Think you have to take a step down to move out of clinical medicine? Wondering about administrative or executive nonclinical work? Debating going back to school in pursuit of a nonclinical career shift?

If you’d like to explore the many nonclinical physician career possibilities outside of medicine, this episode is for you.

In this episode of The Career Rx we’ll discuss:

  • Why getting an MBA shouldn’t be your first step
  • Simple but effective methods to research non-clinical opportunities
  • A variety of key career paths for medical professionals

Today is part 2 of my interview with Dr. John Jurica, that answers some questions about potential non clinical career options, life as a CMO, and the vast resources available to those looking for a positive career change.

By the end of this episode, you will have a guide to finding non clinical career paths, realize there’s many opportunities you’re already qualified for, and why changing out of clinical jobs can be a step forward instead of down in your professional life.

In This Episode:

[0:30] Did you catch part 1?
[1:20] You’re already qualified for many nonclinical roles, without a new degree
[5:00] Identifying the new skills you might need, if any
[7:30] Getting lucky vs using a system
[9:00] John’s experience as a CMO – and how he got there
[10:50] Making a difference as a physician inside and outside the clinic
[12:45] Insurance, medical malpractice, speaking, IME, voiceover, movie consulting…
[18:40] Can we interview YOU? Looking for great stories to tell
[20:00] Check out these resources
[21:50] Stepping down from clinical work is a step forward, not a step back

Links and Resources:

The Branding Rx 18 hours of CME, mastering digital strategies for advancing your career, building your business, and growing your professional brand

John Jurica’s Resources:
20 page downloadable guide: 10 Nonclinical Careers You Can Pursue Today
On demand webinar replay: Best Options for an Interesting and Secure Nonclinical Job



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TRANSCRIPT: Episode 67 – Unlimited Physician Career Options with John Jurica [Part 2]

Hey there, I’m Marjorie Stiegler and you’re listening to The Career Rx Podcast, where we tackle the important things they don’t teach you in medical school. Like how to treat your career, like the business it really is, with strategies to accelerate the kind of success that you want, because you deserve a career you love, and a career that loves you back. Are you ready? Let’s get into it.

Okay, so I guess we can move on, we’re off the specialist thing. And now we want to talk about the needed advanced degree. So I can break this answer to three, three parts. Number one, the answer’s no to anything. But it’s not really exactly true. But for most non clinical careers, most non clinical careers are built on your clinical background, you’re already pre approved, in a sense, or pre qualified because you’re a physician. And so if somebody needs a physician, like if it says, medical director, they can’t hire anybody else, but a physician, so you might need some additional skills. So that’s for like, you don’t, it’s nice to get a certification, if that’ll give you a little bump above somebody, for example, the guy who did the CDI, well, he got a little certification and ICD 10 took him like 10 weeks or three months or something to get that. And that was the thing, I think they kind of put him over in terms of being a parent qualified and being qualified for the job that he got. And he was against someone who wasn’t residency trained. And, you know, if you’re an informatics, you know, some kind of informatics courses certification that’ll get you in, although I think most hospitals and health systems are still looking for medical informaticists that just have clinical experience, and just have an interest in that. Now, having said that, the you know, I would say, if you’re if your ultimate goal is to become Chief Medical Officer at a hospital or chief medical information officer, there’s a lot of these CXO some point, if you’re doing that are CQ, oh, you’re probably going to need a little certification and quality or patient safety maybe would help. But ultimately, you’ll probably need the equivalent to an MBA, but you can get your first shot without it and then make the hospital that you’re working for pay for it, or at least part of it, that would be my strategy for that. Yeah.

So important. I mean, I think I see colleagues of mine doing this in a way that I view as backwards all the time, which is they know, they want to do something known clinical. So they set out to get an MBA, which is expensive and very long process that may not lead anywhere. And of course, if you want to just get an MBA, I mean get the MBA, if you if you love the learning and you want to do it, I have I have no beef with an MBA, I don’t have one. So I can’t speak firsthand to what that experience is like, but I’m not sure it’s ever the first step towards getting that non clinical career.

