1. Evaluate why you want to get out of clinical medicine. Each doctor has a unique story. Start by evaluating current goals. Some doctors want more money, some want more recognition, some crave free time, and some want new challenges. You can use Careers Beyond Clinical Medicine or this list identify your goals. You must remember - your own personal goals are valid and worthy of follow through. Identify your goals and be proud of your career goals.
2. Learn about the options in the non-clinical world. There are many important roles for doctors in health care besides patient care. Non-clinical jobs for doctors is a catch-all label that covers a wide array of choices. Explore the resources around you to find out as much as you can about the different options and what to expect in terms of salary, time commitment, work environment, and future prospects for promotion. There are also opportunities completely outside of healthcare that you can excel at. You can find a substantial amount of useful information here on nonclinicaldoctors.com and there are useful links to help you find other online resources as well.
3. Match your goals to the available career options. Find the right fit for you. Narrow your career search to focus on the jobs that suit your current, and possibly future, career goals. You might decide to stay in patient care, but make some adjustments to your job. Or you may decide to stay in the medical field in a job that does not involve as much patient care as your current job, you might decide to leave patient care completely, or you might even decide to leave medicine completely. These physician success stories can help you get an idea of the day to day life of a non-clinical physician.
5. Taking Initiative
As you map out your next steps, there are three methods that you can use to approach your career transition:
- Self-guided: If you choose the self directed route, you can learn about non clinical jobs by talking to peers and recruiters. You can read books like Careers Beyond Clinical Medicine to understand the job descriptions, salary expectations, and requirements. You can identify job openings, write your cover letters, and fill out job applications. This self directed method is the one that most doctors have been able to use to effectively find a well paying non-clinical job in line with long term professional goals.
- A non-clinical careers course: There are a number of courses and seminars that provide doctors with advice and guidance in resume writing, linking with recruiters, and becoming qualified for non-clinical jobs. Hundreds of physicians attend these courses annually, and the vast majority have found them useful for career transitions.
- Find a personal coach/mentor: You can hire a professional career coach to review your qualifications, help you identify your priorities, point you in the right direction, and suggest potential career options for you. With this route, you can get personal one on one attention from an experienced professional, as well as an accountability partner.
6. Accept a good job and continue to prove to yourself and to others that you are an asset. Doctors can succeed in a variety of non-clinical fields. When doctors thrive on the non-clinical world, there are many winners, including the health care delivery system as a whole.
If you decide at any time throughout this process that you want to stay in clinical medicine, but you think you need to make some changes to your current work environment, don't delay improving your situation. Your patients will be better served if you are in a situation that is fair and productive. Every physician can and should achieve career satisfaction.