Most students graduating from medical school gladly look forward to the days when they have to face the real challenges of the world. However a handful of them remain anxious and crave for a few more days to decide what they really want to do in life. They dread stepping into the real world of medicine and deem themselves psychologically unprepared for their “job”.
Very similar to this situation, a minority of junior as well as senior doctors question their career choices each day. Many of them are gearing up to leave medical practice only to be deterred by the seeming lack of alternate career options. Even senior doctors are facing a rapid burnout and disillusionment.
What are the leading causes of doctors becoming dissatisfied with their jobs in India?
There are a number of reasons why doctors start considering alternate career choices. A few of these include-
- The pressure to meet the demands of the established healthcare system. Some of the doctors have to see about 50-60 patients per day when working for an established facility. Many young doctors do not have independent practices and this forces them to stick to larger numbers. More often than not, this causes psychological stress which imbibes the fear of error in the doctors.
- Most physicians in India are not as well paid especially if they are junior doctors. Their payment is not enough to cover their med school expenses as well as pay for the lifestyle choices they would like to avail.
- Living and practicing in a third world country with inadequate health care coverage often causes a lot of hassle between the health insurance companies and the doctors themselves.
- The low rates of formal education among the citizens of this country often leave room for ignorance and superstitions. Many a times doctors are only asked to treat patients as a last resort. This creates self-doubt and contempt for the profession among medical professionals.
How to know when it’s time to quit your job?
For some doctors it takes a month while others slog on for a few years before realizing they have lost their passion for medicine. But in either case doctors often hesitate to close their active medicine practice and choose an alternative career. To help them make the right decision, there are number of career counseling practices which can be accessed. These counseling sessions help the practicing doctors, irrespective of their experience levels to comprehend their relationship with medicine as a subject.
However if a doctor is sure that he is facing a burnout and he is ready for another career option based on his acquired skill-set, then there are a number of assorted career options which they are presented with. They can also take comprehensive tests and help from registered organizations and online portals to realize their dreams beyond clinical practice.
What does a doctor’s general skill-set consist of?
During their stints as clinical practitioners, most doctors acquire a vivid set of transferable skills. Med school and years of practice often trains a doctor for a variety of professions with scientific, technological, financial and managerial nuances. Let us explore the few of the skills that doctors usually possess-
- Empathy for patients and people.
- Highly analytical problem solving aptitude.
- Participating in teamwork.
- Fast decision making power.
- Professional integrity.
- Withstanding professionalism under pressure.
But for a more comprehensive idea about one’s skill-set one can opt for registered online tests. These tests give a direct overview of the participant’s skills, aptitudes and suitability for any future job(s).
Most preferred alternate career choices for practicing doctors:
Ending a medical career does not have to be a costly decision. The evolution of the modern job market has made it possible for retired doctors to invest their skills and medical knowledge in new ways. These new creative job options help the doctors to attain satisfaction with their new chosen careers.
Here is a glimpse at the new jobs which are currently extremely well suited for all medical professionals-
- Online businesses: there are a number of online websites and portals currently running with the support of successful doctors from all around the world. These websites are extremely profitable as patients can register online for immediate consultation in exchange of handsome fees. In addition to that, multiple advertisements can generate generous revenues for the website owners. Building such websites require little to no knowledge at all, there are ready to use online templates from multiple CMS sources which can allow doctors to take their consultation services online. Many psychiatrists, OBGYN, pediatricians and general physicians have benefited greatly from taking their businesses online.
- Writing books and blogs: the years of med school and clinical practice readies all doctors for writing about medicine. Most doctors share a common passion for writing and this has lead them to the world of magazine writing, book authoring, blogging and of course book publishing. Most of the best medical books taught in India and abroad are written by doctors. Years of practice bestows enough experience upon doctors to author an entire book about their specialization. If one has a flare for literature, he or she can even write a biography to put their lives in a new perspective.
- Live events and television consultants: while some doctors start authoring their own books, many other doctors turn to popular media like TVs and Radios to share their knowledge of the subject with the general mass. This is an immensely satisfying option, as one doctor can reach out to the millions in need and at the same time attend only a few calls/visits. Live events or seminars are usually recommended if a doctor has enough knowledge to address the necessities of medical students. This is a brilliant way to attract faithful patients and increase revenues as well, just in case anyone wants to continue with clinical practice while maintaining public appearances.
