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How to Find a Non-Clinical Job


Physician career transitioning is a growth industry. How do you get there? Start by writing a SOAP note.

Physician career transitioning is a growth industry. Generational work-life attitudes, practice hassles, government regulations, and just the meteoric pace of healthcare change are forcing practitioners to reassess their commitment to clinical medicine.

A lot of them are plotting to pursue plan B. As a result, numerous conferences, seminars, websites, chat rooms, and consultants have emerged to capitalize on the opportunity, offering everything from emotional intelligence training, to headhunter services, to physician executive coaching. Unfortunately, most do not offer you specifics about how to find a specific job in a particular non-clinical domain.

12 Opportunities for Non-Clinical Work

There are many potential alternatives, all offering another way to help patients and add value at a profit.

  1. Advisor or member of board of directors of a startup, scale-up company
  2. Author or paid blogger
  3. Utilization review expert
  4. Physician entrepreneur
  5. Teledoc
  6. Medical legal expert witness
  7. Conference keynoter or speaker
  8. Medical editor
  9. Career coach
  10. Educator
  11. Consultant or advisor in external domains like finance, social media and marketing
  12. Consultant to payers or government entities

As you can see, doctors have several options.

If you decide to take the leap, consider following this process to get you to the next level. It will look familiar to doctors who think in terms of SOAP notes.

Like treating patients, your plan will include 4 steps:

  1. Take a personal history. Assess your physical and emotional assets and determine where you are now and where you want to go.
  2. Do a physical exam. Create a personal balance sheet, a monthly budget, and a statement of sources and uses of funds.
  3. Make a diagnosis. Are you in a position to make the change? What are your options given the diagnosis?
  4. Institute a treatment plan. What are the steps you need to take to achieve your goal?

Take a Personal History

Do a Physical Exam and Acquire Data

Make a Diagnosis

Create a Treatment Plan

Do a careful personal SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and create a plan that will move you from awareness to intention to decision to action. Be sure to have a frank conversation with your family about how you feel, where you are, and where you would like to go.Be sure to do a financial and wealth management inventory and create a plan that will provide you with the financial, social and emotional wherewithal to jump ship.Decide whether you have what it takes to make the transition, still need more work, or you will pass.If you decide to move forward, expand your education, build your networks, and get some experience in your new career pathway as soon as possible. Don't be afraid to bail if things are not what you expected and move to the next opportunity. There are now organizations, networks, and resources that can help you connect to others who are interested in life science commercialization and bioinnovation or alternative career ecosystems.

Find a coach, identify mentors and build a support network to help you once you've decided to transition from clinical practice or abandon it altogether. Network, network, network and get education, resources, and help from others who are like-minded.

Leaving clinical practice will be a lot easier if you follow a carefully planned career transition pathway. You are not alone. However, you will need to develop new knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors to be successful in your new job or career. Thousands of physicians are moving on and creating another chapter of their lives with a smile on their face. You can be one of them.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice