Many people have been asking me about the CME (continuing medical education) industry. Most CME companies (also referred to as medical education and communication companies or MECCs) rely on funds from pharmaceutical companies to develop educational programs. To learn more about MECCs, I'd encourage you to take a look at the North American Association of Medical Education and Communication Companies, Inc., (NAAMECC) website.
There's an old, but interesting article on Medscape titled, "Medical Education and Communication Companies: How Ideal a Fit for Pharmacists?" It was published in 2003 and the world of CME has evolved dramatically over the last few years. Why? Because guidelines have changed and many pharma companies have reduced their funding for CME. Several MECCs (that only focus on CME) have closed recently. In the past, many MECCs used to work on a combination of CME and non-CME activities. These types of MECCs (that develop both CME and non-CME activities) are starting to disappear because of the stricter guidelines imposed by the ACCME (Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education). So if you're thinking about a non-clinical career, would you jump into the CME industry and join a MECC?
I just got back from a very short business trip to Chicago. Gone are the days of on-flight movies (unless you're on first class or a really long flight). Want to read about my experiences trying to be productive on the airplane? Read: Working on a Plane
Elance is a site where you can find freelance projects through a bidding system. There are currently several different projects for medical or scientific writers, including ghostwriting for books, reviewing documents for medical accuracy, and marketing some health products. Using sites like Elance (and others) may not be a bad way to start doing some little non-clinical projects here and there. I wouldn't suggest that you rely entirely on these types of bidding websites if you plan to build a freelance career out of medical writing. Bidding can be so unpredictable.
More people are finding ways to build an entire career out of freelance projects. I like to get involved in some small things once in a while, but I don't think I could ever live the life of a full-time freelancer. However, I think it can be very beneficial if you gain some freelancing experience as an independent contractor, especially given the current economic state. If you can show that you have some freelancing experience, then you're likely to successful finding those opportunities in the future.
A few years ago, I used to travel for work roughly every month. I would visit “clients” and have various types of meetings. I’d also attend some trade shows, seminars, and educational conventions that are related to my job. Now, I hardly travel at all. I like the fact that I get to spend more time with my family at home.
If you’re considering a transition into the non-clinical world of medicine, you may need to consider the possibility that you’ll be called to travel quite frequently. Many corporate positions require frequent (if not constant) travel. Some people really love that type of lifestyle, but I’m the type of person who’d rather spend time at home and only travel here and there (and only when necessary). I enjoy eating out but I’m not a huge fan of hotels. It always seems to take a day or two for me to get used to sleeping on a new bed.
Today, I’m in Chicago for work. Fortunately, I’m only here for one night and I’ll get to see my wife and kids soon if I don't get delayed at the airport.
Doctors often drive fancy cars, don’t they? Are we judged by the type of vehicle we drive? Our family recently purchased a Honda Pilot SUV and we love it! It’s a great vehicle that has an excellent reliability rating, superb gas mileage, and a roomy interior (compared to other full-size SUVs). I particularly like the nice 3rd row that folds down completely. You can actually seat 3 people back there and their knees won’t be up against their chest (unless they’re over 6 feet tall). I was also looking at the Toyota Highlander. For us, the critical factors were to have a vehicle that is safe, reliable, roomy, and relatively fuel-efficient. The all-wheel-drive feature found on our Pilot is great for winter and off-roading (we did a bit of that over the weekend when we went camping and hiking). I still love the outdoors and that’s probably why our other car is a Subaru.
When it comes to cars, I tend to be a very practical guy. I could drive a Honda Civic if I didn't need the cargo space of an SUV. I used to drive an Infiniti, but that’s because the car was handed down to me from family members. Maybe someday I’ll want to drive a Mercedes, a BMW M5, or a Lexus. I hope I never have a mid-life crisis that causes me to go out there and purchase a Corvette or Ferarri. I think my wife would kill me if I did that. At this point in my life (as a family guy), I’d rather save my money and use it towards gadgets and vacations. I love gadgets and my wife loves vacations. Neither one of us love luxury cars, so we can save there and budget accordingly.
So what type of car do you drive? If you currently drive a luxury car, could you go back and drive a non-luxury car? Are you trying to keep up with the Jones family or do you make practical decisions when it comes to cars? If you’re a physician, do you feel like you have to drive a “luxury” car to show others that you’re a successful doctor?
