With the anniversary of my last clinic session coming up this month, I’ve been reflecting on my nonclinical career journey.
After years of making numerous changes to try to make my clinical position a better fit, I finally made the decision to leave clinical practice. I didn’t make this decision lightly. I struggled with it for a long time.
When I first asked myself the question, “What if I don’t want to be a doctor anymore?”, no one was openly talking about leaving medicine.
I felt like quitting would be the equivalent of “selling out” and “abandoning my patients and colleagues”. As I looked around, everyone else seemed to have it all together. At that time, people would have probably looked at me and said the same thing.
I was smiling and calm on the outside. But I was secretly miserable. Ultimately, I made leaving mean that I would be a failure.
Besides, what would I do if I left? Medicine was all I knew. It was what I was trained and qualified to do.
The only options I was aware of from medical school were seeing patients or doing research. I knew of a few doctors who had “gone over to the dark side”. But the little I knew about pharma didn’t fit my idea of a meaningful career. I couldn’t see myself as a researcher.
I was dealing with feelings of doubt, insecurity, guilt, and overwhelm at the thought of leaving. So, I pushed all those feelings away by staying busy with work (I mean the work never ended anyway, and I always felt behind so this was easy to do).
Everything changed when I started being honest with myself.
I got crystal clear on what I wanted…a life where work wasn’t all-consuming, but still allowed me to make an impact in meaningful ways. One where I didn’t have to regularly work nights and weekends. And where I could make time for the things that mattered most – my marriage, my family, and my personal health and well-being.
And that shift allowed me to finally make the decision to leave. I was no longer ambivalent about clinical practice and straddling the option to love it or leave it. Indecision vanished. And so much relief followed after making the decision.
Although I hadn’t yet figured out what I would do and how I would get there, an end was in sight. It’s kind of like when match day results are announced for the new interns and you realize that you won’t be an intern forever (even though it sometimes feels that way).
I gave myself permission to want what I wanted. And acknowledged that what once made me happy, no longer did.
The interesting part is that after the decision was made, I found ways to be happy each day. That’s not to say that there still weren’t challenges because there were. But the way in which I was relating to the work changed. I was able to set better boundaries and follow through on them. It was easier to say no to things that weren’t working for me while still contributing incredible value to my patients, colleagues, and organization.
What followed was a 3-year exploration of what I wanted and needed in an opportunity that would be aligned with what mattered most. When an ideal opportunity presented itself, I was ready for it and able to take advantage of it.
Next month I will celebrate my 7 year anniversary in that nonclinical career position. I am thriving and living a life beyond clinical practice that I didn’t believe was possible.
After I started talking about my transition and the joy I’d found in my new nonclinical career, physicians began reaching out to me to ask for help in navigating their own process which includes first making the decision.
The reason I started coaching physicians like you is so that you didn’t have to struggle with that decision alone.
It was important to me to remind you that you get to choose what you do with your career.
You have options.
And when you are ready to make the leap, you will have support and guidance from a trusted partner who has been there and done it.
I know from my own experience and that of the physician clients I’ve helped, that support is invaluable. You are not the first to make this decision and you won’t be the last.
You don’t have to do it alone.
But making the decision will move you from feeling disempowered to feeling empowered.
Do you struggle with the decision to leave clinical practice?
Click here to let me know via a confidential email and I’ll send you some specific tips to help with the decision-making process.
Leave a Reply.
Life Beyond Clinical Practice with Dr. Michelle Bailey
Hi, I'm Dr. Michelle Bailey.
I help physicians who are unhappy or unsatisfied with their current career find a nonclinical career that they love.
Retiring early from clinical practice after almost 20 years as a board-certified pediatrician I successfully made the leap and transitioned to a nonclinical career.
I'm thriving in my new career and am on a mission to help other physicians do the same with the support, guidance, and community that I wish I had when I was struggling with this decision.
You're invited to connect with me in my private Facebook community for physicians to learn about all things related to your nonclinical career transition. Join here.
All Being Present End Of Year Energy Drains Exercise Feel Free Fitness Free Yourself Getting Things Done Goals Health Leadership Life Lessons Life Vision Mind Body Connection Mind-body Connection Mindfulness Recharging Your Batteries Ritual Self Care Self-care Success Women's Empowerment Women's Health Work Life Balance
Copyright 2023. Michelle Bailey & Company, LLC.
www.drmichellebailey.com. All Rights Reserved.
www.drmichellebailey.com. All Rights Reserved.
Proudly powered by Weebly