Finding a non-clinical job in health care is realistic for any physician or health care professional. For those who hope to move into a non-traditional career path, the mission can seem overwhelming. And for those who have already tried to venture into the non-clinical work force, yet have had their attempts ignored or rejected, the unfulfilled goal can be depressing. The New Year is a symbolic season for a fresh attitude and a good time to make a definitive, well-thought-out plan. The right road map is the key to navigating the somewhat ambiguous professional territory of non-clinical work in the health care field. Following these 5 steps will make the difference between unproductive efforts and actually locking-in the right job.
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1. Assess your personal and professional goals in light of your current qualifications. There are specialized career counselors and coaches who can help you with this process. I also have self-test specifically devised for health care professionals in my book. Or, you might find this step is best to do on your own or with a spouse, family member, friend or mentor. It is critical to get a handle on what you want to achieve out of life and how your job fits into that before you begin. This will keep you focused on jobs that are suitable for you in the short-term and in the long-term.
2. Learn about the non-clinical world. Find out what your professional options are. You have an abundance of professional options. The United States spends trillions of dollars each year on health care. A relatively small proportion of that spending goes to direct patient care. If you have health care knowledge, education, skills and certification, there is certainly ample opportunity for you to find a non-clinical job in the health care field. Reach out to trusted colleagues or professionals to learn about your options. Or, if you don't have contacts with a wide range of information, learn about the options available in the health care field through reading material or authoritative websites. There are far too many available options for you to cast a wide net in your job search. Find out the details about non-clinical work before you get started. You might decide that administration, regulation, education or any of a wide range of niches within the medical field is best for you once you learn about the job expectations, salary, and environment. Choose non-clinical options that fit with the goals you outlined in step 1.
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3. Become knowledgeable about your prospective jobs. Few, if any, companies want to pay and mentor a dissatisfied physician, nurse or pharmacist through the process of learning a new skill. Know your options and thoroughly understand the specific industry or company and what their goals are. Become familiar with the skills you need to succeed in whatever you decide to do.
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4. Reach out to your industry of choice. After working through steps 2 and 3, you should have a good idea of the best approach for applying to jobs in your field of interest. Make contacts, follow up and stay on track. Follow a schedule and do not let yourself become intimidated or discouraged by rejection. Doctors transitioning into non-clinical careers almost always make 3-5 attempts at finding a job before receiving a job offer.
5. Accept the offer that is most attractive in light of your goals and start your transition. Make a transition plan that maintains a good continued professional relationship with former colleagues. Work towards a good professional reputation in your new position.
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About the Author
Heidi Moawad, MD is author of Careers Beyond Clinical Medicine, an instructional book for health care professionals who are looking for career alternatives.