Physician moonlighting: Find variety in your side gigs

November 6, 2020
Suneel Dhand, MD
Suneel Dhand, MD

If you’re at a stage of your career where the world of moonlighting and per-diem work is attracting your attention, you will quickly find out that an array of opportunities awaits you

If you’re at a stage of your career where the world of moonlighting and per-diem work is attracting your attention, you will quickly find out that an array of opportunities awaits you. Evening and weekend telemedicine work, Saturday morning rounding in a hospital, Friday afternoon in a wellness clinic, or an odd day every now and again in an Urgent Care facility.

The choice is yours depending on the nature of the opportunity and your own schedule.

Many doctors who choose to undertake various side-gigs, find themselves happiest when they have variety in their work. Assuming they came from a traditional full-time position— be it inpatient or outpatient— their foray into this new way of working will immediately provide a welcome relief from what they are used to. As with any job, it’s the dullness and monotony that tends to kill their work life. That’s why doing different types of work, really suits doctors, and also ensures different challenges and skills are utilized.

For example, in a two-week stretch, this could involve 5 days seeing patients in the hospital, a couple of days in an outpatient setting, and a day or two doing work remotely (such as telemedicine or an insurance gig). And don’t forget days off inbetween! That’s just one example. But working in this way and mixing your schedule will never allow you to get bored or feel like you’re doing the same thing day in day out.

How this all works out for any physician (or surgeon) will of course depend on specialty, location, and the immediate job market—the strategy has to be tailored accordingly. And with a mentality of flexibility and willingness to try new things.

The bottom line for any moonlighting physician:

  • create your own schedule,
  • mix things up,
  • seek new challenges, and
  • get paid more at the same time.

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.