This is from an MIT Museum presentation on science journalism. MIT President Dr. Susan Hockfield states that science journalism “is now, and in the decades ahead, absolutely indispensable.” As we confront global warming and health pandemics, science reporting must be sustained, Hockfield says, “in its rightful place, at the top of the profession and in the thick of the national conversation.”
Speakers: Jill Abramson Managing Editor, The New York Times
Philip Hilts Director, Knight Science Journalism Fellowships, MIT
Cristine Russell Senior Fellow, Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Andrew Revkin Reporter and blogger, The New York Times
Ivan Oransky Managing Editor, Online, Scientific American (previously served as deputy editor of , editor in chief of the medical student section of the Journal of American Medical Association or JAMA.
Several of my family members went to Drexel University for medical school. This was in the days before it was called Drexel College of Medicine. Back in those days, we had the Medical College of Pennsylvania (MCP) and Hahnemann University. Then, those two medical schools combined to form a single medical school that included both names. Then, the schools became Drexel University. Much simpler than MCP Hahnemann.
If you're interested in clinical research, you may be interested to know that Drexel (and others) offer an online master's program: Master of Science in Clinical Research Organization and Management. The program is a 36-credit hour master's program for "busy physicians, physician assistants, nurses, clinical fellows, research coordinators, and individuals working in the field." You can find more information about this program by clicking here.
This 5 tracks of study:
New Product Research
Regulatory Compliance and Law
Biostatistics and Data Management
Clinical Research Management and Safety & Surveillance
Business and Strategic Planning of New Product Development
I'm a big fan of e-learning. I believe that if you can be disciplined to study independently, then you can do well in an online program where you need to take the initiative to complete your assignments and prepare for exams.
Many people wonder how my wife and I balance work and family. My wife is also a physician, but her work schedule is quite different from mine. We are currently fortunate enough to have family close by, so they help with the kids while my wife and I are at work.
The reality is that you will probably need to make some sacrifices during those early years when your children are very young. I know many women physicians who choose to do some non-clinical work from home during those years when their children are young. This gives them the flexibility to still do some work and maintain a meaningful income while their children are babies. They may even keep up with their clinical skills by moonlighting in the ER and/or urgent care clinics during the weekend. Some find time to do a bit of teaching at local medical schools and others may precept one day a week at a teaching hospital. Then, once their kids get older, some women physicians choose to go back into a clinical practice where they can balance work/family according to their needs. Others build a successful career in the non-clinical side of medicine and even maintain their living by even working from home.
I find that many executive recruiters are looking for physicians and other healthcare professionals who have expertise in oncology. Why? Because so much is happening in the world of oncology research. Think about all that has happened in the last few years! We've seen new biologics (targeted therapies), genetic tests, assays for oncogenes and tumor markers, novel mechanisms to detect residual disease (like circulating tumor cells), and much more! Oncology is truly an exciting area right now, especially because this is where technology and medicine are colliding to improve patient care. I encourage you to also read this: Novel Cancer Biomarkers, Oncogenes, and Targeted Therapies
I'm constantly approached by medical students, residents, and practicing physicians because they want to learn some practical tips to help them with their blogs. Blogging can be one type of non-clinical job that you may not have considered. There are some professional bloggers out there who make several thousand dollars each month (and some even make that much each day - but you won't get there overnight). The key is to have patience and persistence.
Here are some of the practical tips I often suggest for people who are starting out (consider these "medical blogging 101 tips"):
Remember that your content is the most critical factor that determines the success of your blog. Keep your content relevant to your audience.
Think of creative ways to engage your audience and to keep them on your site. Are you attracting medical students? Physicians? Patients?
Reach out to your social network and look for opportunities to exchange links to and from your site. Your goal should be to have a growing number of websites linking into your site.
Within your blog post, use a combination of links that go to other websites (links that go out your site) and links that go to old articles within your own website (links that stay in your site).
Use Twitter to increase traffic to your blog. I'll write more on that later. If you don't have a Twitter account, make sure you start one today.
Looking for a non-clinical job in health IT (information technology)? Look to HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society). The HIMSS JobMine is one good place to get started. Here are the different job categories in health IT:
Clinical Information Management
IT/Technology Management - Senior Level
Systems/Network Engineer, Programmer
Speaking of HIMSS, the HIMSS Virtual Conference & Expo is coming up next month. I attended last year (remember, it's a virtual experience) and I thought it was fun, interesting, and educational. I plan to attend again this year and I hope to see you there.
