Welcome back to the PNC podcast. It’s just me and I’m a day late in posting this week’s podcast.

My timetable for the podcast prep this week was a little compressed because I spent 2 days attending the 15th Annual SEAK Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians Conference. And that put me a little behind.

I recorded my observations during the conference, and I’m going to share those with you today.

I wouldn’t ordinarily spend an entire episode promoting a conference. However, many of you have asked about it, and I believe it’ll be helpful to tell you more about it. Some of you may need a little more information to help you decide whether to attend next year.

To be clear, I have no affiliation with SEAK. And I registered and paid to attend just like everybody else.

A Unique Resource for Physicians

But this is the only meeting that presents an overview of career options for physicians. The SEAK meeting has two other unique features.

  • 30 to 40 physicians working in nonclinical careers, including career coaches, meet with attendees in 15-minute appointments to give advice and answer questions about nonclinical options.
  • A small number of employers interested in recruiting physicians to nonclinical jobs attend the conference to answer questions and set up interviews.

This year’s meeting was held on October 20 and 21, at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel and Conference Center It's actually located in Rosemont, Illinois. That puts it only 10 minutes away from the airport. So, it’s easy to get to if you’re flying into Chicago.

2018 SEAK Conference meeting announcement

I happen to live just south of Chicago, so I was able to commute to and from the conference each day. As a result, I don’t have any insight into the hotel accommodations. But I didn’t hear of any complaints.

An Apology

Before I go any further, I want to apologize to one of my listeners. Shortly after arriving, as I was entering the conference space, one of the physician attendees said hello. And she mentioned that she enjoyed my podcast. I think I responded with a nod, and hardly slowed down, as I tried to locate one of the mentors.

I want you to know that I’m truly sorry that I didn’t stop to thank you for listening to the podcast, and for your encouragement. That was very rude of me.

I should have stopped to chat. I’d really like to hear what you have to say about the podcast, and if you have any suggestions for improving it. So, PLEASE — email me at john.jurica.md@gmail.com or call me at 815-263-3486 so I can apologize in person and chat for a few minutes.

The 2018 SEAK Conference

The conference is laid out well. All of the meetings were held next to the hall where mentors and vendors were set up.

The SEAK staff confirmed that the conference continues to grow, with attendance easily exceeding last year’s. I estimated that there were well over 400 physicians at the meeting.

In addition to attending the individual sessions, and catching up with friends, it was fun to speak with physicians at the meeting, to hear their stories.

For example, I had a chance to chat with a physician while waiting for the first plenary session to begin. I’ll call him “Robert” to keep up his anonymity. He appeared a bit somber, as he explained how he lost his license and had been unable to practice while involved in litigation to recover it.

His efforts were unsuccessful, so he decided to attend the meeting to learn about nonclinical careers he might pursue. Since I had attended last year’s meeting, I gave him advice to help him optimize his time at the meeting. I did catch up with him later to see how things were going. I’ll describe his comments later.

Feedback from Attendees

The enthusiasm and optimism that many of the attendees expressed by the end of the meeting impressed me.

At lunch on Sunday, I spoke with three physicians who were all very hopeful. An anesthesiologist nearing retirement was intrigued with becoming an expert witness. He plans to slowly build such a career part-time, while winding down his clinical activities. The others at the table identified several leads on careers they were going to evaluate further.

I spoke with a pediatric physiatrist, only a year into her clinical career. She found it unfulfilling and was considering several nonclinical alternatives.

Three physicians recognized me and told me that they enjoyed the podcast. That made my day. And it helps motivate me to continue. They also provided me with helpful feedback and ideas for future episodes.

2018 seak conference optimism

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

I ran into “Robert” several times during the conference, and each time he seemed very positive and more optimistic. When I asked him how things were going, he responded “fantastic” with a big smile on his face.

My Take-Aways

There were too many take-aways to list them all, but a few stood out for me.

  • The presenters and mentors all expressed a great deal of hope and optimism.
  • In just 2 days, we heard about more than 25 potential nonclinical careers or part-time jobs.
  • Many presenters emphasized the importance of networking as the foundation for finding a new position.
  • Several also mentioned the importance of maintaining a complete, professional-looking LinkedIn profile.
  • Pharmaceutical companies have multiple categories of nonclinical career opportunities – with variations in educational background, travel requirements, and ability to work from home.
  • Consulting, medical writing, and medical science liaison are often open to foreign medical graduates, and those who are not residency trained or board certified.
  • Hospitals, Independent Review Organizations, and health insurers need utilization reviewers. And previous experience is often not required.
  • Telemedicine can be a great job for physicians who prefer to work at home, or as a bridge when shifting from clinical to nonclinical work.
  • The field of hospital and health system quality improvement demonstrates a growing need for medical directors and chief quality officers.


I could go on, but you get the idea. There is an ever-expanding need for physicians willing and able to take on these and many other nonclinical careers.

Attending the SEAK Annual Conference is one way to learn about those careers, while obtaining mentoring and exploring employment opportunities.

I hope you found this episode helpful. If you have any questions for me, send me an email at johnjurica@nonclinical.buzzmybrand.net.

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Please join me next week for my review of the book The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks, and a discussion about how the principles presented in the book apply to your career transition.


The opinions expressed here are mine, and my guest where applicable. While the information published is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, there is no express or implied guarantee that using the methods discussed will lead to success in your career, life or business.

The opinions are my own, and my guest's, and not those of any organization(s) that I'm a member of, or affiliated with. The information presented is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only. It should not be construed as advice, such a medical, legal, tax, emotional or other types of advice.

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