- Advertisements and product endorsements: there are many products which look for medical professionals in order to introduce them to the common public. From toothpastes to milk supplements, almost all the products feature a white coat clad figure in the corner of a screen trying to convince buyers of the merits. However the revenues are better for these products if the endorser is a real doctor. This skyrockets the reliability quotient of the products and as a result the endorser is also offered a handsome share of money.
- Professional training programs: there are a number of pre-med schools and other training programs which are desperately looking for experienced doctors as well as fresh graduates to help them guide their students in the right direction. These organizations and training centers are located all over the country as well as abroad. They are opening up new horizons for those who have an inherent knack for teaching fresh faces and initiating the passion of medicine in them.
- Tele-physicians: this is a new concept which makes instant healthcare available to everyone with access to telephones. This is a cash-based business where the patients can pay the physicians directly, either via net transfers or credit card transfers. This avoids the hotchpotch of insurance bills, waiting in line for the doctor’s availability, tracking down the doctor’s private practice locations etc. Although rare, this process is gradually catching up in India as it is beneficial for both the patients as well as the doctors. Many online portals for doctors use telemedicine as an added feature of their services. Patients can choose the doctors on the basis of their professional profiles, case history and specializations.
- Additional cash-based medical practices: in case a patient wants added time and other favors like energy medication, the insurance might be reluctant to cover it and it may not be in the best interest of a medical organization. However for doctors who are offering private services in lieu of direct cash can prescribe generic medication, cost-effective treatments and offer longer visiting hours for their dedicated patients. Turning away from clinical practice has its own advantages which includes the independence of seeing patients according to the doctors’ own terms and conditions.
- Legal witnesses: this is a trend which is still catching up in India. In many criminal cases, the lawyers require expert opinions of doctors. While some frown upon this career by comparing the doctors to pawns of law, one can be more selective about the legal cases where they are required to testify. In addition to the much required money, this career choice provides a change in the dimensions of regular clinical duties. Being an expert witness and helping the progression of lawsuits provides a thrill missing from the lives of medical professionals working within the security of established hospitals and clinics.
- Scientific research: many doctors leave years of practice to delve in the joys of research and studies. In most cases doctors do so in pursuit of answers they especially find intriguing. There are thousands of doctors around the country who have left clinics and hospitals to join research institutes. The subject of their research varies from diabetes and progression of cancer to neuronal impulses triggered by recreational drugs.
- A step towards hospital administration: an expert doctor is just a step away from becoming a successful entrepreneur. As the doctors step out of their clinics, they can ease into the responsibilities of hospital administration. As a member of administration the doctors do not have to face the surmounting pressure of attending a regular throng of patients. A doctor can expand his key skill-set while acting as a member of a hospital administration. There a number of key roles which a physician is well suited for, these include- chief strategy officer, chief operations office and chief transformation officer.
- Practice management consultancy firms: thousands of doctors all around the globe have joined consultancy firms aided by the skills they acquired during their time in med school. These skills can include coding, practice efficiency or even claims processing. These companies and firms can run successfully on the basis of either one or more of the talents acquired. In fact opening a consultancy firm in association with other medical professionals also widens the prospect for learning new skills in fields other than medicine. Such consultancy firms especially the ones specializing in claims processing and radiology coding have flattering turnovers. In fact, working for reviewing insurance claims is one noble way to serve the community. Many physicians do consider this as working for the “wrong side”, however the real aim of this service is to ensure that maximum benefit reaches the patients in return of justified cost.
- Financial planning: most physicians pick up efficient finance management skills on their way. Almost all doctors have a natural flare for efficient management of the money they earn and many of them do not deter from offering financial advice to their friends and colleagues. So once these doctors realize that medicine is not their muse anymore they can automatically shift base to their second love. The efficient management and investment of money. In most cases, the best clientele for such doctor turned successful financial experts are other fellow doctors. And his best career testimony is his own thriving financial situation. Hence, if a doctor wants to specifically become a financial advisor, it is recommended that he has a well fed rolodex on his current desk.
Many doctors are still scared to take that leap of faith in fear of impending failure. However,one should remember that a doctor is trained to face almost all hardships of life and it is not usually the career choice post their clinician days that brings about doom. It is the fear of failure and the ensuing impatience which prevents them from seeing the new path through that creates the trouble. A growing number of medical school graduates as well as successful doctors are setting unique examples by choosing alternative careers which have nothing to do with their much adorned medical degree. One should not confuse the choice of a road less traveled by with the lack of perseverance, skills or knowledge. It is rather a quest beyond what the restrictedly offered to the graduates as their share.