The #1 post continues to be the "Get Started" link at the top of this site and that seems to suggest that many visitors are coming here for the first time and looking for ways to break into the non-clinical world of medicine. I'm always open to suggestions on ways to improve this site. My goals is to help educate medical students, recent medical school graduates, and foreign (or international) medical graduates about the different opportunities that exist in the healthcare industry.
Membership update: We almost have 600 members in our "Non-Clinical Healthcare Professionals" network right now. At the end of April, we were close to 550 members, so right now we're growing at a rate of roughly 50 new members each month. I hope this trend continues as you tell others about this free social network.
Most of our members are physicians who have a strong interest in non-clinical opportunities or who are seasoned non-clinical physician executives. We also some medical students, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, dentists, chiropractors, and other healthcare professionals. Many are currently working in non-clinical roles while others are creating a transition plan. Joining this social network is a good way to meet others who share similar interests.
Are you looking for a job? Have you tried using Twitter? How about LinkedIn?
There's a great story on CNN about someone who sent a tweet saying, "I just got laid off..." and within a very short period of time she had an offer. Amazing? We live in a world where social networking plays a huge role in career opportunities. Don't underestimate the power of online social networking tools like LinkedIn and Twitter.
I hope you'll follow me on Twitter. I currently have over 6,500 followers and I may be able to help you find a job if it relates to healthcare, medicine, public health, technology, continuing education, marketing, pharma, biotech, managed care, consulting, market research, medical writing, research, venture capital, health information technology, medical informatics, personal health records, consumer health, recruiting, healthcare administration, and more.
I often meet physicians, medical students, and other healthcare professionals who are interested in non-clinical careers but they have no corporate work experience. I try to encourage medical students, residents, and practicing physicians to look for educational opportunities to gain some important fundamental business skills.
In the corporate environment, you're often working in very large teams and collaborating to achievee a common goal. It may remind you of those days when you're a senior resident and you're managing an intern and a few medical students. However, in the corporate world, the interpersonal dynamics can be very different from the hospital setting (where you're often mixed into different teams each month and you have frequent team member turnover).
Columbia Business School has a free webinar on the topic of "Creating Successful Teams." This one-hour complimentary webinar is a provided through Columbia Business School Executive Education and will be available on Wednesday June 10, 2009 at 1 pm Eastern. Here's a snippet from their website: "Don't miss this opportunity to learn how to manage teams more creatively and successfully—skills that are particularly important during difficult economic times.:
Here are a few examples of some current public health job openings in California (they are all related to HIV and AIDS and you must pass a civil service exam). Healthcare professionals who are looking for a transition into the non-clinical world of medicine may find some of these positions to be quite interesting. You can see that the salary range is also listed for each of these civil service jobs:
California Department of Public Health: Office of AIDS
Chief of the Surveillance, Research, and Evaluation Branch Civil service classification: Public Health Medical Administrator I Location: Sacramento, California Salary range: $136,800 - $162,468 annually This position is a California civil service position. In order to be eligible, a candidate must first apply for the Public Health Medical Administrator I civil service exam. Once the candidate has successfully completed the exam process, he/she can be considered for the Branch Chief position.
Medical Director Civil service classification: Public Health Medical Officer III Location: Sacramento, California Salary range: $112,776 - $154,716 annually This position is a California civil service position. In order to be eligible, a candidate must first apply for the Public Health Medical Officer III civil service exam. Once the candidate has successfully completed the exam process, he/she can be considered for the Medical Director position.
Chief of the HIV Prevention Research and Evaluation Section Civil service classification: Research Scientist Supervisor II Location: Sacramento, California Salary range: $90,864 - $109,872 annually This position is a California civil service position. In order to be eligible, a candidate must first apply for the Research Scientist Supervisor II civil service exam. Once the candidate has successfully completed the exam process, he/she can be considered for the Section Chief position.
Chief of the HIV Prevention Branch Civil service classification: Public Health Medical Administrator I Location: Sacramento, California Salary range: $136,800 - $162,468 annually This position is a California civil service position. In order to be eligible, a candidate must first apply for the Public Health Medical Administrator I civil service exam. Once the candidate has successfully completed the exam process, he/she can be considered for the Branch Chief position.
