Wondering what future career options are open to you based on your specialty? Does it seem like leadership roles or nonclinical jobs are looking for all kinds of specialties – except yours? Do you feel your medical training is actually limiting your future career?

If you’ve ever asked what roles are available to you based on residency training or specialty focus, this episode is for you.

In This Episode of The Career Rx We’ll Discuss:

  • How to examine your current environment for potential pathways
  • A closer look at the mindset required to create opportunities
  • Why your specialty actually isn’t limiting your options

Today, we’re going to be answering the common question, “what options are open to me in my specialty?” The short answer is that your possibilities are endless. The longer answer (the ‘how to get a nonclinical job’) is exactly what we cover in my course Industry Insider – we go deep into the specific ways physicians find and create the career opportunities they want most.

But today, we’ll cover a few key tips to get you started. By the end of this episode, you’ll have a better outlook on where to find new opportunities, a helpful mindset to set you up for success, and the ideal next steps that don’t require an additional degree.

“You have a lot of demonstrated value and talent just by being a physician.” – Marjorie Stiegler

In this Episode:

[0:35] “What kinds of nonclinical jobs are available for [insert your specialty here]?
[2:30] A practical answer and a philosophical approach
[5:30] Thinking about the end user – it might be you
[6:50] A quick and practical way to identify nonclinical careers that need your expertise
[7:15] Don’t come from a mindset of limitation
[9:40] What else is needed?
[10:35] Is the C-Suite in your future? Plus career options you may not have thought about
[11:40] An essential mindset shift
[12:00] Don’t miss upcoming episodes – we go deep and detailed on career options
[12:40] Industry Insider – what to know about landing a nonclinical career
[14:18] Your options really are endless if you change the way you search

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

Industry Insider – learn exactly how to land a rewarding nonclinical career without a new degree, connections on the inside, prior experience, or a pay cut



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Episode 63 – “What are my options?” – Careers by Physician Specialty

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.

Hey, there, welcome back. Today, we’re going to be answering a very, very common question, which is, “what options are open to me in my specialty?” So I’d love to fill in the blank there because I do get messages all the time from people saying, you know, I’m a pediatrician what open options are open to me or I’m a neurologist, what options are open to me? So, from generalists and specialists, people will always ask what kinds of leadership or non clinical career opportunities are available to them based on their specialty.

And I guess a permutation of this is also, you know, what opportunities are available to me if I didn’t complete my residency, or you know, if I completed residency, but I haven’t practiced, or if I’ve practiced, but I’ve been out of the workforce for a while, haven’t practiced in some time. Or very often, you know, I’m licensed to practice in another country. But now I live in the United States. And I don’t want to go back, you know, and do residency here, what options are open to me? So all all, all kinds of people asking, you know, sort of based on their history, or their current specialty focus, what non clinical or leadership options are available to them in their careers. I’m going to tackle that today.

You know, normally, I like to ask a specific question from a specific person, but this one is just far, far too common to do that. So the answer to this question is both very short and simple, and also really extensive, you know, really exhaustive. So I’m going to focus today on the short, simple answer. Definitely there are, I mean, there’s, there’s much more to it just like anything on this on this podcast.

And I have additional resources for you that I’ll put in the show notes where you can dig more deeply into some of the answers that you’ll hear today. But if this is a question that’s been on your mind, I think it’s so important for you to hear, first and foremost, the short answer to your question.

And from a really broad perspective, there’s sort of two buckets, if you will, through two ways of looking at the answer to this question. A one is from a really practical point of view. And the other one is a little bit of a philosophical or mindset, point of view. So again, giving that quick answer to your question, but I’m going to touch on both of these here today.

So from a practical point of view, how can you find out what non clinical or leadership options are open to you if you want to work, you know, as a physician, using the training and the education that you have, but not in a clinical setting, taking care of patients one on one anymore? What are the options that are open to you?

So one very easy and practical way to begin to answer that question, is to just pay a lot of attention in your day to day work now, as to what other folks you interact with. Some of them will be other physicians, perhaps in your own department or practice who are in some type of leadership role that gets them more focused on administration and leadership and management, rather than on direct patient care. So whatever it is that those people do, those are some options that are open to you as well.

Then you have to think about people that you might interact with directly, who are, you know, part of the work that you do, but are not physicians? And of course, you know, if you think about other other clinical work, right, like there are all kinds of non physician clinicians, including nurses, techs, and many other folks, I’m not specifically talking about their roles, but I’m thinking about areas where you might interface for example, with medical device professionals or with firms, suitable professionals, with other administrative professionals, perhaps with billing and electronic medical record or utilization type professionals, or when you think about quality or patient safety work, so I’m really thinking of some of my guests that are from my own lens.

