Exploit These Free and Low-Cost Tools – Episode 322

In today's episode, John dives into a treasure trove of the best first resources for physicians to access when seeking to transition into a nonclinical career.

He covers a range of tools and guidance. They range from a comprehensive website to a nudge in the right direction, this episode is a starting point for your nonclinical career journey.

Our Episode Sponsor

This week's episode sponsor is the From Here to There: Leveraging Virtual Medicine Program from Sandrow Consulting.

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Dr. Cherisa Sandrow and I discussed this in Podcast Episode 266. Cherisa and her team are now preparing to relaunch their comprehensive program for building and running your own telehealth business.

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The program starts soon, and there are a limited number of openings. To help you get a glimpse into the program, Sandrow Consulting is offering a series of FREE Webinars. Go to nonclinicalphysicians.com/freedom to sign up and learn why telehealth is the quickest way to begin your career journey.

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We're proud to have the University of Tennessee Physician Executive MBA Program, offered by the Haslam College of Business, as the sponsor of this podcast.

The UT PEMBA is the longest-running, and most highly respected physician-only MBA in the country. It has over 700 graduates. And, the program only takes one year to complete. 

By joining the UT Physician Executive MBA, you will develop the business and management skills you need to find a career that you love. To find out more, contact Dr. Kate Atchley’s office at (865) 974-6526 or go to nonclinicalphysicians.com/physicianmba.

Other Best First Resources to Help You

In this session, John provides an overview of fundamental resources for clinicians exploring nonclinical careers. He starts with books that address the process of career change head-on:

  1. Pivot by Jenny Blake
  2. Do You Feel Like You Wasted All That Training? by Michael McLaughlin
  3. Physicians' Pathways to Non-Traditional Careers and Leadership Opportunities, edited by Richard D. Urman and Jesse M. Ehrenfeld
  4. 50 Nonclinical Careers for Physicians, by Dr. Sylvie Stacy

John recommends several podcasts and online communities. They provide practical advice, real-life career change stories, and platforms for networking:

  1. Docs Outside the Box Podcast with Dr. Nii Darko
  2. Career Rx Podcast with Dr. Marjorie Stiegler
  3. Doctors Changing Medicine Podcast with Dr. Nneka Unachkwu
  4. BootstrapMD – Physician Entrepreneurs Podcast with Dr. Mike Woo-Ming
  5. Physician Nonclinical Career Hunters Facebook Group
  6. Physician Side Gigs Facebook Group
  7. Alternative Careers for Doctors Facebook Group
  8. Remote Careers for Physicians Facebook Group

In addition to these resources, John mentions SEAK, an organization dedicated to teaching physicians about nonclinical careers. SEAK offers online courses, books, and an annual conference. The annual conference held in Chicago in October serves as a comprehensive resource for career changers, featuring informative lectures and face-to-face access to dozens of expert mentors.

Other Online Resources

John also touches on the emerging trend of physician coaching, recommending the website physiciancoaches.com, which provides a directory of physician coaches in various specialties.

There are also useful websites such as Doctors Crossing, by Dr. Heather Fork, and Dr. Heidi Moawad's website Non Clinical Doctors.

Lastly, John reminds us of online summits like the one offered by NewScript in April called the Nonclinical Career Summit. The annual Summit provides free live access to 12 lectures over 3 evenings at no cost. Afterward, the recordings are available for lifetime access for a small fee. The 2023 lectures are still available at the NewScript Nonclinical Career Summit website.


John explores an array of resources for physicians navigating their transition into nonclinical and nontraditional careers. These resources encompass everything from in-depth conferences to online summits and physician coaching services. It's a comprehensive guide for those embarking on their journey to nontraditional medical careers.

NOTE: Look below for a transcript of today's episode. 

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Transcription PNC Podcast Episode 322

Best First Resources to Use Before You Start Your Nonclinical Career Journey

John: This is the fourth session. I'm trying to be real consistent and do these every week at the same time. I was thinking about what I would talk about today if we didn't have a lot of questions. In the future, I'll try to come prepared with questions from those that are being sent by email or posted in NewScript. Otherwise, we can take questions during the session.

But today what I want to talk about is just an overview of some of the basic resources for clinicians who are looking to change careers. I'm going to focus on careers today. In NewScript, of course, we talk about a lot of different things from burnout to self-limiting beliefs, to starting a small business, to finding something else to do part-time. Today, I'm just going to look at some resources that are focused mainly for physicians that are applicable to those early in the process of career change.

I'm going back a few years because I've done some podcasts and I've written some blog posts on some of these issues. And the resources that I generally talk about are books and maybe courses. I don't think I'm going to touch on any courses today. Mostly low cost resources, podcasts that have been out there for a while, and other resources that I've come across.

