Sick of Practicing Medicine? Here are 4 Other Ways to Use Your MD

Written by: Dr. Nisha Cooch
Published on: Feb 20, 2020

Doctor looking out of window

Physicians are citing burnout as a reason for their job dissatisfaction more than ever before, and as the healthcare landscape continues to change, many physicians wonder if they may have made a mistake pursuing medicine. After years of training, it can be incredibly disillusioning to recognize that you may not enjoy the job for which you are prepared.

Luckily, the education that accompanies medical training can be valuable outside of medical practice. For those physicians who believe that they would be happier spending their days doing something other than clinical medicine, there are several other options. As discontent with the healthcare field grows, these opportunities are becoming more and more apparent. With recruiters and professionals from other industries recognizing that dissatisfaction among healthcare providers provides them with opportunities to tap into physicians’ skill sets, those from other industries are also helping to define new roles that physicians can play outside of their traditional practice.

Here are 4 things you can do with your MD other than practice clinical medicine:

  1. Consulting. Based on your specific expertise and when in your career you decide to jump ship, you may have opportunities to provide consultation on things that have been incredibly relevant to your professional growth thus far. You may be able to provide value related to the development or optimization of technologies specifically related to your practice, or you may be able to provide broader insights on medical practice, technologies and software, health economics, or healthcare policy.
  1. Finance. You may also be able to use your expertise in finance. For instance, you could help venture capitalists assess the potential value of a target investment in a pharmaceutical drug or medical device. Similarly, you may be able to provide key information on how best to develop these types of technologies to fit the market need. In other words, you could help companies design instrumentation or interventions that would make doctors’ lives easier or patients’ lives better.
  1. Writing. Not every physician enjoys writing, but for those who do, there is a significant need for writers to develop quality textbooks, licensing exam materials, test prep materials, peer-reviewed manuscripts, grants, and other medical content collateral. Physicians-turned-writers tend to enjoy a huge degree of flexibility in their careers, which can be a welcome change from medical practice.
  1. Entrepreneurship. It’s possible that during your training or while in practice you recognized a need for a product or service that you could develop and create a business around. Some physicians are under the impression that they would need to go to business school to transition to a more business-focused role, but that is not the case. Unlike with the practice of medicine, entrepreneurship does not require any specific credential. Success as an entrepreneur simply requires a good idea and the ability to execute it.

Physicians gathered and discussing

Takeaway: For those who are truly unhappy practicing medicine, there are other career options that would allow you to leverage your credential and the expertise you’ve gained during your training and practice. These are just a few of the things you can consider doing if you would prefer to spend your time outside of healthcare practice.