Career Changer Available to Mentor

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    I’m an American, board-certified Internist who has left clinical medicine behind and would love to be a mentor to anyone who is considering leaving clinical medicine.

    I had wanted to become a physician since elementary school, but from medical school on, I kept wondering when I was going to fall in love with my work. I searched and searched for that one specialty (both within and beyond Internal Medicine), practice setting (office practice, hospitalist, alternative medicine, third world medicine), and anything else with which I might feel a connection. After “settling” on an Internal Medicine residency, I used my elective rotation slots to explore every subspecialty possible, searching for that one great career fit. Nothing felt right.

    After my Chief Residency year, I finally acknowledged and accepted how unhappy I was. The fact that I’d throw away all my medical journals immediately upon receiving them in the post was probably a good sign. It was extremely difficult going to work every day and being surrounded by so many phsycians who adore what they do. I felt like a misfit and that I was trying desperately to force a square into a round peg. I was being incredibly untrue to myself, putting on the facade that I enjoyed clinical medicine.

    So, after some executive coaching, lots of reading and completing of career change exercises, I’ve made the plunge. I’m currently working as a big-gift fundraiser for a new breast cancer centre wing at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London (my husband was transferred to London last year and I used this as a great opportunity to initiate my career change). I can’t express enough what a pleasure it is to wake up every morning and look forward to going to work.

    The change wasn’t easy. I face a weekly, sometimes daily, questioning of why I’ve made a change. Everyone is quick to offer their opinion that I’m wasting my talents and skills by leaving clinical medicine. I can honestly say that I felt my talents and skills were being wasted in clinical medicine. What I’ve learned most of all is that just because I’m good at something (and I am great at clinical medicine, at the risk of sounding immodest) doesn’t mean I should be doing it, especially since it was making me miserable.

    So, if there’s anyone out there who is thinking about a career change, I’d love to hear about it!


    I am a Harvard trained PhD then MD, followed by Pediatrics residency training and 1 yr of Genetics Fellowship, when I was tired of training, tired of being in debt and tired of no personal life. I then left NYC did general pediatrics for 8 years, while I got married and had 2 children. I was getting tired of the pediatric “mill” of seeing 35-40 patients a day, and went back to complete my genetics training (commuting 3 hours/day), with the support of my non-physician husband. Now I am well trained as a geneticist, but no longer feel as though I am a physician anymore, only teaching others genetics, diagnosing and discussing esoteric disorders, telling other physicians how to manage patients, and spending hours commuting to different hospitals to see patients. My additional training has NOT made my life stable for me, my children (7 & 9 yrs) or my husband. I am thinking of either returning to pediatrics part-time if I can find a practice that will not be afraid of my credentials. I am working with career management specialists to consider other fields that might be better suited not only to ME but my family. Would appreciate any advice you have…


    I am not familiar with the area you live, so I do not know the population with children, etc. You may consider making house calls. A lot of parents would love to have a doc come to them when their child is sick. I make house calls, and a lot of my repeat patients are those with children(I am a family physician).


    Thanks for the idea about house calls, but I guess most of your patients’ families have private insurance. How many patients per day do you see?


    I am so desperate for advice, but am not sure of my exact questions, and it is more likely that I am actually desperate for “the answer.” Anyone else can chime in as well.
    I am an MD who started medical school married, 4 bedroomhouse, live-in nanny, volvo, the works: who very abruptly, during my 2nd year became a very single mother of a toddler. I struggled to finish, as you can imagine, putting my toddler a 4 hr drive away to basically live with my parents. Being a Mom 1st, I took the gutsy executive decision, and certainly against popular opinion at the time, to not do a residency and tend to my beautiful little boy, who had already been through enough.
    Good news is, it has all worked out, I have a lucrative medical-director consulting type Manhattan job, am reading & writing medicine, am supporting my boy, his private school, nanny & extracurriculars. He is now 8, his needs are well met and we have “won”.
    Trouble is, I think about clinical medicine all the time. I get teary when I listen to my friends & brothers talk about their jobs, although they wish they had my opportunity and think I’m crazy to even entertain the thought. I can’t even watch ER or medical programs anymore. I just don’t feel like a real doctor.
    I’m seriously thinking about going back, despite everyone appearing so unhappy. But for a single mother, is it do-able? Is it worth it? Am I just romanticizing what is on the other side, because it was an opportunity that was somewhat taken away from me? I’d love gut reactions from moms/parents.

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