I'm just going to get started with the books. Now, oddly enough, the first resource I'm going to talk about is not really geared to specifically clinicians or even physicians. But it's a book called "Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One." It's a book by Jenny Blake. It's been out for a few years. She might even have a second edition out. I'm not sure. I don't think so.

But I found that the model that she walks through for finding and pursuing your first major job when you've been, let's say, in a profession for a while, it's a really good model. It addresses some of the mindset issues. It talks about how to plant yourself first and doing assessment, things like your interest, your passions, and also something that you're good at, which in our case, most of the members in NewScript are good at very, very many things. But I do recommend that.

And by the way, I'm going to go through a lot of these resources today. I'm not going to type these in the chat as we go. But what I'll do is I'll put everything that I mentioned today just on a one page resource, and I'll send it basically to everybody. I'll just go into NewScript and I'll do a post out to everybody. And attached with that post will be this list of resources that I talk about today.

I like that book. Most of the books I'm going to talk about, I have copies of here to show you. And the video that we're doing today will of course be recorded and there'll be a replay. So you can look at the video, but I don't have all the books to show you because some of them, I have an only electronic version of it. That's the first one I want to mention.

The second one is another one that's been out a long time. And again, I can show you this one. I think it was the first one that I ever purchased and read by Michael McLaughlin. It's called "Do You Feel Like You Wasted All That Training? Questions From Doctors Considering a Career Change." It's actually written in a format of questions and answers. It's literally about 150 pages of questions and answers. Everything from the results of considering a career change, the emotional, the feelings that can engender in you and then where to look for options and so forth. It's a little bit dated, but again, I'll put that in the list, but it's a good one.

If you look up the name of the authors on these, you'll find these books. For the first one, if you look up Jenny Blake, you'll be able to find her book. They're all on Amazon. If you look up Michael McLaughlin, you'll find his book. So, that's a good one. That's a Q&A and that's a general one for physicians. That's why it's really good. It addresses not doing a specific career. He has a LinkedIn group, I believe. I think it's called PNR. Anyway, if you look up in LinkedIn, Nonclinical Careers, you'll come up with his LinkedIn group. It's been there for a while and there's a little bit of activity there.

Then another one, it's been around a long time, and it's also a little different in the sense that it's a little more of an academic approach, but with specific jobs. And they're split up in a more, like a university would kind of look at career transition for physicians and other clinicians. And it's called "Physicians' Pathways to Non-Traditional Careers and Leadership Opportunities." I think this one is a little less practical but it's still useful and it can give you some good ideas. I'll put that on the list.

Now, the other one that I don't have a physical copy of, but I've read it online. It's like an Amazon version of the book called "Careers Beyond Clinical Medicine", and it's by Heidi Moawad. If you look up Heidi Moawad, she's the one that went from clinical to a nonclinical job over a decade ago, maybe two decades. And she is a neurologist. She's one of the early people I talked to about going into a utilization management or case management type position. And so, again, if you look up her name, you'll find that she talks about specific careers. She did a lot of personal research. The book I mentioned before, the more academic one actually has multiple authors because each chapter's by somebody different. But Heidi Moawad, again, she's kind of seen as an icon. She also has a website called Nonclinical Doctors. But if you look up Heidi Moawad on Amazon, you'll find her book. It has some really good insights and a list of types of careers, which you can also find on her website.

And then kind of the more recent one that I consider the Bible of nonclinical careers now is the one by Sylvie Stacy, "50 Nonclinical Careers for Physicians." This is about as complete as you're going to get that has a list of the most common nonclinical careers. And she covers some areas that many of us don't touch on very often like jobs and government as a whole section on jobs and government, and a section on public health, which includes the CDC level and NIH and other government jobs. And then the state public health, and then the local county public health and everything in between.

But she has it broken down by insurance companies, hospitals and health systems, consulting jobs, medical writing, marketing and advertising. She even addresses some of the radio personalities, TV personalities. Everything is sort of described in there, some estimates of what the income would be, which are probably not that accurate just because even within a year or two these things get dated.

But it's definitely one that if you're looking for a simple low cost resource. You don't have to read the whole book, you just look in those sections that are pertinent. And the thing about this is, it was published by the American Association for Physician Leadership. You can get it there or I think you can get it on Amazon as well.

Sylvie Stacy used to run the Look for Zebras website, which she has since sold that had a lot of the same information, which has now been compiled into this book, which was published at least three or four years ago now.