Yeah, I certainly don’t recommend that. I’m just amazed sometimes when I see people that have an MBA, and it’s sort of like they’re not using it at all, or they’re taught, they’re telling me that and this is usually a listener, someone subscriber that emails me or something, and it’s like, oh, yeah, I have this MBA, and I’m trying to get a job as a physician advisor for UM. I’m thinking, you are so overqualified for that job. I mean, can I just jump to the medical director or the VPMA or even shoot for a CMO for a small hospital, you already have the business degree, you’ve got the clinical experience. You know, I think in that case, sometimes we’re just thinking we’re just unsure of ourselves and we think we need to take every little step through there. So, but I again, I advise pretty much everyone that asked me to try and delay the MBA or the MMM or the MHA or there’s so many different ones you can get now. Tell you really have some visibility that that’s the direction you’re going.

Yeah, I think that’s so important. And you know, one of the reasons why anyone listening to this episode should obviously just also immediately go check out your website and your resources, is I think the reason why people will do what you just described, which is go get an MBA and then say they want to do UM or something, is because they really don’t know what the jobs are about, right? They don’t know what those jobs are. And they don’t know what the actual qualifications are. They don’t know when they’re overqualified. They don’t know, they think they’re under qualified when they’re not. So they realize they are qualified. And they pursue a lot of things that are either just not necessary, or just definitely taking them the long way, instead of just getting the job.

Yeah, although, you know, we got to cut them some slack sometime. Because I mean, we don’t, we don’t, nobody teaches us, you know, so And luckily, there are people like you that are out there teaching, and podcasting, and there’s blogs, and so forth. But it’s hard to get started and know where to look, one thing I would do just for fun, I guess if this sounds like fun, is just start reading job descriptions – just go. Just read 1000 job descriptions, I mean, in pharma in, you know, hospital systems and others, LinkedIn has almost every job description you can think of, it’s so easy to access that and you just start to see trends and and you’ll see language in there that say, Oh, that’s interesting, you know that I’m seeing that over and over again. I guess I better learn something about that. Yeah.

You know, yeah, no, that’s quite right. And you’re absolutely right. nobody teaches us any of this stuff. I think, for people like me, you know, it’s, it’s one of the things that motivates me to want to help other people learn it, as you know, I kind of stumbled through and perhaps got quite lucky. And you know, now when I think back about, well, if, if I had known then what I know, today, you know, I might have approached things entirely differently. And you certainly know, a whole lot of stuff. I mean, if you wanted to pursue really any of the careers on your website, you know, just how to start.

Well, maybe now, but you know, I talked to some guests that are so intentional, blows me away, it’s like they got out of residency, and they started, like, even the first day of practice to plan what their non clinical career is going to be in four or five years. And, you know, if you knew how long it took me to go from practicing, you know, physician to CMO, just, you don’t even want to hear the number, how long it took, it was just totally random. It just kind of happened naturally, I guess, was sort of organic, but not necessarily a very quick process that I follow. But I think we’re all because we have access to more information. People can get through that process a lot quicker now.

For sure, but you know, what you just said to I think is really important for everybody to hear, which is, you know, a lot of things, I think my career was like that to just happen sort of organically, right? They just float things happened, I felt open to certain opportunities, those opportunities presented themselves. There were probably some things along the way that I did. That helped create that luck for me, but it wasn’t necessarily deliberate at the time. And then of course, from those learnings, now, I’ve got all kinds of strategy and deliberate stuff to suggest to people. So but if a person is deliberate, I mean, that’s the entire reason really why a person shouldn’t try to figure this stuff out necessarily on their own, because that will take them the long meandering way. But if they do deploy something that’s really deliberate and strategic, it’s a shortcut for sure and increase probability of success.

