There are plenty of options for non-clinical doctors! Here are 10 reasons you should read my new book on alternative careers.

Jun 1, 2020

My new book, 50 Nonclinical Careers for Physiciansis now available! Clinicians and non-clinical doctors alike now have this resource describing the many types of unconventional jobs available that utilize your medical training and experience outside of a clinical or hospital. You can buy the book on Amazon or the American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL) online store.  

Here are 10 reasons you should check out the book. 

1. Understanding your options is the best way get started in transitioning your career 

One of the most common concerns voiced by doctors interested in transitioning to a non-clinical job is they don’t know where to start. Not only are they unfamiliar with all the options available to them, they may not know where to turn to begin learning about those option and identifying which might be a good fit for them. 

Though it’s impossible to put together a completely comprehensive list of all the non-clinical careers that physicians can have, this book is closer to comprehensive than any other publication available. 

There is no more effective and efficient way to explore the various unconventional career opportunities available to you than to learn about them from a wide-ranging, yet thorough, source. This can assist you in moving from “I don’t know where to start” to having a solid idea of where to look next. 

2. You can objectively compare non-clinical job types 

Most physicians considering non-clinical careers learn about their options from multiple sources. It’s never a bad idea to cast a wide net when gathering information. However, a major issue with learning about non-clinical career options from multiple, fragmented sources is that it varies greatly in terms of quality, thoroughness, bias, and depth. 

You might find yourself reading a well-researched, detailed article about jobs for non-clinical doctors in the pharmaceutical industry. Then, you may come across a vague blog post giving a high-level overview of hospital administration jobs that was written as marketing material. Chances are that you come away with a more positive view of job options in the pharmaceutical industry. 

50 Nonclinical Careers for Physicians covers each career option in the same format. The approach to background research was similar for each job profile. Readers can compare apples to apples when learning about the different possibilities for their careers. 

Moreover, this book provides an organization to the array of non-clinical career options that makes sense. Some sources of information on alternative jobs for physicians jump around between industries, sectors, and job types, which can be somewhat confusing.  

3. False and misleading material may point you in the wrong direction 

A major problem with learning about non-clinical career options online is that the Web is burdened with false and misleading information. 

Many articles aimed at a physician audience are written by writers without a clinical or healthcare background. Some internet content, though it appears useful on the surface, is merely an advertisement for a certain product or service. 

Online communities such as Facebook groups are chock full of unsubstantiated claims and member opinions. Your request for recommendations about a non-clinical career options might be met with replies such as: 

“I know a doctor that went to work for NASA! You should apply there.” 

Or 

“You’ll never pay off your loans as a medical writer.” 

You can, in fact, work for NASA as a doctor. And it is true that many physician medical writers earn less, on average, than doctors in some other types of non-clinical jobs. But the truth is that most doctors seeking non-clinical jobs should probably not start house-hunting in Houston and most doctors could easily pay of their student loans as medical writers. 

In writing this book, my intent was to provide helpful, truthful, well-researched information with minimal bias and put into context. 

4. Apply to non-clinical jobs with confidence instead of trepidation 

Clinicians of any type applying to non-clinical positions for the first time often are nervous. They feel they are not qualified or that they lack any skills outside of patient care. 

An aim of this book is to convince readers that they have extensive knowledge and skill sets that are needed for a variety of non-clinical jobs. After reading it, you’ll be able to pinpoint what aspects of your professional experience will be valuable for the job types you choose to apply to. As a result, you’ll feel more confident in submitting your applications, interviewing, and getting started in your new role. 

5. An emphasis on using your existing skill set, rather than “leaving medicine” 

It’s common to hear doctors who are frustrated with their clinical jobs talk about wanting to “leave medicine.” Sure, you can leave medicine and become a barista or a high school English teacher. However, the vast majority of non-clinical doctors have not “left medicine.” 

Non-clinical careers in many different industries and sectors utilize a doctor’s experience and knowledge base extensively. Regardless of the setting you work in as a physician, your profession is medicine. Non-clinical doctors continue to use their medical skills and training, just in a different way than most clinicians are used to. 

50 Non-clinical Careers for Physicians focuses on how you can continue to be a medical doctor in an alternative role or setting, rather than how you can get out of the medical field. 

With this focus on why your contribution in a non-clinical role will be valuable to your organization or the population you serve, you’ll be able to start crafting professional goals to help you find fulfillment and motivate you. 