If you'd like more information about any of these job opportunities, please contact me.
If you plan to transition to a non-clinical career, start building your social network now. It's so critical to grow your network so that you can get your foot into doors of potential opportunity. It can be very difficult to go straight from clinical medicine to your "dream non-clinical job" unless you know some really influential people. Many clinicians ease into the transition by finding a job that may act as a stepping stone or a jumping board. After gaining a few years of non-clinical experience and really getting familiar with corporate policies, you may gain the necessary skills to springboard into a much better opportunity.
So how do you "break into" non-clinical opportunities? For many people, it starts through their social network. Do you use Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter? Plaxo? Ning? Reach out to the people within your professional social network and you may find some incredible opportunities out there. It's so critical to build a strong social network when you're transitioning from the clinical to the non-clinical world of medicine.
A "miserable intern" asked me a question the other day. The summarized question was: Should I continue through this miserable residency? I'm really interested in technology and I'm not even in the specialty of my choice because I didn't match into it. I hate internship and I want to quit. Help!
Here was my reply:
If you can stick with residency and complete it, you'll be in a much better position. I encourage you to do that. Maybe you'll be happier in a different specialty?
Why didn't you match into ? Is there something you can do to try again? If you're willing to devote 1 year to research, then you may have a solid chance. I know several students who were able to get into a very competitive residency because they were willing to devote a full year to research.
The world of health IT is growing rapidly, especially because of Obama's stimulus plan. There are many opportunities in this field, but you'll be in a better position to pursue most of them if you've completed your residency. In fact, you'll be in the best position if you complete a fellowship in medical informatics. Or, you can get a master's degree in bioinformatics, medical informatics, or health informatics. (Each university has a different term for this degree - isn't that confusing?)
Pursue that path and in several years (or more) you may find yourself being the Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO)/Director of Health Informatics somewhere. You can send me a check for my free advice when you get there!
I recently referred to a public salary website for Utah physicians (and other employees who receive taxpayer money for a portion of their salary). Some of the numbers seemed quite high, so I went to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections.
There, I found this: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition: Physicians and Surgeons (here, you'll probably get a more "average" perspective on physician salaries.
The U.S. Department of Labor indicates that: "Many physicians and surgeons work long, irregular hours. Over one-third of full-time physicians and surgeons worked 60 hours or more a week in 2006. Only 8 percent of all physicians and surgeons worked part-time, compared with 15 percent for all occupations."
There's no doubt that many physicians work too many hours. It's no wonder that so many get burned out and choose a non-clinical career!
What was also interesting was the section on Job Outlook: "Employment of physicians and surgeons is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. Job opportunities should be very good, especially for physicians and surgeons willing to practice in specialties—including family practice, internal medicine, and OB/GYN—or in rural and low-income areas where there is a perceived shortage of medical practitioners... Employment of physicians and surgeons is projected to grow 14 percent from 2006 to 2016, faster than the average for all occupations." Wow! This growth will definitely happen because new medical schools are opening in the United States and we always have foreign graduates who doing their residency here in the U.S.
Did you notice how the U.S. Department of Labor refers to the "perceived shortage of medical practitioners?"
I'd like to share bits and pieces of my book as I write different sections. I'm currently writing Chapter 5 and I'm using stories to illustrate some examples of non-clinical career options for medical school graduates. Here's a very rough draft segment of Chapter 1:
During medical school, one of my close friends (I’ll call her Sandy) decided that clinical medicine wasn’t right for her. She attended a prestigious undergraduate university, had stunning MCAT scores, and a perfect GPA. During medical school, she took some time off to get involved in research and she published several papers. Her attending thought that she was going to be a superstar physician. However, she didn’t enjoy the patient encounter and she struggled emotionally with the burdens associated with clinical care. She couldn’t sleep at night because she was so concerned about her patients in the ICU. Her clinical rotations were destroying her and she ultimately decided not to pursue residency.
When she told me that she wasn’t going to apply for residency, I was shocked and I didn’t know what she was going to do. In fact, she also didn’t know. Her school counselors tried to convince her to pursue clinical medicine. They made it sound like she would be wasting all her education if she didn’t practice medicine. Since she had some significant student loans, she really didn’t know what to do.