I usually promote or mention a couple of other books of friends of mine, colleagues, who are actually both podcasters as well, and are well-known in the nonclinical career arena. One is called "The Positioned Physician." I have a copy, but I don't have it handy. It's by Michael Woo-Ming. You might know him better as again, a podcaster. And if you look up "The Positioned Physician", you'll see that he has a second edition out.

And it's really more about setting up either a cash only medical company, or clinic, and also starting a consulting or coaching business. And it goes through there and it talks about some of the practical things from the standpoint of business, but also some of the mental hoops to jump through before you do something like that. And as I said, he updated it just a couple years ago. The newest edition is out and it's not expensive.

The other one is by Dr. Andrew Wilner called "The Locum Life." And it's specifically for those who are looking to go into locum tenens work as an alternative to typical clinical work. Now, obviously it is clinical, just as Mike Woo-Ming's book talks about opening an aesthetic or weight loss clinic that's also clinical. But obviously, they're clinical in a way that basically avoids the issue of dealing with an office, dealing with billing, dealing with working for a large corporate structure.

As a locums doctor, you technically may often do that, but you're kind of at arm's length. You don't get involved in the politics. You usually get paid more because they're struggling to fill those slots and it's usually obviously a temporary position. That's another book that I would recommend.

Now the other thing I want to talk about is some other resources that are not books. Here are some of the podcasts that I would recommend you consider besides watching or listening to my podcast. Docs Outside the Box is interesting. It's not always about careers, but there's a lot about careers in there. And it started, oh, good six or seven years ago. A lot of episodes where he is interviewing people doing interesting things with their careers.

The other would be the Career Rx with Marjorie Stiegler. That is a really good one. Lot of advice and a lot about pharma because that's the industry that Marjorie is now working in. She is an anesthesiologist, but she's now working mostly in pharma and then producing the podcast. And she has several courses, which can be of benefit as well.

The other one I would mention is EntreMD by Nneka Unachukwu. She's been on my podcast two or three times. She has maybe more things, but if you look up Dr. Una, you'll find everything that she does. And she has some courses and she focuses more on enhancing your income of your practice, improving your practice, and then also nonclinical non-practice based businesses and so forth. She's really dedicated to helping physicians and other clinicians thrive and overcome burnout by just doing something that they love. And then I would also mention the podcast BootstrapMD, which is Mike Woo-Ming's podcast.

Sometimes when I'm talking about this topic, I'll mention coaches. There are a lot of coaches out there now, a lot of physician coaches who coach physicians. It's very popular, but it's in high demand as well. And I think that the coaches that I know the best are really either full or not really doing one-on-one coaching anymore because they just have converted to doing group coaching and courses and things. Because it's an easier way to leverage that instead of going one by one. But there are many individual physician coaches.

And there is a company or an online resource run by Mike Woo-Ming called physiciancoaches.com, which has about 300 or 400 physician coaches in there doing different types of coaching. If you want to look somewhere where you can go through and see what type of coaching they do, what their background is, what their experience is, for most of the coaches, there's that kind of information. I would suggest that.

There are Facebook groups, of course, that are dedicated to this. And there's actually probably a lot more now than what I'm fully aware of, but I know that Laura McCain's group, Physician Nonclinical Career Hunters, PNC Hunters. Physician Nonclinical Career Hunters. I used to be an admin for her for that group until a couple of years ago. I know that it has over 20,000 members. It's fairly active, which is nice because in the smaller groups sometimes there aren't any posts for quite a while. Between herself and the people in there, they're always asking questions. And then there's a lot of coaches that will jump into that. So, if you're not in Physician Nonclinical Career Hunters Facebook group, I suggest you consider joining it.

You can always go to Facebook and use some kind of a pseudonym. You don't have to put in information that will expose your identity to at least the members that are in the group. Now at the Facebook level, you might have to put information in there so that they'll have it, but at least it won't be out to the public. There are many people in that group that have strange kind of pseudonyms. So, that's one way to get around that issue. But there's a lot of information there. And Laura also posts things in there as files that you can access.

Nisha Mehta has Physician Side Gigs, which has been around a long time, and it's probably got close to 100,000 members. It's a very diverse group. I think it seems to be more dedicated to women, but either way it doesn't really matter. There's all that information there. So you can check that out. There's another group called Alternative Careers for Doctors. There's one by Jonathan Vitale called Remote Careers for Physicians. As its name implies, he and his members, which I don't know, I think it's well over 10,000 members now talk about mostly remote careers, but that could be a lot of things. I think the vast majority in that group are dedicated to utilization management type, insurance jobs for insurance companies, payers of various sorts. But it's a good one. It's pretty active and a lot of ideas come out of that.

