In this podcast episode, I speak with physician career coach Heather Fork, MD, CPCC. She describes her own personal journey and her experiences helping physicians achieve the life they want.

I found this interview to be very inspiring. She distills years of coaching into a clear outline for career transition. In addition, her own transition, from clinical medicine to a career she loves, serves as a beacon of hope to those physicians in the throes of burnout.

I’ve been following Dr. Fork since I started my blog in 2016. I had a chance to meet her briefly at the 2017 SEAK Nonclinical Careers Conference. I’ve been anxious to speak with her about her experiences as a physician coach since starting this podcast.

career coach change

Heather is a Non-Clinical Career Coach and founder of The Doctor's Crossing. As a certified coach, she works with physicians who are seeking to renew and reinvigorate their careers and avoid burnout.

After practicing for 9 years in her own dermatology practice, she made the difficult decision to leave her practice and pursue a calling to serve others in a different way. Having gone through a career transition, she is able to integrate her experience, training, and abiding interest in her work to help other physicians find happiness, success, and fulfillment in their own lives and careers.

Heather describes her career transition during our conversation. As a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, she now helps physicians work through major career decisions.

From Dermatologist to Career Coach

During our conversation, Heather describes her journey from practicing physician to career coach. While her journey has some uniques twists and turns, her reasons for leaving clinical medicine are similar to those of many physicians. In addition to burnout, she has discovered several common drivers for career change in her clients.

She also describes why she enjoys her career as a coach for struggling physicians.

Dr. Fork's Model for Pursuing Career Change

Heather has developed a model to help her clients pursue career change. It is captured by the acronym CARPE DIEM. Here is the meaning behind each letter:

  • C is for Commitment;
  • A is for Assessment;
  • R is for Research;
  • P is for Preparation;
  • E is for Execution; and,
  • DIEM stands for “Do I Enjoy Medicine?

She provides an explanation of each component during our interview.

3 Successful Career Transitions

Next, Heather gives examples of three successful clients. Each of them demonstrates a different career transition:

  1. A family physician who left employment to create a unique private practice in which she spends more time with patients;
  2. An academic emergency medicine physician who left clinical medicine to work full-time for the ACGME;
  3. A pediatrician who became a clinical informaticist, reducing clinical activities from 16 to 4 shifts per month.

I enjoyed hearing about the physicians who pursued three very different careers with her help.

5 Mistakes to Avoid

Heather then describes five mistakes that physicians should try to avoid. One of those is being rushed. It is much better to be deliberate in the process of career change. As you become disenchanted, take time to explore alternatives early.

Listen to the episode to hear about other mistakes to avoid.

In Closing

You can find Heather Fork and her coaching services at Doctor's Crossing. Her blog posts can be found here.

If you'd like to contact her directly, simply email her at

Let’s end today’s episode with this quote:

career coach life you want

Next Time

In my next podcast episode, I'm planning to bring you an interview with a successful entrepreneur and consultant.

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Here is a list of resources mentioned in this episode:

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