Sandy started doing some research and getting reconnected with her college colleagues. It didn’t take long, and during her fourth year of medical school, she was interviewing at various companies and exploring the possibilities that were out there in the world of non-clinical medicine. She loved to write, so she finally ended up working in a medical education company and worked her way up to be a Vice President of Medical Affairs.
There are many people like Sandy who find themselves in a position where they realize that they don’t want to practice medicine. Sandy didn’t enter medical school with the intent of pursuing a non-clinical career. She also didn’t have an MBA, so she wasn’t the business-minded physician executive.
Most medical schools don’t teach students about non-clinical career options. In fact, most medical schools don’t even teach students about some of the uncommon specialties like Preventive Medicine (and all the subspecialties within it such as Medical Toxicology and Undersea & Hyperbaric Medicine). Medical schools also don’t properly equip students about the business side of healthcare. I’m not just talking about practice management. Physicians should be educated about what happens within the medical industry. They should know what happens within pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies. They should also learn about market research practices and have a clear understanding of the differences between industry-supported marketing versus industry-supported certified medical education (CME). In the past, those two may have been considered synonymous, but that’s changed dramatically since the early 2000’s when the ACCME (Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education) updated its guidelines on certified continuing medical education. These are just a few examples of thing medical students don’t learn in medical school or residency training. As a result, physicians who decide to leave clinical practice end up feeling very lost about their options. I hope you’ll find this book to be helpful as I lay out my personal journey and share with you some of my insights as I’ve researched and written about various types of non-clinical opportunities for physicians.
Salary can be a touchy subject. People don't like to talk about it. Maybe they're embarrassed. Are you embarrassed about your salary? How would you feel if it were posted on a public website? Do people have the right to know your salary? What if part of your salary is paid by taxpayer dollars?
The state of Utah has a website that lists salaries of individuals who receive some of their income through taxpayer money. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? This includes physicians and other academic clinicians who are employed through a university hospital.
As a member of the UMass Amherst alumni network (I got my MPH through UMass Amhers), I'm going to put in a plug for the UMass Amherst MBA in Medical Management. You should know that the UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management has a partnership with the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE). That's how they promote their Online Part-Time MBA with a Focus in Medical Management. Recently, I've had a growing interest in business school. How about you?
If you're interested in learning more, then click here.
The Isenberg Part-Time MBA Program ranked 5th in the Northeast and 29th in the Nation by BusinessWeek.
I'll be reading the PEJ (Physician Executive Journal of Medical Management) over the weekend. Not familiar with the PEJ or the ACPE? It's published by the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE). If you're interested in medical management, I urge you to get your hands on a copy.
Have you been tweeting on Twitter? Are you familiar with Follow Friday? People will use the hash symbol (or pound symbol #) and place that in front of the combined word like this: #followfriday
This Twitter trend that supposedly began sometime in January has now blossomed into a Twitter ritual all over the world. The essence is to recommend someone and to encourage your friends/colleagues/contacts to follow this individual. So, a simple tweet would look like this:
Some of these sites attract millions of visitors each month. It's easy to create a website if you have a unique idea. You can start a blog! However, you need to know how to promote and market your idea. That's what may ultimately make or break your new business.
If you're considering a career switch into the non-clinical world of healthcare, I'd encourage you to invest some time and energy to enhance your computer skills. We now live in a mobile era where digital technology is ubiquitous and you will be expected to keep up with everyone else in the office. This means that you should get comfortable working on a laptop (or notebook) computer. If you've always had a desktop PC at home, consider getting a laptop so that you're familiar with some of the basics:
How do you turn on/off the wireless radio?
How do you connect it to a projector?
Of course, you'll also want to brush up on Microsoft Office. Office 2007 is quite different from the earlier versions (like Office 2003, Office XP, etc.). Finally, get very proficient with e-mail. You may not have an iPhone or BlackBerry now, but be prepared to use one if you join the corporate world of pharma/biotech/medical devices and other major healthcare industries. You may not carry a pager, but you'll probably be carrying something that's even worse (you may have no idea if you've never carried a PDA/smartphone).
The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) is announcing its 7th Annual Leadership Conference. The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA), founded in 1977, is a professional development and leadership association for women in the healthcare industry worldwide.
The theme this year is: "Limitless Leadership: Bridging Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond."
