Monday, March 15, 2010

10 Questions to consider before leaving clinical medicine

I'm constantly speaking with physicians about non-clinical career options. Some physicians wish to work in venture capital or investment banking and others simply have no idea what they could do if they left clinical medicine. I often start my discussions with the following questions: 

1.    What are the 3 most important/valuable things in your life?
2.    If you didn't have to worry about money or finances, what would you want to do with your life?
3.    If you had to start over, would you choose medicine? (if so, the same specialty?) If not a career in medicine, then what type of career would you choose?
4.    How happy/miserable are you in your current clinical practice? (rate on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 = hate, 10 = love)  Assuming that you are not very happy right now: what do you dislike about practicing medicine?
5.    How much flexibility do you have to relocate?
6.    What is your minimum salary requirement for the next 2-3 years?
7.    How much time would you be willing to spend traveling for work?
8.    Is there a specific non-clinical career path that you’d like to pursue?
9.    Do you enjoy writing? teaching? (rate on a scale of 1-10, 10 = highest)
10.    How many physicians do you know who are currently working in a non-clinical setting?




If you're seriously thinking about a career change, think about these questions. It's a simple way to assess realistic expectations and goals for both the short-term and long-term future. There are so many additional questions that also must get asked, such as:
  • Are you willing to take risks if the potential benefits (and losses) may be great? 
  • Are you willing to go back to school?
  • How soon do you plan to leave medicine?
  • Will you have any regrets if you never return to clinical practice?
  • etc.
The list of questions can be endless, but I don't have time to get into all of those issues in a single conversation.  If you'd like to explore our personalized career coaching services, click here to learn more.

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