where his group has privileges. He has a great deal of influence on the group practice decisions as well as on hospital wide decisions.
*Dr. Perez is a nephrologist who runs three clinics with outpatient treatment facilities. He runs a practice that employs 68 staff members, 7 of whom are physicians. Dr. Perez no longer sees patients and is working on adding a clinical research site to his business.
*Dr. Levine is a family practice doctor who works part-time for a private group in a suburb of a medium city. She does not manage financial contracts and has arranged for a convenient schedule and a modest part-time salary. She knows many of her patients from the neighborhood or from her children's school and she is loved by her patients and by the staff, who always strive to make her day go smoothly.
*Dr. Lee is a neurologist who has a full-time tenured appointment at a major university. She has obtained research grants and runs a basic science research lab, occasionally consulting for pharmaceutical companies. Her work consists of about 10-20% patient care, with the remainder of her time devoted to research and teaching.
*Dr. Stucco is an OBGYN who no longer practices medicine and works as a full-time administrator in a suburban hospital. She has already changed professional administrative titles twice in the past 3 years, and while she loves her job and is compensated generously, she does not have a guaranteed position for more than one year at a time.
*Dr. Johnson is a PMNR specialist who holds a full-time job working for a national publisher. He edits medical books, educational videos and medical research articles. He also works with several medical schools on curriculum development.
*Dr. Kumar is a pediatrician who is one of 20 partners in med/peds group that covers 5 hospitals over a large geographic region. The financial reimbursement of each doctor in the group is based on volume. Dr. Kumar is proud that she works between 10-12 hours per day, seeing patients whenever the office is open. She takes more call than most of her partners, as the reimbursement for call is generous and straightforward, and some of her partners prefer not to take weekend and night call. She also takes emergency room shifts about twice per month. She is very happy with her arrangement and is building a large patient base.
Do you see yourself in any of the above stories? Or do you see a completely different career trajectory for yourself? One of the strategies I often tell doctors to use in constructing a realistic career path is building a narrative. Write a few paragraphs describing your own ideal bio 2 years from now so that you will have a defined objective in your sight as you work towards building your career.
Explore nonclinicaldoctors.com to learn more about the methods you can use to reach your professional goals as a healthcare professional to make that ideal bio a reality. Or see Careers Beyond Clinical Medicine to get the details behind each type of non-clinical position. As an added incentive for yourself- send your future bio to nonclinicaldoctors.com today and then send in your story in 2 years to be featured as a physician success story.