You know, there’s an author out there who’s fairly popular. And he, he states, he doesn’t really believe in goals, what he believes in is systems. And so if your system was when you connect with someone on LinkedIn, you know, have a little conversation find out what they do and why they do it. If your system is when somebody asks you to do something, your tendency is to say yes, meaning join that committee chair, that committee, especially if it relates to a passable, you know, clinical situation moving into a non clinical, then say, yes, if those are systems that will get you there a little quicker, you know, and that’s kind of what I did. You know, I just said yes, to almost everything. And then the stuff that I liked, that kept doing the things I didn’t like I stopped doing, and it just kind of worked me up into hospital management.

Yeah, well, so we’re on a little bit of a detour. But you want to take a few minutes to tell everybody about that. I mean, I introduced you based on your website and your podcast, but you’ve been a CMO. Tell us about that.

I actually, CMO is an awesome job. Now, I talked to a lot of people who are just fed up with hospitals, and they feel like they’ve been beat up by them, which I get, and I understand and there are some great hospitals where you could work where you don’t feel that way. Even as a practicing physician, you know, maybe you had that experience. I didn’t get beat up. I just got tired of seeing patients. But anyway, I was working there part time as a UM. And then I did medical directorships. And, you know, I really liked it. I like working with the team. I like getting some measurable results. I was really drawn to quality, you know, quality improvement. And then as I became the VPMA and the CMO, I mean, I had major impact on patient quality huge. I mean, I was responsible for bringing in quality measurement tools that we could actually track mortality complications, readmission rates, all that. And it was all risk adjusted, I could talk to the physicians, I could, you know, teach them more or less what they were doing wrong from a documentation standpoint or to meet guidelines, and we were developing protocols and so forth. We were a top 100 Hospital for five years that I was there. And so it was very satisfying. And it paid very, very well, we had, you know, not only a salary, but you had bonuses, you had deferred compensation, you had four to six weeks of vacation, I mean, it’s really an awesome job. So I would definitely recommend it. Matter of fact, the biggest component of the healthcare system is hospitals, health systems, it’s almost 25% of the budget of all meta, you know, healthcare spending. And so we need more physicians in that to promote physicians and promote good patient care, we really have a big deficit, in my opinion, and we have more hospitals run by physicians. So it’s a great job. And I would encourage anyone who’s listening to think about moving in that direction.

Yeah, so important, so important, because you’ve really just hit on a handful of things. I mean, obviously, I can see you lighting up as you’re talking about it, you felt it was really meaningful and rewarding, and also is obviously a very well compensated, which is a big concern. I mean, a lot of people tell me that their reason for hesitancy is they think they’re gonna have to take a pay cut, which is, you know, rarely the case, I think, but also that you get to make a big difference on a macro scale, as you did across your enterprise. And also that we really, really do need doctors at every single table, if we expect to be part of the solutions. We, we can’t sit there and say, you know, stethoscopes over suits like we have to be able to be somebody’s got to wear the suit. Right? We’ve got it. We’ve got to show up everywhere. Super important. Someone obviously also has to stay in the clinic. Super important. Yes, yeah.

And then I do that I say that caveat all the time, too, is I don’t want physicians necessarily to leave practice for no good reason. But I thought long and hard about it, and it’s not right for them, then let, I’ll help you do that. But we definitely want to have physicians taking care of us. I do, in the future.

Absolutely. Absolutely. I just think it’s also fair that a person might want to, you know, have more than one type of career, even if it isn’t medical career in their lifetime. They want to contribute different things, and they want to have different experiences. So I try to support everyone’s desire to do that. Okay, what else? What other sort of, you know, key non clinical jobs, or maybe things that people just haven’t thought of?

Okay, like other types? Yeah, yeah. All right, let’s see, I’ll throw out some that I just did stand out. In my mind, I think people may have thought about these, but one is you should look at becoming a medical director for life insurance is not an easy job to get. The few people that I’ve talked to, in their job loved it never left it that was intellectually very stimulating a paid well. One was a CMO of an insurance company, and the other was so called medical director. But I mean, really, I don’t think they had that many physicians in that role, you know, so she was the one they went to for any final decisions on, you know, underwriting certain patients. So that’s a cool job that you might check out. I like medical expert witness, because it just pays well very well as a family doctor, I could have stopped half of my practice, done that 10% of the 20% of time, made more money and had a better lifestyle. If I was going to do it again, I would go back and pursue that and there are people out there now that will help you to learn how to do that more quickly than than just you know, calling up an attorney asking if they need help. I’ve learned recently about something called independent medical exams.