As an anesthesiologist. We obviously do quite a bit with medical device and with medicines, and with technology, and there’s a lot of EMR and a lot of talk across many specialties. There is quite a bit of administrative work to keep all of the places where anesthesiologists are needed in the hospital and not just the hours but the codes and the ER And the procedure areas. And of course, the ICU, the recovery room and all that, thinking about the administrative work that’s done there. And then I’m anesthesiologists very often are leaders on quality and safety, not just for committees within the own department, but maybe within the hospital and possibly even in the C suite. Right. So as I’m thinking, those are just some examples from my own life, but but you can do this for yourself as well.

If you are interacting with somebody for which you are the end user, right, then you are a subject matter expert, and you might well be able to work in that type of industry. So when you think about, you know, anesthesiologists using all of the different machines, pumps, and you know, the anesthesia machine, the ventilator, the all the various monitors, all the ways of delivering medications, all of those medications, things like ultrasounds and echo probes, all of those pieces of equipment are parts of an entire industry, that a person could look to, to say, Well, what if I wanted to work in there? What kinds of jobs for physicians or other leaders happen in those various industries? So that’s a way to kind of cast a wide net and see, you know, what are some of the options for which, even if you don’t have any business experience, or direct industry experience, you would be coming to the table with some subject matter expertise. And if you are a key part of this sort of end user of any of those medicines, or processes, or devices, then you bring a really important understanding to the table for those types of companies and industries. So that’s an easy way to identify a lot of possibilities. I don’t know if those appeal to you or not. And again, it’s really kind of just the tip of the iceberg. But that’s a quick, practical way to look around quickly, and say, you know, where can I bring some value for which I already actually do have something to bring to the table, that would be attractive.

Now, it’s important to mention that not all clinical roles, or rather, not all non clinical roles require you to have that same clinical subject matter expertise. In fact, you know, many of them do not, which is why we need to shift into the second big bucket really, which is more of that philosophical or mindset shift, which is to stop thinking about, you know, what options are open. To me, that sort of sounds like you’re coming from a space of limitation, like you believe that you have been sort of so specialized down into this teeny, tiny box, that you’re wondering what’s available to you from the lens of that teeny, tiny box.

But in fact, that’s not the case at all. I mean, for one thing, you have a lot of value and talent and demonstrated ability to lead and to learn and to work with others and to teach and to think critically, and all of that just by being a physician, in general, regardless of your specialty, and regardless of what you do today. And that’s really very valuable to many, many employers, many, many types of work. So stop thinking of yourself from that sort of specialist or however you identify yourself in your clinical role, and start to think more broadly about yourself as a physician. And also think about all the talents and skills and knowledge that you have outside of your physician role. And I don’t necessarily mean having another degree or any formal training, you may or may not have that I personally don’t think you need that, to segue into many, many non clinical leadership roles.

But stop thinking about yourself, as you know, what are the options that are open to me as a radiologist, for example, and instead, think about, you know, what are physician jobs, right, because you don’t have to necessarily, many of them don’t require a specific clinical expertise is what I’m trying to say to you. Now, some do, right, there are some that that quite specifically, although they’re non clinical, they might be done remotely, they really do specifically require you to perhaps even have an active medical license and for you to have subject matter expertise, because what you’re doing is directly relevant to current clinical practice. And in that case, then, you know, that specific type of job does require you to have a certain amount of clinical subject matter expertise, it’s perhaps still not impossible to transition there. But much of the work that’s available to you does not require that. So it’s a really, really important mindset to shift to stop thinking about yourself as that specialist and start thinking about yourself, as that physician with all of those demonstrated competencies around leadership and learning and teamwork and teaching and understanding and translating science and having a really solid lens on you know, what else is needed? Right, what are the gaps, what’s needed in the healthcare delivery, that isn’t there? Now, you know, what would you improve upon if you could, and maybe that’s an area where you would look then to be able to contribute in a non clinical or leadership role that really doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with your specialty.

