You’ve done some soul-searching. You’re thinking about a non-clinical career choice. You’ve tried to address overwhelm and burnout, perhaps utilizing resources such as:
- Dike Drummond at The Happy MD
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- Physicians Helping Physicians
- Starla Fitch at Starla Fitch, MD
- Heather Fork at Doctor’s Crossing
You’ve come to the conclusion that you want to remain in healthcare, but not in direct patient care. What are your options?
There are numerous alternatives for physicians like us seeking a non-clinical career. We don’t have to abandon our calling to serve patients. We can still apply much of our knowledge and experience in a meaningful way that still challenge and excite us.
A Sampling of Options
Here are just a few of the careers you might consider exploring:
- Hospital Administration. I have outlined my path in Part 1 of this discussion and in my About page. For me it was a natural transition. It had the advantage of allowing me to remain in my community because I became an executive at a hospital where I was already practicing. Knowing the medical staff and community physicians was an advantage. The disadvantage was the challenge of overcoming the familiarity that can undermine the authority an outsider might enjoy.
- Physician Adviser/Utilization Review. All hospitals need assistance in complying with Medicare regulations and avoiding penalties through Recovery Audit Contractors. This is usually a part-time role. Sometimes it can be combined with assisting with a clinical documentation program. Working at multiple hospitals could create a full-time job. Or these skills could be used in a company that assists hospitals, like Executive Health Resources and others.
- Utilization Review for Insurers. When costly tests are ordered, there is often the need for pre-authorization. This process is usually started with a review by a nurse. A physician advisor is generally the second level of review. Sometimes there are retrospective reviews to confirm medical necessity for hospital admission. This is a job that requires training by the insurer. But it can be started part-time and then expanded. It also a job that can be done from home.
- Management Consulting. If you are willing to travel regularly, consulting may be a viable option. Healthcare consulting firms have specific roles for physicians. Some of the larger consulting firms include the Advisory Board Company, Health Advances, LLC, Huron Consulting and Navigant.
- Pharmaceutical Jobs. There are numerous jobs in the pharmaceutical industry, from marketing and sales, to research. Although a little dated (2012) this article provides a good starting point for those wishing to consider a career in this domain: Pharmaceutical Industry Jobs for Doctors.
- Writer/Author. This category can include writing for websites and blogs, working as a freelance writer for various journals and magazines, or writing for a CME provider that needs “enduring materials” (written educational content rather than live content). This is an option that can be started part-time.
- Many More. Other options include: teaching science classes to high school or college level students, starting your own company (consulting, coaching, recruiting, medical informatics, etc.), or working as a not-for-profit manager or executive.
And a Couple More Resources…
There are a couple of more resources that look very useful for those considering a new career. The first is a blog written by Joseph Kim, MD, MPH, MBA named NonClinicalJobs.com.
The second is a company (SEAK, Inc.) that produces an annual conference called Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians. The conferences have generally been held in Chicago in October. More information can be obtained by checking out this link: NonClinicalCareers.com. In addition to its annual conference, SEAK also produces live training seminars, DVD training and books that address specific non-clinical careers.
Are you aware of other resources? If so, tell me about them in the comments below!