Okay, now, I think are most of the time that’s an orthopedic or rehab doctor that does those but actually any physician can do an IME. You are actually taking care, you’re not taking care of the patient, you’re interacting, you seeing the patient, you’re assessing the patient. But you have no patient, the physician relationship, the liabilities essentially zero and you’re paid very well. So that’s, that’s one that’s kind of come on my radar recently but it’s been out there a long time. I often promote to the non traditional quite a bit for people who want to hang in there and do a little clinical. I mean, it’s everything from locums to telemedicine, I usually am talking more about the remote freelance telemedicine, you know, where you can work when you want, you know, weekend’s nights, you know, their ways of leveraging your geo, the geography to get paid more and things like that. aesthetics, you know, and med spas, weight loss if you really want to eliminate you know the risk in terms of any patient physician relationship, but you are taking care of those patients at some level but concierge medicine that’s getting closer to regular medicine but just opt out of all the external payers. And to that, I hear About recently, lifestyle medicine and functional medicine, those are actually board certifications. The people that I know doing that are actually practicing, though they make it very clear, they’re doing consulting, they’re using a medical background. And they’re consulting and teaching, in addition to the medical, the functional or lifestyle medicine concepts they learned in this certification, but they often do it remotely, you know, online. So they’re really it should be pretty clear. There’s no true physician patient relationship. But that is an issue. I think you and I have talked about that before.

Yeah. Yeah. For sure. If what you’re doing seems like it might be the practice of medicine. But you’re right model doesn’t. You’ve got to tighten that up legally. And yes, insurance, for sure.

So those are some of the things that stand out to me that I think I mean, there’s so many other jobs, but those are some, every now and then I’ll hear somebody say something to me, like, you know, if I could go back and do it all over again, I would open you know, a fitness center or a bakery, or just something that like has nothing to do with anything medical. I’ve heard a lot of people say that, but I don’t actually know anybody who has actually done that, do you?

Oh, let me think I’m not really not anyone that I’ve really talked to at length, I think something is lost, if you don’t find something that at least builds on your medical because it’s just it’s going to, it’s going to be better financially, if you can do that. Now, there’s nothing wrong with opening a hotdog stand or any franchise for that matter. I mean, that’s it. But if you’re not naturally a business person, I mean, anything you do like that, you have to be a business person. And there are physicians, of course, that think very in a businesslike way. But it isn’t something that, you know, naturally you think, okay, a physician should do this non clinical thing that has nothing to do with medicine. You know, there’s always some tie to it almost always.

Well, so if anyone’s listening, and they have indeed bailed out to go do something like that, please let me know. I’ll have you on the show. John might have you on the show. The other thing that I have heard a lot of people asking about lately is a physician in the media. So obviously, you know, the physician reporters, right physicians who are on the major news networks. Have you interviewed anybody who has that?

Well, let’s see. I have not. I don’t think I’ve interviewed like professional speakers. I think you were doing speaking quite a bit for a while. And I’ve talked to Lynette Charity, you might know her. She’s a, she’s a speaker. And then it kind of bleeds into sometimes these on TV and radio personalities. But I think for every big one, you see, like a national there’s going to be a regional or local person doing they start with like newspaper articles, they become the local expert, when somebody has a question they’re quoted, and then they might get on the radio. And so I mean, I’ve read a lot about people doing that, to me, that’s always been something that would be very, would take a lot of intentionality again, and knowing branding, and marketing themselves. And that would be pretty interesting. But it’s a little less of a sure thing, I would think.

