How doctors can break free from corporate medicine

November 5, 2019

An increasing number of physicians are exploring options outside large corporations 

Moonlighting and doing per diem clinical work, used to be something that physicians only did at the start, or end, of their careers. This has quickly changed over the last few years as physicians-especially in generalist specialties-have become ever more frustrated with the administrative headaches that go with full-time employment. As increasing numbers are exploring further options, the question arises of how they can first start looking at alternative ways of working?

The standard thing for green, newly graduated doctors to do, immediately after residency and under pressure to have a secure income, is to accept a full-time contract from a big corporate employer (and that's understandable). Fast forward a few years, and lots of doctors have completely taken the leap to construct their own schedules by independently contracting with facilities, working less and earning more in the process. While it’s natural that any doctor may be nervous about going from a regular full-time job, straight to this type of arrangement, how should they begin?

Well, it’s advisable to just start with one moonlighting or per-diem gig, relatively close to home. It could be a local hospital, clinic or urgent care center-but the current demand in healthcare means that there’s very likely somewhere close to you, which is actively looking for help. If you are a primary care doctor, hospitalist, or emergency physician- you likely have evenings, weekends and days, when you can moonlight (as a side note: don’t exhaust yourself!). Go slow and test the water. Many physicians quickly realize that after the unavoidable headache of getting credentialed, the effort was well worth it (as you get to experience another facility, new colleagues, and earn a good supplemental income). From there, the path depends on your own circumstances. Some doctors will cut back at their main facility and pick up work at the new one. Others will start getting credentialed at more and more institutions, and rapidly move towards working out arrangements with each one. And with the flexibility and unlimited earning potential of working in this way, it’s no surprise how popular this is becoming. It's also great for healthcare, because facilities that are struggling to find enough coverage-have pools of doctors they can call for help.

So if you’re a physician wanting to get away from your full-time job, let DocsDox help you with taking that crucial first step!

Suneel Dhand, MD, is an internal medicine physician, author and speaker. He is the cofounder of DocsDox (, a service that helps physicians find local moonlighting and per diem opportunities, bypassing the expensive middleman.