Recent surveys of doctors and other health care providers reveal that the great majority have considered looking into a non-clinical or non- traditional job. The stresses associated with defensive medicine, healthcare regulations and reimbursement issues have been almost too much for many health care professionals to bear for the long-term. Many well-qualified health care professionals want to get out of direct patient care. The transition into a leadership position or a non-patient care job has been a satisfying career move for many physicians, nurses, therapists and pharmacists. Searches for non-clinical opportunities, and non-medical health care work generate high traffic on the internet.
The key to an effective transition lies in a degree of know-how beyond the usual background of most health care professionals. Lists of the different types and categories of health care jobs and non-clinical jobs are abundant online. List after list of "great opportunities for doctors", or "options for health care professionals", state that doctors can get writing jobs, enter politics, rise to executive positions and leadership roles. However, these lists do not provide actual job opportunities. Looking through lists of possible career options makes the matter worse for many professionals who find themselves reading seemingly empty statements like, "there are so many leadership positions" or "there are many lucrative opportunities for medical writing".
The lists are disappointing. I hear from discouraged health care professionals and doctors who suffer from a double whammy of dissatisfaction at work coupled with lists of "jobs that you can transition into". What is missing from lists is the crucial information about where to find a good position and how to get one of these health care jobs. A list is just a list and doctors reach out to tell me that they have read many lists online but do not know what to do next. In fact, some doctors become depressed after seeing lists because this overly concise information makes them feel inadequate if they have not been recruited into one of the many non-clinical opportunities.
Detailed step by step instructions can guide a doctor to identify the right non-clinical position for which he is qualified and help him to proceed to effectively get a good job within a reasonable amount of time.
Sometimes looking at lists is depressing. There are so many great options, why don't I have one of them? The reason is that knowing a great job exists is not the same as having the right information to get that great job. Learning from those who have been there and who have inside information that they want to share to help you succeed is the best way to know which steps to take to reach your goals. Don't be discouraged if you have seen what the possibilities are, yet feel helpless in reaching them. Learn how to take the steps you need to reach your goals.
Heidi Moawad MD is author of Careers Beyond Clinical Medicine, an instructional book for health care professionals who are looking for career alternatives.