How to Get a Non-Clinical Job in Healthcare
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's 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. If you have not already built experience during your medical school and residency, you can enter into the area of research later in your career. And some physicians work in the research field without doing a residency—usually starting at an entry level and gradually taking on more and more responsibility and leadership.
You can acquire experience by starting in an entry level position:
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 reimbursement. Some doctors choose to take the MBA route. All of these strategies can work.
The key is to learn the language and processes that drive healthcare administration and business and to practice working with others to achieve demonstrable outcomes. 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 proving 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. When others can vouch for your leadership capabilities by saying that you are the person to turn to in times of need, you can confidently say that you have what it takes to be a leader.
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. Health and medical writing can be a lucrative field if you make your work valuable from a business perspective.
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 pre-authorization and 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.
Consider serving on your hospital utilization committee or participating in your specialty guideline group if you are considering applying for a position in utilization review. See a list of chart review companies here.
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 as you ask yourself whether you are a strong candidate?
There are several ways to figure out if you are a strong candidate:
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.