Resources for Finding a Nonclinical Job

JANUARY 13, 2020
Heidi Moawad, MD
non-clinical jobsWhen looking for a nonclinical job, it can be difficult to find direction. There often seem to be many possibilities, but figuring out how to turn your interest in an area such as medical review or health writing into an actual paying job isn’t always straightforward. A number of useful resources can be helpful as your work towards securing a good nonclinical position that utilizes your medical training and compensates you as well as your work in patient care. 


Websites, Podcasts, and Social Media 

The most accessible tools you can use in your search for a non-clinical job are free and online. There are a number of websites and blogs that provide tips and job links to help you find a non-clinical position. For example, lookforzebras.com and nonclinicaldoctors.com provide updated job listings and strategies that you should know about when making the transition. 

Podcasts like Docs Outside the Box and The Physician Nonclinical Careers are focused on interviews with physicians who have left clinical practice for other professional endeavors. These stories and the voices of the physicians can be inspiring and may also provide you with ideas and steps you can take in your own transition. Another advantage of the podcasts is that when you hear physicians who work in nonclinical arenas discuss their work, you may recognize features of their jobs that are appealing or unattractive to you. 

Social media groups can also be good free resources for doctors who want to bounce ideas off peers. Many of these groups are private or closed and state that they only allow verified physicians to join. Group members often share company links and job openings, conferring about salaries and company ethics privately in discussion groups. Doctors can typically post and promote their own ongoing projects and receive feedback from peers. Many of the groups tend to have a positive vibe and an encouraging atmosphere, but it is important to keep in mind that your colleagues from work may also be group members—so posting details about your job or your discontent with your work could have unpleasant repercussions. 

These free resources are generally easy to navigate on your own. You can concentrate on your interests and learn about the numerous opportunities available for doctors in the changing healthcare landscape as you independently work towards finding a position that suits you. 


Books

In general, due to their length and publication criteria, professionally published books offer in depth and evergreen strategies for making a career change. Although they aren’t free, books are typically fairly inexpensive. There are a number of books about nonclinical careers in medicine, such as Leaving the Bedside, published by the American Medical Association. Many of the books about alternative physician career paths are self-published by physician authors who have made the transition themselves, so there is a wide variety when it comes to tone and overall goals of the publications. Some are designed to help you in your soul-searching process as you figure out what you might want to do with your career, some are focused on helping you create a plan of action, and others are written as personal memoirs. 

You might consider the in-depth approach of a book to be more helpful than a website or podcast if you are unsure how to present yourself to companies or how to maximize the advantages of your own work experience to strengthen your application.


Courses

There are a several courses geared toward physicians who are considering transitioning out of clinical practice. The oldest and most well-established, the SEAK course, provides lectures, networking, and brief coaching sessions. Newer courses, such as the Physicians Helping Physicians workshop, are emerging as well. Courses entail a financial investment that can include the cost of registration, travel, and accommodations. Generally, they do not usually provide CME credits and most physicians’ employers do not reimburse the cost. Thus, doctors who attend these courses typically use personal funds and do so during unpaid vacation time. 
You might decide that a course is right for you if you would prefer to meet people in person and make connections. You might also prefer the concentrated focus for a few days rather than spreading your job search sporadically over several minutes or hours at a time as you search on your own online. 


Coaches and Recruiters 

The most personalized type of assistance you can get when transitioning from a patient care job to a nonclinical position is by hiring a career coach or a professional mentor. There are many career coaches that provide services to help you think about what steps you need to take, and some can also help you find jobs to apply to, often guiding you as you put together your CV and cover letter. You will have to pay for the services of a mentor or coach, but you can usually talk with them ahead of time to see if their services and fees align with what you are looking for.

Sometimes a corporate recruiter can be helpful as well, but keep in mind that recruiters are generally paid by their client (the company who is looking for an employee) and therefore will not necessarily focus on your needs and will instead focus on their paying client. However, if a recruiter has many clients in the industry that you are looking for, they may present several jobs to you as the positions open.


Your Perfect Recipe

It can be a challenge to find a nonclinical position. The options are not the same for every doctor and the possibilities often vary based on your specialty and level of certification. The more qualified you are, the more likely you are to find a good job on your own. Navigating the process with free resources online is a bit like cooking a dish using a combination of recipes that you found online. Of course, some people prefer cookbooks that also explain more about the ingredients and include some variations on a recipe. And some prefer to learn and work on recipes under the direction of an expert. The financial investment involved in getting help from a coach or a course can pay off in the long run, especially if you want to make a fast transition or if you are looking for someone to guide you along the way.

In the end, you will ultimately decide on a combination of resources that works best for you.

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