Thursday, May 13, 2010

15 reasons why physicians may choose to pursue alternative careers

There are so many reasons why physicians choose to leave, but let me list a few so that people don't make any quick assumptions:
  1. Financial gain (we can't deny that some pursue non-clinical opportunities because of the potential for higher income generation)
  2. Improved work/life balance (even at the cost of lower income for some physicians)
  3. Disability (yes, doctors can get disabled, but in many cases they can continue to work and still collect disability - depending on the type of insurance you purchased)
  4. Instability (you may not be disabled, but you may be impaired for a variety of reasons. some lose their medical license. others may lose hospital privileges.)
  5. They find new opportunities (if you're an entrepreneur and you identify a huge opportunity, why not?)
  6. To have a blended career (30% clinical, 30% non-clinical, 30% at home)
  7. To work from home (if you're working virtually, then you can work from anywhere in the world)
  8. Burn out (yes, it happens to everyone. I hope you can bounce back)
  9. Rising malpractice premiums (especially true if you've been sued several times)
  10. Emotional drain (if you're working in hospice, geriatrics, or oncology, then you're faced with death all the time. how would you handle that?)
  11. To travel the world (some love to travel, so why not travel on the company's budget? jobs in sales, consulting, or media. Where do you think Sanjay Gupta's been?)
  12. To work in public health (FDA, state health departments, and many international public health jobs with the WHO)
  13. Government benefits (medical officer jobs with the FDA, the NIH, etc.)
  14. Of course, there are also those who simply wish to avoid the smell of gangrenous wounds and colostomy pouches. Or, maybe they don't wish to ever perform another Pap smear. Or, maybe they're tired of dealing with certain types of patients. This list goes on...
  15. Healthcare reform (really? Yes. Make sure to read:  How many doctors will leave medicine this year?)
These 15 reasons aren't in any particular order, but they ought to give you a sense of some of the driving motivators that cause physicians to leave a career in medicine. 

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