The conference is November 18 - 20, 2009 in San Francisco, CA
The HBA is a global organization dedicated to the advancement of women in healthcare, providing R.E.A.L. benefits for R.E.A.L. results:
Recognition for your contributions on and off the job
Expertise from over thousands of diverse industry professionals
Access to a wide variety of networking and mentoring programs
I've received many questions for physicians, medical students, and other healthcare professionals about Twitter. So, instead of writing tons of repetitive e-mails about social networking, I thought I'd start with this link: Twitter Tools. Here, you'll find 27 useful tools if you're new to using Twitter.
You may have noticed that this blog is now a part of the HCP Live Healthcare Professionals Network. You'll be hearing more about this over the next several weeks as things unfold. I'm very excited to be a part of this network (which includes bloggers like KevinMD). In the meanwhile, I invite you to explore my other blogs that are now a part of this network:
I've bumped into many physicians who enjoy writing and they want to get into some part-time medical writing. One way to gain some publicity is to start a blog. Have you started blogging yet? It may be hard to find time, so you can do a little bit here and there. I'm trying to keep up with all this blogging and I'm also writing a book, so I'm often typing away in the middle of the night. Medical blogs have recently received quite a bit of attention. If you ever need any help navigating the Blogger templates found on Google's free Blogspot/Blogger site, send me a note and I may be able to help you out.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's out there! If you're a mom and an MD (or DO), then you may want to consider joining this free organization called MomMD. It's a useful resource for women in medicine and they have a library of articles and a forum for members.
No, this isn't a job description or a job ad. Instead, it's a question. Would you consider working as an environmental health epidemiologist? You'd need to have some public health (or epidemiology) training, so I'd encourage you to get an MPH (Master of Public Health). You can get an MPH in one year through an intensive full-time program. Otherwise, you can take courses part-time and compete the degree in 2-3 years.
If this sounds interesting, then read my article on: Is it Dangerous to Live Next to Power Lines? This might give you a taste of what life might be like if you pursue a career in environmental health and/or epidemiology.
If you're new to Twitter, you may want to take a look at this NY Times article on Twitter. Twitter has become a powerful social networking tool. It has also become an effective business tool and it seems like more industries and major corporations are embracing Twitter as a marketing tactic. Why all the hype? Read the article and you'll understand.
If you're a physician, but you only see a few patients each week, should you get a lower rate on your malpractice insurance? What's all this talk about part-time malpractice insurance?
This question was answered by Medical Economics in a Q&A format, and the bottom line seems to be that malpractice insurance is determined by the number of hours you work and not by the volume of patients you see.
So, if you're thinking about reducing your clinical volume so that you can start exploring some non-clinical opportunities, think about the amount of time you'll be spending in your clinical practice. Maybe you'll qualify for part-time malpractice insurance if your hours in the medical office are less than 40 hours/week (I'm not an insurance agent, so maybe I shouldn't be making these types of statements).
Have you heard of "executive education?" If you're a physician executive, then you're probably quite familiar with the term. The Physician Leadership College is offered by the University of St. Thomas and if you want to get some executive education, then you may want to take a look at this program. The educational approach involves the following: * 18-month program * Curriculum based on 10 learning modules (3-5 days each) * Cohort-style learning environment * Executive coaching/mentorship
The program is created by the University of St. Thomas and sponsored by the Minnesota Medical Association.
I don't watch much television. Why? Because I spend my time blogging (and I'm also writing a book). Do you watch a lot of television? Several of my colleagues have Direct TV. The channel selection seems endless. This makes it very easy for them to watch popular medical shows like ER, Gray's Anatomy, House, and even General Hospital. I don't have time to watch most of these shows, but I may catch an occasional episode when I'm visiting a friend who has a Direct TV System. I also admit that I've used my computer to watch an occasional television show, but that's because I'm always sitting in front of my computer. If you enjoy these types of shows and you're interested in writing episodes for them, perhaps you can find some non-clinical writing opportunities in the entertainment industry. Care to move to Hollywood?
Sometimes I wonder about the future of satellite entertainment. For instance, what's going to happen with satellite radio? Will it survive? Satellite television is doing well and that's probably because all the medical programs are so popular among medical students, nurses, physicians, and even non-medical people. Medical students actually learn quite a bit by watching ER. Direct TV Service is getting very popular these days and I see ads for it all the time. According to the FCC, analog television will be gone and replaced with digital television June 12, 2009. Have you received your converter box already? Make sure you get some free coupons so that you don't have to purchase a converter box. That way, you won't have to miss an episode of ER.
