Physician career transitioning is a growth industry. Generational work-life attitudes, practice hassles, government regulations and just the meteoric pace of healthcare change are forcing practitioners to reassess their commitment to clinical medicine. A lot of them are plotting a plan B. As a result, numerous conferences, seminars, websites, chat rooms and consultants have emerged to capitalize on the opportunity.
SoPE Box: Planning a career transition
Doctors who are contemplating a switch to bioinnovation and entrepreneurship have several options, including creating their own company, consulting, working with industry or becoming a service provider to life science entrepreneurs. Former practicing physicians can take on new roles as investment bankers, social-media experts or healthcare marketing gurus.
If you decide to take the leap, consider following this process to get you to the next level:
- Do a careful personal SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and create a plan that will move you from awareness to intention to decision to action. Be sure to have a frank conversation with your family about how you feel, where you are and where you would like to go.
- Expand your education, build your networks and get some experience in your new career pathway as soon as possible. Don't be afraid to bail if things are not what you expected and move to the next opportunity. The Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at sopenet.org and LinkedIn are among many resources that can help you connect to others who are interested in life science commercialization and bioinnovation.
Be sure to do a financial and wealth management inventory and create a plan that will provide you with the financial wherewithal to jump ship. Like treating patients, your financial plan will include four steps:
- Take a financial history by doing an assessment of where you are now and where you want to go.
- Do a physical exam by creating a personal balance sheet, a monthly budget and a statement of sources and uses of funds.
- Make a diagnosis: Are you in a position to make the change? What are your options given the diagnosis?
- Institute a treatment plan. Take the next steps toward your goal.
Find a coach; identify mentors; and build a support network to help you once you've decided to transition from clinical practice or abandon it altogether.
Leaving clinical practice will be a lot easier if you follow a carefully planned career transition pathway. You are not alone. Thousands of physicians are moving on and creating another chapter of their lives with a smile on their face. You can be one of them.
Dr. Arlen Meyers is professor of otolaryngology, engineering and dentistry at the University of Colorado and founder, CEO and president of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.
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