6. Valuable content on this topic is typically much more expensive 

For under $30, you can learn about 50 different non-clinical careers with this book. 

Obtaining a comprehensive overview of options for non-clinical doctors can be expensive. This can take the form of a conference, such as a SEAK conference, that requires you to pay a hefty registration fee, take time off from work, and travel to another city. I frequently hear doctors rave about SEAK conferences. They can be a great investment for many physicians considering a career change. That said, though, the price tag can be a barrier for some physicians. 

7. I won’t tell you to “just” start your own business 

In planning the content for this book, I deliberately chose to focus on full-time, employed job options for non-clinical doctors. There are a few sections that mention consulting work in a particular field and there is a “bonus” chapter discussing entrepreneurship and consulting. But the bulk of the book is geared toward careers in which you can take a job, do the work, and receive a regular paycheck. 

Too many information sources on alternative careers for physicians, in my opinion, focus too heavily on starting your own business. 

Starting a business can absolutely be rewarding and lucrative. Physicians have a fitting background for starting and leading businesses of many types. However, entrepreneurship is not a practical or attractive route for a lot of non-clinical doctors. There are a few reasons for this: 

  • The financial reward tends to be delayed. Startup costs can be high and profits may not be realized for a long time. With families to feed and loans to pay off, this is not acceptable for many doctors. 
  • The time requirement is immense. Wanting to decrease the amount of time spent at work is a driver for a lot of doctors seeking non-clinical roles. In most cases, starting a business will require a huge time commitment. 
  • There is a lot to learn. We’re not taught how to start and run a business in medical school. Many physicians are lacking business acumen. While the necessary knowledge can be learned either informally or through a degree program such as an MBA, not all physicians want to put in the time and effort to learn all the skills needed to operate and grow a business.

So, with a focus on careers for which there are full-time, employed positions available, this book keeps practicality front and center. 

8. Learn what you’d actually be doing day-to-day in a non-clinical job 

It’s easy to do a quick Google search and learn that you can have a career as a management consultant, medical science liaison, or a utilization management medical director. But, if you’re not already familiar with those roles, that search is likely to leave you wondering what you’d actually be doing in those positions. 

Each chapter of 50 Nonclinical Careers for Physicians includes details in 2 areas that I feel are lacking in many other sources of information for non-clinical doctors: 

  • The value that a physician provides in the role. It clarifies the purpose of the position and how a physician’s experience is used to carry out the duties of the job. 
  • Examples of job responsibilities. These are the actual day-to-day activities that doctors might be involved in for each job. 

With this detailed information, readers can determine if a particular job is something they’d actually enjoy and feel comfortable doing. 

9. Real-life examples and advice from non-clinical doctors 

Physician profiles in each of 10 career areas and sectors provide real-life examples of how doctors can find fulfillment in non-clinical jobs. 

There’s nothing quite like an example to illustrate hypothetical situations. 

In this book, you’ll read first-hand stories from docs who have some of the coolest nonclinical jobs available, including a pharmaceutical drug safety physician, the chief medical information officer for a hospital system, and the medical expert for the Dr. Oz show. 

10. Arm yourself with knowledge to lose the feeling of being “stuck” or dissatisfied 

Far too many physicians begin learning about non-clinical career options as a result of feeling “stuck” in their careers, burned out, or dissatisfied with clinical work. Ideally, we should learn about these alternatives at the same time we learn about medical specialties and the various clinical settings we can work in. 

Nevertheless, this book endeavors to make the most of a less-than-ideal situation. By arming yourself with knowledge about all the different paths your career can take, you’re much less likely to enter into a job search feeling like you’re stuck or that you’ll never be fulfilled as a physician. 

If any of the above points resonate with you, check out 50 Nonclinical Careers for Physicians and let me know what you think by leaving a review on Amazon

2 Comments

  1. Hellen Kim MD

    The problem, i have found, is that there are many of us and few of ‘them’ ie the non clinical jobs. There can only be one medical expert for Dr Oz so even if you wanted that job, its already taken!

    • L4Z

      It’s true that jobs for physicians in the entertainment industry are fewer than those in other industries, such as pharmaceuticals. But it would be nonsensical to dismiss an entire industry or sector because a specific job with a specific company is already taken. To say that the medical expert position with the Dr. Oz show is already taken is like saying that the senior medical director position for Sanofi’s hemophilia team is already taken. That may be a true statement, but there are plenty of other medical affairs positions with other pharma companies and in other therapeutic areas.

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