One example: I myself am an anesthesiologist by training. But when I transitioned into my pharma role, I was working in a therapeutic area that had nothing to do with anesthesia specifically. And I’ve continued to move around within pharma in a variety of different therapeutic areas, because it’s not specifically what I am hired for, I am hired for the value that I bring as a physician, but not for that clinical expertise that’s sort of narrowly tied to my, to my training and to my specialty focus. When you think about the clinicians who occupy the leadership roles, and I mean, the high ones, the C suite level leadership roles in the medical school or in the healthcare enterprise in which you work, realize that most of those physicians is what they’re doing in their day job now has nothing to do with their clinical training, right? nobody’s asking them when they interviewed for were selected for those types of roles, whether they were, you know, internal medicine jobs, or whether they were cardiologist or that kind of thing is just not not relevant at that point. So it’s really not relevant for you either.

Now, I’m picking the things that are sort of most visible, you can just look up, you know, who is the CEO, the CMO, that kind of thing in some major organizations, and maybe you can get a sense for the fact that their clinical training doesn’t have anything to do with anything. But this is true for non clinical leadership roles all the way up the ladder. So those might be the most visible examples. That might not be at all what you aspire to do. And that’s fine. But it’s a it’s an easy and concrete, I hope, way for you to understand that you don’t need to think about your options from the point of view of your specialty.

And because this is such an important topic, and I get asked about it all the time, I am planning to do another series of a future series of podcast episodes in which I’m really going to talk specifically about a lot of the different options that there are because I know a lot of people starting from square one, they know they want to do something different, but they really don’t have any idea what that might be. And they they need someone to kind of crack open all the options, you know, here’s 20 things you could do 50 things, you could do ways to make a difference, using your education and training and your degree that are not clinical. So I’m going to be doing that please do subscribe to this podcast so that you that you get those episodes and don’t miss any of them.

And if you’re sort of out of the curiosity phase, but sort of in the committed phase, you know, you want to do something different with your career, and you’re ready to kind of, you know, roll up your sleeves and do some of the work around figuring that out. Do come check out industry Insider, I built this course, or from the perspective of med med tech and biopharma. But really it will the lessons apply to everything right, this is how you go about figuring out what kind of jobs are out there, what kind of skills they need, what kind of people you might know, that are already in a position to help you and then how to build your own resume and your own interview skills to be able to land those kinds of jobs. So come check that out Industry Insider, very, very practical, will guide you through this exactly how every step of the way. So I made this to help people just like you with this very same question.

For today, I hope this has given you a slightly different way of thinking about things that it’s really not important for you to stay in a tiny box and say, what are the options that could be given to me, as a physician in this specialty in this box, but instead to kind of crack that open and say Where are the many, many, many places where I can add value and I can bring something that is very, very strongly desired by many employers. And of course, you could do something yourself, you know, entrepreneurship is for sure an option. There are many, many employers in the healthcare industry, as well as in non healthcare opportunities where your skill and your demonstrated value and that type of thinking and leadership that you bring to the table as a physician is incredibly sought after. So I want you to stop thinking about yourself and that sort of narrow, you know, what options are open to me as a blank, and instead think much more broadly, from a place not of limitation, but endless opportunity? Because really, that is the short answer to your question, right? What options are open all of them, your options are absolutely endless. And I hope this has given you a different way of thinking about that. And I hope you will stay tuned to this podcast as well as check the show notes where I’m going to give you some additional resources so that you can do sort of the bigger answer, right, the longer answer to this question and what specific types of things you might go pursue, but you can absolutely do anything you want. It’s got nothing to do with someone handing you a job based on your current clinical focus. Or based on your training or your area of specialty That’s just not at all what it’s about. And as soon as you can break free from that, and really get confident in knowing that the world is your oyster, and you can do so many things, then you can start to take real action towards making that a reality. For now, you’ve got to just bust through that wall. And, and understand that you are not limited in that way. There’s so much open to you that has nothing to do.

And so if you’re going to be searching for things, right, if you’re searching online, and you are asking colleagues and friends, and you’re always sort of couching it in that way of what’s open to me based on my experience, in my clinical role, or in my specific training, or fellowship, or whatever is your specialty, either by you know, formal work or by this the practice that you’ve done over the years, where you’ve kind of niche down that that in and of itself might be limiting to you to ask the question from that perspective. So stop doing that. Be in touch with me if you have more specific questions on this. Do not narrow your own thinking, do not be in your own way. Don’t stand in the way of your own progress. It’s a really important message that I know many many of you need to hear. So until next time, really let that thought sink in. Bye for now.

Before you go, please review, share and subscribe to this podcast. Your support makes all the difference and it truly helps this information reach someone who may really need it. Until next time, thanks for listening.

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