I would think so. You know, you know, Facebook tries to suggest to you people that you may know, Facebook suggested to me the other day that I may know Sanjay Gupta. So maybe I’ll just reach out and say “hey.” But here’s one thing I would say about that. These are the kind of things you can do part time in your spare time while you’re still doing whatever you’re doing. It’s not like you’re doing an all or none. Okay, I’m going to quit medicine and I’m going to become a radio talk show host or something. No, you just start small. And if it does, you know, if you get traction then Okay, maybe I will cut my practice back home, focus on this other thing.

Yeah, absolutely. The final one that’s lingering in my mind is, and again, these are now we’ve kind of gone on a fun detour, right? This is not what most people are thinking about. But people who do physicians who do consulting for movies and TV. Yes. I mean, that’s something Of course, I like to laugh about how much they get wrong on their show.

Yeah. But you see that listed on the credits all the time. And, you know, I talked to somebody, it’s a little bit off that target. And he was a voiceover expert. I wasn’t a physician, he was a cinematographer, but I had to bring him on the podcast, I knew a physician could do even a better job. But, you know, and it’s, you know, reading scripts could be acting on the, you know, on the radio, or you could do that from home, but voiceovers and, and, yeah, that kind of thing. So it was similar to, you know, becoming more of a personality.

Yeah, absolutely. But there’s so much fun, I guess, you know, when I think about that, it’s not the certainly not one of the, you know, top 10 or even top 20 suggestions I’d ever make to anybody, but it is worth pointing out that people make a living doing all kinds of things, even things like that. So, gosh, I hope everyone listening today really feels like there’s so many things that they could do. And even in just the short time that you and I have been speaking I know we’ve rattled off A lot within each of these categories. And I know you have so many, I mean, you’re on over 200 episodes on your own show. And almost all of those, you’re talking to people about non clinical careers, right? I mean, that is the heart of your show, right? That’s right. And your website has many, many resources, downloads and things like that. Can you speak for a minute or two about what kinds of things a person might be able to come over and just get from you while they visit your website?

Yes, if you go to the website at, you’ll basically have access to everything that I do that I do have a non clinical Career Academy, but it’s not open at the moment. So if you get on my email list, you will eventually get an email about when that’s going to open. But if your listeners want to have something that they might be of practical value, and then would still lead into my email list and other things, and I would probably have them get my free guide at And it just it gives goes into some detail on 10 different careers and, and you can actually use that approach to other careers as well. But at least for those 10, it gets into the weeds pretty much in terms of, you know, medical societies or associations, let’s say professional associations you should join and how to use LinkedIn and all that kind of thing. So and also resources, because people have written books about some of these careers. Absolutely. That’s so great.

I that’s so great. Well, I really appreciate you coming on the show today to just at least kind of crack open people’s thinking about what they could do. So many people just have no idea what they could do. So they get stuck, and they kind of can’t even take any of those steps forward, then they come to me and they say, can you help me and I say, I can help you if you know where you want to go, and they don’t know where they want to go. So I hope today now some of them will, this is really really great. Anything before we before we wrap today that you feel like is another tidbit that you want to share,

I think want to share one thing that I’ve come to realize recently and it’s not so much in finding, let’s say the right career or job, it’s this The other thing that holds people back a lot of times, maybe they’re not even vocal about it, it’s that they’re there feel like they’re taking a step back or step down like their, you know, the pinnacle of their careers being a physician, but of the things that we’ve spoken about today, pretty much across the board, these are all actually a step up. In my mind. They’re a step forward, they’re the next part of your career. And the thing is you for many of them, you can’t move to that next, you’ve done already what you’ve done, so you’re not going backwards, you’re going forwards and and it’s something that there’s a big need a lot of these jobs, there’s just tons of openings. So think of it as just that next step in your professional life.

Thank you. That’s such an important mindset shift, I think that everyone really needs to hear and take to heart. That’s really great. Well, thank you so much, Dr. John Jurica, my friend and you can find him on Physician Non Clinical Careers, the podcast listened to it 200 episodes plus, to tell you much, much more than what we covered in our time together today. Thank you so much, John, really appreciate you being on the show.

You’re welcome. It’s been my pleasure. And I hope to see you again soon, Marjorie.

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