For physicians who are looking for some part-time work in the non-clinical world of healthcare, blogging might be something to consider. If you enjoy writing and you've always wanted to author a book, then you can start with blogging. After you generate an audience, you may have some people who may be willing to purchase your book. I'm hoping that will be the case for the book that I'm currently writing. I'm on chapter 5 of my book and I think I'm about 1/3 of the way through.
So what is a blog? I get this question all the time. The simplest answer is this: a blog is an online journal. If you don't know what a journal is, then you need some English lessons my friend.
Wikipedia defines a blog as: "a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video."
You don't need any programming experience to start a blog. You simply need some basic computer skills, an Internet-connected computer, and some time to write. What are you passionate about? Do you like to teach? What do you like to lecture about? What are your hobbies? The beauty of a blog is that it can be about anything and everything. There are no rules beyond your typical code of conduct that reflects professionalism, courtesy, and respect. But even there, some people break all those rules and keep a blog that may be filled with cursing, slander, obscenity, crass language, racist comments, and all sorts of other rants and raves. I think you'll lose your readership if you write a blog like that.
You have to make your blog interesting so that it captures people's attention. It has to draw them back and you have to discuss topics of interest. Well, enough about blogging. Try it out and have some fun with it!
Part of my new book will include a section on how I received a master's degree while working full-time. I pursued an MPH (master's in public health) through the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst School of Public Health. I was in a program with hundreds of other students who were also taking courses while working.
One common misconception is that you must have a master's degree to be successful in the non-clinical world of medicine. I'd say that's a myth. You don't need a master's degree to be successful. It may be helpful, especially if you're able to make some meaningful connections through your alumni network, but it's far from necessary. As modern distance-learning technology continues to improve, it becomes easier and easier to pursue a degree at your own pace. Would you pursue an MBA if you could do it slowly over 5 years? I would.
My wife enjoys watching General Hospital, so that's probably the only reason why I know there's a character on that show named Lulu.
I'm currently in my 3rd chapter of writing my book. I don't anticipate that it will be anything famous because I'm writing it for a very specific audience: medical students and physicians. So, don't expect to see it displayed in the bookstore. However, maybe you'll be able to recommend it to a friend or a colleague. I hope you'll sign up for my updates or follow me on Twitter. I'll make a big announcement when my book's ready!
Some of the most interesting non-clinical jobs are at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). CNN is reporting how the CDC control room is active 24/7. That's right - get ready to go back to your old residency days before the 80-hr-work-week was enforced: sleepless nights, mugs of coffee, and lots of gum (or Altoids). The CDC currently has 400 people working on the H1N1 swine flu situation. I think they're going to need more than that.
I just got my copy of BusinessWeek. The front cover says, "The U.S. has 3 million job openings." It sure caught my eye. I quickly flipped to page 40 and started reading. The article starts with "... with 13 million people unemployed..."
So, even if there are 3 million jobs, there are 13 million unemployed. This still puts us in a horrible situation. However, if you work in healthcare, then you should be glad that your category (along with education) is at the top of the list with 625 thousand jobs (3.2% rate of job openings). I've been meeting financial analysts and consultants who've chosen to pursue medical school or pharmacy school so that they can have more stability for the long-term future. Is that insane, or are they being wise? At the end of the day, it boils down to a number of personal decisions that impact family, career, and one's future.
I'll be honest: this is probably not the best time to be transitioning from a clinical career to a non-clinical career (unless you stay within healthcare and work in medical management or healthcare administration). Let me make one other exception: if you pursue a career in health information technology (IT), then you have some real opportunities ahead.
Would you be interested in mentoring medical students, residents, and even other physicians who are interested in making the transition into the non-clinical field? If so, then please contact me so that we can develop something on the "Non-Clinical Healthcare Professionals" social network community.
I've started writing a book about my personal journey into the non-clinical world of medicine. Let me give you a tiny preview:
As an undergraduate student at MIT, I thought I was going to be a biomedical engineer. I studied mechanical engineering and got involved in cancer research. I applied to medical school and graduated. That was when I started meeting other MIT colleagues who had decided to pursue non-clinical healthcare careers. In some ways, that's when my journey began because I started asking the question: "What are my options if I graduate from medical school but I don't want to practice medicine?"