Ideas For Increased Effectiveness

A non-clinical career – steps to achieve the success you are seeking

Once in a while, I coach a physician whose journey to a non-clinical career is so smooth, it is nothing short of perfection.

I recently enjoyed this opportunity with a physician client who came to me with a one year-long plan to transition from her current clinical role into some kind of non-clinical job whose description she did not yet even have!

She had a very clear timeline based on the exit demands of her current clinical position and was ready to get into action. What struck me most about our initial interactions was how realistic her expectations were!

After diligently identifying what she might want to do and why, in her new non-clinical career, and then following through on all the steps we outlined together, she recently found herself on the verge of receiving an offer for her “ideal job”. Barring something totally unexpected, she can anticipate starting in her new non-clinical position on exactly the date she had planned for.

There are many lessons to be learned and shared from this experience for those of you who are looking to exit your current situation, whether that be for a new clinical position (another group? your own practice? your new concierge medicine practice?) or the start to a non-clinical career.

Lesson 1. Know your own What
Be clear about what you are seeking – have a vision of your life moving forward, that inspires you.

Lesson 2. Know your own Why

Understand why you are making this transition. Have a clear sense of purpose and to be focused on what you are moving towards, rather than on what you are running away from.

Lesson 3. Only once you know your What and Why should you then focus on your How

Only once my client was equipped with the tools of visionpurpose and core values, where she ready for us to begin formulating her transition plan. These steps are all too easily missed, which makes for muddled thinking and a “throw a bowl of spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks” approach.

Lesson 4. Balance “Reality” with stretching yourself

My client quickly understood the reality a transition to a non-clinical career might present, and rather than be disheartened, she opted to challenge herself to find her best possible situation.

Lesson 5. Represent yourself well and authentically

How you define yourself in this transition phase and what you communicate to others about your career transition intentions become critical skills to master at this time. Whether this is your verbal communication, your resume or your cover letter, you need to appear both professional AND authentic.

Lesson 6. Learn how to network effectively (even if you’re an introvert)

Very few new career opportunities arise from job boards. Especially for the level of income and professionalism that physicians represent. The most likely and deeply satisfying opportunities come out of relationships and well-nurtured connections. With encouragement, my somewhat introverted client learned how to utilize tools such as LinkedIn to foster new relationships with networking. These ultimately proved crucial to her success.

Lesson 7. Give yourself adequate time

My client’s journey will have taken approximately one year. Yours may take more, or less. Begin early.

Lesson 8. Commit courageously to doing ALL the work that this transition requires

There is much to do when moving from one career situation to another, especially for a major career shift. You may need to perform hours of Internet research, or reaching out to others. In my Physician Odyssey Program, I outline many steps that need to be completed. This client did them all, diligently and in a very timely manner.

Lesson 9. Follow through, even if you’re not sure where it’s heading

There were times when she was unclear as to the value of some of the steps. She was uncomfortable being persistent, but didn’t let her “inner critic” rule the day.

Lesson 10. Don’t give up!

She recently confessed that she was on the verge of giving up 9 months in the process. But she didn’t.

We both look forward to celebrating her accomplishment when everything is finalized. And even if there is a hiccup, she feels confident she knows the steps to finding her ideal “starter” non-clinical career.

What about you?

Philippa Kennealy ran a private family practice, and a hospital, before building her coaching business helping MDs launch and run successful practices and businesses. Visit her online at to learn more.