Career Options

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."

~ Maya Angelou

Career and Leadership Development for Physicians at ATHASMED.

Re-evaluating a career path can initially be a daunting task for physicians. Doctors are used to their career following a somewhat linear, clinical path. The thought of considering options that may not directly follow that route can feel unfamiliar and uncertain. However, there are a multitude of ways in which physicians can harness and direct their medical training and experience; their capacity for hard work and dedication; and their leadership qualities, into new arenas. At Athasmed, we work with physicians to discover which of the options below might help them meet their personal and professional goals.

Reinvigoration of a Clinical Career
There are many ways that physicians can breathe new life into their current clinical careers. This may take the form of reorganizing office work flow to enhance patient experience; introducing innovative strategies into the practice to meet patients’ needs; engaging with office staff to ensure that roles are clearly identified and valued; looking for ways to improve workplace culture as it pertains to respect, compassion and well-being. Taking steps to further skills in communication, teamwork, and leadership can be critical to satisfaction and success in clinical practice.

Non-clinical Careers
For many doctors exploring careers that have a less clinical focus is a way to continue to use their training and experience, but channel it into new and stimulating paths. Although, pursuit of non-clinical pathways may be motivated by current job dissatisfaction, it may also simply be a desire to develop other professional interests and talents. Some physicians may combine a clinical or non-clinical career, or transition completely into a non-clinical career. Some of the non-clinical pursuits open to doctors are in research; medical writing; the pharmaceutical or biomedical industry; medical education; medical review; etc. These two books are useful resources for detailed information on the careers listed below:

Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians by Steven Babitsky, Esq. and James J. Mangraviti, Jr., Esq.

50 Nonclinical Careers for Physicians by Sylvie Stacy

      Traditional Non-Clinical Careers

  1. Consulting
  2. Health Insurance
  3. Disability Insurance
  4. Media
  5. Occupational Health/Executive Health
  6. Government
  7. Non-Profits
  8. Entrepreneurship
  9. Informatics
  10. Inventions
  11. Administration
  12. Medical-Legal
  13. Pharma, Medical Device and Biotech (Industry)
  14. Marketing
  15. Advertising
  16. Communications
  17. Continuing Medical Education
  18. Workers' Compensation
  19. Independent Review Organizations
  20. Life Insurance
  21. Independent Medical Examiner

     Non-Traditional Non-Clinical Careers

  1. Sportscaster
  2. Political Pundit and CommentatorTeacher
  3. Forensic Handwriting Examiner
  4. Professional Coach
  5. Park Ranger
  6. Financial Advisor
  7. Wall Street Executive
  8. Politician
  9. Novelist
  10. Venture Capitalist
  11. Patent Attorney
  12. High-Tech Executive
  13. Politician
  14. Teacher


Further Training
Getting sub-specialty training is one way for physicians to potentially advance and strengthen their current career. In addition, some doctors may be interested in gaining education and credentialing in different fields such as a JD, MBA or MPH to expand their choices and opportunities as they go forward.

Encore Careers/ Volunteering
Developing an encore career can be one of the most satisfying ways to increase fulfillment and interest in everyday life. This may start as a hobby during full-time work or it may be an interest that is developed as job transition or retirement is contemplated. Many doctors are delighted to revive long dormant talents or to discover new ones. This also taps into the interest that some physicians may have in entrepreneurship.

Many doctors find that performing volunteer humanitarian work at home or abroad can be immensely rewarding. It can be a source of inspiration for finding new ways to make a difference and effect change. Various organizations are delighted to work with physicians not only because of their clinical skills, but also because of the dedication and leadership that they bring to their efforts.

There are a multitude of reasons why doctors may consider retirement. However, unless retirement has been precipitated by a crisis, it is wise to bring careful thought and planning to this next stage of life. This goes beyond regard for financial resources, but necessitates consideration of retirement location; relationships with family and friends; hobbies; health; and also especially how to maintain a sense of purpose. Loss of the latter can sabotage the best laid retirement plans, and can be particularly hard for physicians who have lead lives where strong purpose and commitment have been a cornerstone of their career

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