Doctors Changing Careers – Motivations

This is the first of a series of articles directed at medical osteoporosis treatment Harlingen considering a career change. Topics look into (i) factors that influence your career path (lifestyle, commitment, responsibilities, pride, finances, age), (ii) what keeps doctors from making career changes, (iii) attitudes of family, friends and the public to the career-changing doctor, and (iv) what options doctor’s have in non-medical areas.

As a medical practitioner you have some of the most highly ‘transferable’ skills sought after in business and commerce. Your medical degree connotes professionalism, team-work experience, problem-solving and analytical skills, hard-work, education, intelligence, wisdom and life-experience.

If you do a search for ‘doctor AND career change’ on Medline it will return to you numerous articles about factors influencing career specialisations that doctors choose within medicine; but you will find very few articles for doctors considering a change to career outside of medicine, and no articles discussing the process of making this difficult decision. In this article I attempt to summarise my own anecdotal findings from conversations with other doctors and my own experience. A motivation to change careers often develops over many years (if not decades) and may even start while at medical school. For many, a dissonance grows stronger over this time period from a general sense of unease to a strong desire to ‘just quit’ and ‘take my chances’; balanced against this is the sense of responsibility and commitment we feel to our patient’s and a hope that one’s lot may improve with more advanced specialisation or professional status. This conflict many generate many problems affecting work and social life.

Sometimes there is a clash between key personality traits and the expectations/pressures of a doctor’s role. Although, the practice of medicine is flexible and their are fields that require varying degrees of particular attributes, for some people there are no common medical specialties that satisfy them. Personality traits that may conflict with the doctor role include:

• narcism eg. “I’m too good to waste my time on these #%!@ people”, “I’ll only see y and z patients; you see the rest”
• high novelty-seeker e.g. “I’m so bored doing this all the time”, “How can I spice this up?”, “The first 2 months of a new job are fun, but then I need to move on”
• anti-social e.g.”I really don’t like being around people”, “leave me alone”
• laissez-faire’ – an attitude of bare-minimalism that places patients and yourself at excess risk e.g. “whatever”, “yeah yeah”, “it’s not the best I could do, but it’ll do”.
• indecisiveness e.g. “I can’t do it, it’s too risky”, “I can’t decide – let’s do a TRM MCT scan”, “You decide”

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