Leaving Clinical Medicine: What to Expect When Doctors Transition to Other Fields

Over the years, Disruptive Doctors has interviewed many doctors who have successfully transitioned to other fields. Here are some of their common experiences in career transitioning. 

Interest in a field guarantees success

Doctors are enjoying their new careers especially when it’s a field they’ve always been interested in. Doctors interest in a particular field is often a determinant of their success in that field.

Charting your preferred career pathway

Coming from clinical medicine, many doctors are pleased with the myriad of career possibilities and options available to them in the industry they have moved to. There’s no fixed pathway like in clinical medicine and that’s a welcome relief to many. They are often free to choose an area they want to focus on and chart their own pathway within that  industry.

Recognition is readily available

Doctors realize that recognition and rewards are readily available to them as long as they’re performing well on their jobs in the industry. Unlike the hospital system, rewards  and recognitions in the industry are not based on seniority but rather on merit. As an example, many doctors who have transitioned to the pharma industry are enjoying roles as global and regionals heads of their organizations.

Letting go of being a doctor

Changing jobs invariably means letting go of a life that many have known for years. Moving into the industry requires a change in mindset and in the way one engages in work which is very different from the clinical setting. Some doctors who have transitioned do struggle with the loss of their status as doctors.

Adaptability and flexibility are keys to success in the new job

The main reason some doctors fail in their new career is due to their inability to adapt to changes and to do things differently in a workspace that is very different from the hospital.

Doctors need to persevere, and  a strong learning curve is required in order to succeed in their new field. Being a good student in school does not necessarily mean a doctor would be  outstanding in his/her new career. Jobs different from clinical medicine, often require a vast amount of fast learning. Being a lifelong learner is a good attitude to possess in life.

Mentors make the journey easier

Mentors could be people who might or might not be doctors but who have been in a particular field  that a doctor has transitioned to. They are the best people to offer guidance on what to do and what not to do in the field. Doctors would be well-advised to seek out mentors and most importantly, listen to their advice and experience.

Impacting larger number of patients than in clinical service

Doctors who have moved to other healthcare sectors or medically related fields in industry often feel that they are impacting more patients than they would have in clinical service. For example, a drug, medical device, or medical app developed by doctors impacts more patients worldwide compared to those patients a doctor sees in the waiting room.

We hope doctors who are considering a career transition will learn from these experiences and prepare themselves appropriately. Become our Premium Member to gain access to a wealth of resources which are free or provided to you with huge discounts to aid you in your career transition. Click here to learn more:

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To find out more about non-clinical jobs for doctors in Malaysia check out our job vacancy and find inspiration from medical doctors who’ve made a career change in our case studies.

If you’re thinking of a career transition, do download Dr Selina’s Switching Careers for Doctors eBook here to get you started on your journey.

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