There are several ways to achieve a gradual transition from a clinical to non-clinical job.
Some types of jobs, such as those in academic research or hospital administration, allow part-time involvement during a transition period. As a result, these are paths commonly chosen by clinical physicians looking to make a change. There is the ability to test such options without burning any bridges, allowing a return to full-time practice if the fit isn’t right.
There are also numerous ways to do freelance or consulting work in many areas. Physicians can provide services for the pharmaceutical, communications, legal, and insurance industries in their spare time. When considering a job in medical communications, I began writing for several websites in order to gain additional expertise in my field of interest.
I also posted my information on the American Medical Writers Association newsletter shortly before my job offer came through. Freelancing helped improve the efficiency and quality of my writing served as a testing ground for my targeted job. I also provided links to my writing to potential employers, essentially creating an online portfolio.
Physicians can increase their freelance volume in a step-wise fashion, potentially converting from full-time to part-time clinical practice and then to a new job. Similarly, freelance projects allow potential employers to interact with you, directly assess your work, and evaluate you for future full-time positions.