I hear from so many doctors who tell me that they are trying to leave clinical medicine and can't seem to get a job outside of direct patient care. Sometimes, a physician looking to make a transition outside of patient care needs to acquire just a few additional qualifications to become a strong candidate for the job. It is important to make yourself the best candidate you can be for the non-clinical positions that you want to apply for, and you can do that by devoting a reasonable amount of time and attention to the process.
Below are a few examples of common non-clinical careers for doctors and what you need to do to get there.
If you want to work as a lead researcher in a pharmaceutical company, you need to gain demonstrable research experience. You can do this in a university setting as a post-doc, in an entry level position at a pharmaceutical company or at a government research organization that trains scientific investigators. There are also several programs that can help international physicians gain experience in research.
If you want to work in the business side of medicine, either on the payer side or on the administrative side, you can start by joining a hospital committee or by taking your specialty organization courses on medical finance. Some doctors choose to take the MBA route. All of these strategies can work. Learn how you can better understand the business and/or regulatory side of medicine here.
If your objective is to become a leader, you need to start by demonstrating that you can lead. Surprisingly, this doesn't mean that you should demonstrate that you know how to intimidate people or boss them around. You need to start by making things work within your professional environment- and that means making agreements happen and making things run smoothly.
In order to be paid to write, you have to prove that you can write well. This is a tough area to break into, but you can begin by working on a team to write an academic paper for a peer reviewed journal or by submitting an article to an online blog. You cannot expect to be paid to write until you have demonstrated that your writing is good enough for a company to pay you to write for them. You can get started by submitting an article to nonclinicaldoctors.com to see how an audience responds to your writing and also to use the article as a writing sample if you apply for a writing job.
The world of utilization review is becoming more regulated. Clinical practice or previous work on specialty guidelines is often an unofficial prerequisite for this type of work. A medical license or board certification is typically a requirement for medical review work
Applying for a non-clinical job should not be stressful. Be prepared to devote some time and energy to learning about non-clinical jobs before you apply. A knowledgeable applicant is the strongest applicant.
Once you know the qualifications a doctor needs to get a non-clinical job, be honest with yourself-are you a strong candidate?
There are several ways to figure out if you are a strong candidate. You can try to find a recruiter to ask directly. I have known several recruiters who are willing to give a look to a CV and give thoughtful feedback.
To figure out some answers about your qualification for non-clinical jobs on your own, you can search for the companies that hire doctors for the type of job you want. (Find some links to companies here. ) Take the time to read each organization’s mission statements and what they expect to achieve. Look through the biographies of members of their leadership team, and review the qualifications of the people who hold the job you aspire to. Then honestly ask yourself- 'where do I stack up?'
At this point, you can decide whether you are ready or whether you need to take some time to build up your qualifications.
Making yourself a strong candidate
To build your qualifications for the non-clinical job you want, you need to be purposeful in your approach. You need to establish skills or qualifications if you don't have them already.
The biggest mistake doctors make when applying for non-clinical jobs is saying, "I can do any job." Find out how to avoid mistakes when looking for a non-clinical job.