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Some Tips for Residents Contemplating New Directions  

Residents who are contemplating taking a non-clinical pathway are unique among physicians in their soul searching.  Certainly the stress and fatigue of training would make anyone want to bail.  Add to that the angst at watching their college buddies well en route with corporate, banking, consulting, government and non-profit organizations.  It’s difficult to have perspective, so here are thoughts to consider after you’ve had some rest

Clinical practice experience beyond residency will give you valuable insights into the business, culture and challenges of medical practice. If you’ve had at least four years of clinical practice beyond residency, you will have a specific “value-add” as an “experienced physician” because of these insights.  Without clinical experience, you will not be a candidate for some positions, particularly in medical management.  Furthermore, your clinical practice experience will give you credibility with clinician clients if you do end up representing a medical supplier/vendor some day. The clinical experience could well be as general practitioner---even if you have trained as a sub-specialist.

Having said that, there are many possibilities for a non-clinical career path if you are willing to start at a junior level, e.g. with consulting firms, technology firms--assuming you have other skills to offer.  Your knowledge of medicine will still be an asset.  More importantly, any work experience prior to residency such as research, clinical trials, project leadership, informatics or non-profit board participation, will enhance your ability to find opportunities.

If you are quite certain about pursuing a non-clinical career and you are well under the age of 40, consider an MBA program and  following a traditional career route like your non-physician friends.  Leverage any business experience you have had during medical school and residency, such as committee participation and leadership positions to enhance your resume. Learn more about industries and companies that suit your passions and interest.  Your MD degree may be a pit stop on the road of self-discovery, rather than your ticket to fulfillment.  It will have been valuable experience nonetheless.

 Francine R. Gaillour, MD, Business Consultant and Executive Coach for Healthcare Leaders francine@physicianleadership.com, (206) 686-4205



Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE
15600 NE 8th Street, Suite B1-173
Bellevue, WA  98008
(206) 686-4205

Francine R. Gaillour, MD   ©2006 Ki Health, Inc.