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Fed Up With Clinical Practice, What Is Next?

An international survey reports that only 6% of doctors are happy with their patient care jobs. They commit suicide at twice the rate of the general population. Over half are unsure they would recommend the practice of medicine to young people. Especially, in a country like India with increasing violence and less security, doctors want to leave the domain of patient care and move into some other field.

Being the best mind in the population there can be many more avenues for them. But what are those alternative paths? The growing disconnect between doctor and patient care has probably contributed to the looming shortage of physicians in our country. The young generation is not being encouraged enough to take up this profession, as the job lack variety and has become like everyone else: insecure, discontent and scared about the future.
Even people who are into patient care, are looking for newer opportunities to change their profession. The motivation for changing the role of a physician can be different and it is an individual choice. It can be any of the following Money: Looking for something more rewarding. Job satisfaction: Increasing violence against doctor have created an aversion for sticking to this profession. Some doctors want to get over the monotony of seeing patients on a regular basis.

The need for more family time: The profession has burned out many physicians and they want some space from their job. Pursuing new challenges: The boredom may lead many physicians to try out an “encore career” based on their interest or passion. Under these circumstances, if a physician decides to change the course of his career, the following can be few options for them. 1. Hospital administration Hospital administration has become one of the most lucrative careers in the fast-growing field of the health sector for medical graduates who are not interested in day to day patient care.

As health sector is booming day by day in the perspective of globalization the demand of hospital administrator from a clinical background with a flair of management skills has increased tremendously. Hospital administrators manage hospitals, outpatient clinics, hospices, and drug-abuse treatment centers. They are often involved in training doctors and nurses and also oversee the maintenance of medical records, medical equipment’s etc. Besides, he must be trained at financial operations, personnel management, purchase of materials and storage, organizational development and patient care.

Positives: This is a relatively easy transition, and the income is good.

Negatives: Former colleagues may distrust you in your new role.

Start a practice management consultancy Although not common in our part of the world, physicians have started practice management consultancy firms, based on a skill they learned when they ran a practice, such as coding, claims processing, or practice efficiency. Positives: You can build on a skill you learned in running your practice. It can be done in parallel with your practice. Negatives: It may take many years to establish your business.

Become a career counselor and recruiter With a diversification in the job pattern of medicos, the need for proper career counseling and associated training is rocketing high. Who can train doctors better than a doctor? Therefore doctors with a specific skill set either it is a managerial skill needed for hospital administration or it be practice management skills, are being recruited in this domain. Many organizations in healthcare sector are also recruiting a doctor as a human resource personnel to recruit doctors.

Positives: Physicians who are willing to be patient and work their contacts can earn a high income.

Negatives: It can be a tough field to break or to build a client base.

Work with computer technology If you have a good hand in digital technology, you will have a variety of careers to choose from, including advising an electronic medical record (EMR) company, working for a hospital, creating software applications for medical tools, and perhaps even launching a technology start-up company. Positives: Scope is huge in the field of healthcare IT if you have the flair for technology. Negatives: Most physicians do not have a strong enough background for these jobs, and additional learning and experience would be required. 5. Review insurance claims Leveraging on their diagnostic skill doctor can serve as a reviewer of an insurance claim in different private and public sector like CGHS. The best part in such jobs is some companies offer telework option where you can work from home in parallel with your practice or if there is some health issue that is not allowing you continue your clinical practice.

Positives: Reviewing claims pays relatively well, and in many cases, you can work part-time from your home.

Negatives: The work is becoming more and more regimented.

Work for a venture capital company There are several start-up companies surfacing out worldwide in the areas such as software, drugs, and medical devices. Physicians are recruited by different venture capital companies that closely analyze start-up companies in healthcare. They help in decision making whether the venture capital company should invest in them. The work is best suited for doctors with strong analytical skills, an aptitude for finances and statistics, and a willingness to take risks on largely untested start-ups. Positives: Competitive physicians with strong analytical skills can earn as much or more (way more) than they could in medicine. Negatives: It's hard to break into this field and it's a real pressure cooker once inside .

Job in the pharma sector Drug manufacturers often tend to hire physicians especially from prescription-heavy specialties as a medical adviser in their business affairs. Moreover, they recruit the physicians to manage clinical trial events. Positives: Being a physician can help open some doors, and successful employees can match their old clinical income. Negatives: Landing a position often takes a lot of networking.

Become a Medical writer Demand for writer either full time or freelance with a clinical background is increasing in the field of regulatory writing, pharmacovigilance writing or medical journalism. Demand for professionals trained in developing clinical content or managing clinical trial data is also increasing with higher demand for physicians for such posts. Physicians are also engaging themselves in preparing presentations for CMEs and preparing study material for the same. Positives: Physicians who have the creativity and flair for writing, have good prospects in this field. Negatives: It may take some time to get established, and for specialists especially, income is relatively low.

Be in academia Teaching is even the first priority for some physician with an inclination to academics. Moreover, several research institutes, especially those are funded by ICMR recruit researchers from the clinical background. Doctors who are keen in pursuing a career in basic research might also be interested in opting such careers. Positives: Physicians who are at the end of their career can opt this career which allows them to spend a lot of family times. Negatives: Opportunities are less and less rewarding in monetary terms. The crisis of funding is a hindrance to the research career. Undoubtedly, there is a strange machismo that pervades medicine. However, this ever glowing aura of this profession is somehow being faded out for different reasons. Are we entering an age where we will see more doctors with files and computers than with stethoscope? In a country like India where there is only one doctor per 1700 people (one government modern medicine practitioner per 11,000) this disinterest in patient care can cost a tremendous amount.

Sources: Medscape

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Comment by Dahl Domingo on July 16, 2017 at 7:55pm

Boredom and exhaustion comes to any profession. Love what you do. 

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