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50 Nonclinical Careers for Physicians Book

There is more to medicine…

…than hospital wards, exam rooms, and operating suites. There are fulfilling, lucrative career options for all types of doctors outside of direct patient care. Fifty of them, actually.

Read all about them in 50 Nonclinical Careers for Physicians: Fulfilling, Meaningful, and Lucrative Alternatives to Direct Patient Care.

Published by:

About The Book.

From pharmaceuticals to managed care to government to academia and beyond, 50 Nonclinical Careers for Physicians will bring you on a journey through all the paths that your career could take, pausing along the way to highlight the day-to-day work of a real-life McKinsey consultant, FDA Medical Officer, and the medical Chief of Staff from The Doctor Oz Show… plus many more.

Until now, there has been a dearth of digestible, actionable information about the breadth of nonclinical opportunities for doctors who are either burned out, frustrated with clinical care, or simply seeking something more out of their career.

This is the most comprehensive guide to unconventional career paths for medical professionals to date. It delves into job options in which physicians are needed for work that utilizes their medical knowledge and experience outside of traditional patient care settings.

There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.

—John F. Kennedy

James M. Dahle, MD, FACEP, Editor and Founder, The White Coat Investor, LLC

Nii-Daako Darko, DO, MBA, Trauma surgeon and host of Docs Outside the Box podcast

Paul Esselman, President of Cejka Search

John Whyte, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer at WebMD

Heather Fork, MD, MCC, Master Certified Coach and Founder of The Doctor’s Crossing

Here is What’s inside.


A Case for the Nonclinical Career

Our profession, as physicians, is medicine. This holds true regardless of career path or job title.

The knowledge earned through medical training is ours to keep. Barring significant brain injury or dementia, our medical experience will always shape our thinking and decision-making. It can be influential and even critical to jobs outside of traditional patient care settings.

Medical care provided to patients is informed by many external factors, such as the availability of treatment and technology, the extent to which the cost of services will be covered by a payer, and even patient preconceptions about their disease. The resources dedicated to these factors are substantial. The following are only a few examples:

  • Over $79 billion was spent on pharmaceutical research and development in the United States in 2018. (1)
  • Venture capital investments in U.S. companies were over $130 billion in 2018 and included close to 9000 deals, with life sciences companies reaching a decade high. (2)
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) operates with an annual budget of over $1 trillion. (3)

Physician involvement in each of these ultimately supports clinicians and health care facilities in delivering appropriate services at the point of care. Beyond direct patient care, it supports the services and products that promote overall health and disease prevention.

The Role of the Nonclinical Physician

Organizations hire physicians for nonclinical positions for many reasons. One physician’s job may have little in common with a physician’s job in another industry, company, or even division within the same company. Nonetheless, nonclinical roles share a broad goal: to improve health or reduce the disease burden of individuals or populations. Physicians in these roles accomplish this by assisting an organization in delivering high-quality, evidence-based health-related services or products to either consumers or the health care system.

What is Nonclinical Work?

The term nonclinical refers to work that doesn’t involve directly diagnosing and treating patients.

In most cases, nonclinical jobs don’t require an active medical license, because the physician doesn’t engage in the actual practice of medicine when carrying out the job’s tasks. However, as you’ll see in upcoming chapters, there are exceptions to this. Exceptions usually arise in health care services delivery settings in which nonclinical physician staff do, from time to time, get involved in making individual patient care decisions. In these cases, the requirement for a medical license has less to do with specific job responsibilities and more to do with liability.

A physician’s job can combine clinical and nonclinical work. This book focuses on careers in which there tend to be opportunities for jobs that are entirely nonclinical.

A Job Versus a Career

A job is the day-to-day work done for an employer in exchange for a paycheck. A career is the progress and actions taken over a period of time, which often involves a series of jobs or escalating responsibility. It includes professional growth, accumulation of experience, and movement toward goals…

Whether you’re looking for a an encore career, still in training, feeling lost, just beginning to explore your options, or wishing to branch out, this book will help you choose a path that best fits with your interests, goals, and expertise.

About the author.

Sylvie Stacy, MD, MPH

Sylvie Stacy received her MD from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and completed a residency in preventive medicine at Johns Hopkins, obtaining an MPH along the way. She has held nonclinical jobs in medical writing, medical education, utilization management, and clinical documentation improvement.

Realizing a mismatch between countless nonclinical opportunities for physicians and the large percentage of unfulfilled physicians who aren’t aware of these possibilities or how to go about making a transition in their careers, she set out to inform and educate her peers.

Her blog and online community, Look for Zebras, aims to equip medical professionals with the information and knowledge needed to take charge of their professional fulfillment and earn income doing work they enjoy.

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