There's a lot of resources on Heather Fork's website, Doctors Crossing. A lot of freebies that are very useful. Lists of let's say UM companies. I think that's it as far as the basics. So you've got your podcasts, you've got your books, you've got your websites of the coaches that I mentioned today.

Those are the main basic resources for those that are just getting started that need something to get them going. Of course, when you're in NewScript, you can post a question about anything and somebody will generally answer. And so, I guess that's all I wanted to talk about today.

All right, I see there's a question here about SEEK. It's very apropos, very timely, and I think the others who listened to the replay may benefit from that. In fact, it was funny because I had interviewed Dr. Savi Chadha, who's an MSL, and his posts, his interview is going to be posted this coming Tuesday. And he mentioned at some point in that interview that he was a faculty for SEEK, and basically he serves as a mentor at SEEK.

SEEK is an organization that is actually dedicated to teaching mostly physicians about nonclinical careers. And it kind of dates back to the very early days, way before I started my podcast. And in fact I used one of the SEEK meetings as a way to identify guests for the podcast, because what SEEK does is they produce online, and it used to be on CDs and tapes, booklets and so forth, but they produce these courses for physicians in particular who are looking to switch to a nonclinical job.

I don't know the backstory completely, but it is run by two or three partners, father and son, and another partner. They're all attorneys. And I think they got into it because they were getting involved in teaching physicians how to become expert witnesses, which was like a really awesome part-time job. Most people that are expert witnesses, of course, don't quit practice because usually they can't work as expert witnesses after that. There's a few exceptions to that.

Anyway, then they started doing courses on becoming an expert witness, and some of those are really awesome. They also created a large directory of expert witnesses that you can pay to be in, and they will send you business because other attorneys buy that manual.

But one of the major parts of their whole enterprise is this annual SEEK meeting, which is every October in the Chicago area. For people that know Chicago, it's in Rosemont at one of the big conference centers. It's not downtown Chicago, but it's actually relatively close to O'Hare Airport for those that fly in. But I live close enough that I can drive to it.

Anyway, the way it is structured, the main part is two days, and you have a big plenary session at the beginning. Everybody's in the room. There's some big name so to speak who speaks on a topic about looking for a new nonclinical career. I went there as a participant, not as a mentor or a presenter, but I've been there twice as a participant, mainly to meet the people that were doing the presentations. And the presentations are very good. They're like 40 minutes each, 40 minutes to an hour. And you have back-to-back lectures going on.

You've probably gotten the same flyer that I have, and I think they do one session at a time, so you don't have to choose. There might be some concurrent sessions going on, but while they're doing the sessions, like I said, it is over two days. They'll cover a good 20 topics more or less in pretty good detail.

You'll have some talking about how to go into consulting, how to become a UM physician advisor for an insurance company or a medical director, how to do expert witness work, what kind of jobs are there in pharma, and so on and so forth. So, it's actually a good resource. And you get a booklet with the slides from everybody, and usually each person's going to give you some resources like where to find the job.

It's not necessarily for someone who has a particular job in mind, because you'll probably only have one or two hours devoted to that. Let's say you want to go into pharma. But if you're still at the beginning and you're really trying to sort through what your options might be, and they'll oftentimes get into the salaries and they'll get into how would you apply for this job? How would you prepare for the job, and so forth? So, it's a really good intro.

It is going to be held in October and it might be worth it. You come away with a lot of information. And the other thing that I should mention before I let you go is that during the conference they have mentors. There's at least 40 mentors. That means people like Laura McCain and I don't know if Heather Fork still does it, but she used to do it. Michelle Reilly used to do it. And Tom Davis, my partner in NewScript, he used to do it. I don't think he's going this year.

There's a lot of pretty big names, people that have written books, some of the books I've mentioned. I think Heidi maybe has been there before. Like I said, that's where I went to get some guests. There's a lot of information. You get to sign up to sit down with each of these mentors for 15 minutes. It's really quick. And you're trying to squeeze these things in with the other let's say a hundred or so participants or attendees. You're going to the live ones, during breaks you're all trying to get into the mentors and sometimes you have to skip one or two of the lectures if you want, or maybe skip all of them on a given day so you can sit down with each of the different mentors, pick their brains about the jobs that they do or what they're talking about.

And so, I don't get any compensation for promoting it. I tend not to promote it actively very much anymore, but it's there and it's the only one like it that I'm aware of. And now here at NewScript, of course, we did a summit last April and we're probably going to do this again next April, which is an online kind of a version of that, but it doesn't have the mentorship, which is really a big piece of that conference. It'd almost be worth it being able to commiserate with 40 or 50 mentors while you're there.

I hope that's helpful. If you have any questions about that, you can contact me in NewScript or send me an email.


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