Non-Clinical Career Transition

Posted on by PRN | 4 Comments

PRN Member Don Brown, D.O. is an anesthesiologist who contacted Dr. Mudge-Riley in February 2010 after spending over two years trying to get established into a non-clinical career. He already had some experience as a financial advisor but was looking for something where he could use his business and medical skills, work remotely and also enjoy the next decade of his life – both in his career and with his family and personal interests.  He also had certain salary requirements.  They began working together in March of 2010.  In late April, Don began work from home in a non-clinical job as a Physician Advisor.


What was your biggest challenge when contemplating a career change

My challenge was this:  I was 50 years old, only really knew clinical anesthesia, and needed to reinvent myself.  I tried Principal Financial group but quickly realized that I was not a salesman.  At the time, the economy was at a 10% unemployment rate.  My question was, ‘how do I use my clinical knowledge fora 2nd career without practicing medicine?’I really didn’t know where to turn as I had no real support from any organization, not the AOA, etc. 


What role did PRN play in your transition?

I was totally unaware there were sites like this.  It offered job ideas, people to network with, etc.  I was also very new to networking and I found on PRN that the people I interacted with were very supportive.


How did working with Dr. Mudge-Riley help you?

I had been trying on my own for ~2 years, only finding the same job positions with the same runaround answers out there, things like, ‘you are qualified’ but I kept hearing  “no.”  I needed advice, a fresh opinion, and other untapped resources.  I was beginning to wonder“IS it me?  What am I doing wrong?”


How did you decide on the new career you chose?

I was lucky.  This job allows me to use clinical knowledge, work from home (no need to buy/sell my home in this market, or relocate), or work from anywhere I have hard wire high speed internet.  Maybe we’ll move to Florida so we can avoid future Michigan winters!  People are extremely nice and the company treats everyone exceptionally well and there is ability to grow.  I was totally unaware anything like this existed.


What is the best tip you could give other physicians considering a similar career change?

You will get discouraged and feel rejected.  Get over it; if you are capable of completing med school and /or post med school training you will succeed.  It is frustrating. If you can practice clinical part time for financial support during your transition, then great; otherwise build up a nest egg.  You might need to tap it.  


Comments (4)

  1. I would be interested to learn more about what a “physician advisor” is!

  2. les says:

    same here, very curious, advisor on financial issues? 2nd opinion on clinical issues? advisor to other physicians or corporations, venture capital companies? regardless, sounds great and continued good luck

  3. Cynthia Reyes, MD says:

    I’m also in my 50s and would like to free myself completely from clinical practice soon. Ideally, I would prefer working from home because I’m caring for my elderly parents. I am still doing clinical work part-time, but find myself dissatisfied. I have done a few freelance medical writing projects and enjoyed it, but the pay is inadequate and not distributed in a timely manner. I, too, am interested in finding out what a physician advisor is. I would love to do something where I could utilize my medical knowledge without having to see patients.

  4. Help!!!!!!! I had a 30+ year career as a surgeon. That ended in 2008 due to an ulnar neuropathy from a mitral valve repair which fell apart 4 weeks post op. Now I am OK except for the hand problem which is permanent. My board certification lapsed because I could not recert when it expired. I worked for 18 months as a Medicare risk adjustment doc but what started out as good earnings deteriorated due to chaos at the company. I have a child in college and one yet to go. Any ideas? I have always had an interest in medical jurisprudence but because of the lack of recent practice and board certification, I am not really eligible to be an expert witness. I am good at summarizing and assessing the facts of cases, obtaining and prepping experts, and doing case research with good references regarding this. Any help would be appreciated. HFMD

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