Why would a physician pursue a nonclinical career? Well, it turns out that a nonclinical career can be just as challenging and intellectually stimulating as a clinical career. At times, it may yield a higher income than clinical medicine. Many nonclinical careers have the ability to decouple your income from the number of patients seen or hours worked. It is possible to leverage one's medical education and knowledge of healthcare to move into a nonclinical career that pays based on the ideas that you have, or the value that you bring, rather than the hours spent on the job.
Thirty years ago, it was unusual to hear about a physician working in a nonclinical career. But because of the increasing complexity of medical care and medical practice, there has been an increasing demand for professionals who have mastered the field of medicine plus other fields, such as healthcare law, health system leadership, and informatics. To get into a nonclinical career is often not an easy process. Part of this difficulty is that many physicians do not realize that such careers exist. And when they begin to contemplate the idea of pursuing a nonclinical career, they sometimes don't know where to start. The first step is to recognize that there are many nonclinical careers and begin to learn what’s available. Next, physicians should do a little introspection and try to identify nonclinical careers that best fit with their personality, skills and interests. Early nonclinical careers were limited to hospital utilization review and legal work as a medical expert. But in recent years, we've seen an explosion of nonclinical careers.
Today it’s not unusual to pursue a nonclinical career as a medical writer, medical science liaison, health system executive, life insurance medical director, biotech start-up advisor, hospital medical director, or insurance company physician advisor. The path to pursuing and landing a nonclinical career is different for each career, although there are some similarities in how to approach the process. Some of the more fruitful tactics for pursuing a nonclinical career include the following tactics. First, after identifying possible attractive nonclinical career options, identify and engage one or more mentors. Learning about the new career, the first steps to take and mistakes to avoid, are the benefits of working with a good mentor. Another tactic is to identify and join appropriate professional organizations. They will often be a good source of mentors. And they can provide networking opportunities and formal training in a chosen field.
One excellent online resource that can accelerate a nonclinical career is LinkedIn. Using this social media site, physicians should create a complete profile that serves as an online resume.
Physicians may join LinkedIn groups affiliated with professional organizations that align with their career interests. And they should use the platform to network with others and find coaches
or mentors. And LinkedIn has an extensive job board on which to start a job search. In some cases, the transition to a nonclinical career might require additional certifications or
degrees. For example, becoming a health system, insurance company, or pharmaceutical executive might entail completing a business degree, such as an MBA or an MHA. Working in
informatics might require a master's degree or certification in a computer-related field. Even a utilization specialist or clinical documentation advisor will benefit from obtaining a certification from one of the appropriate professional organizations. Ultimately, once the transition to a nonclinical career has been completed, it is often the starting
point for a new period of discovery and growth. Many new opportunities often follow. Physicians should certainly consider exploring the possibilities in the expanding world of nonclinical