Burnout amongst healthcare professionals has skyrocketed in recent years – not least because of increased awareness of how it manifests and its consequences. This combined with overwhelming pressure on healthcare systems, general dissatisfaction as well as disillusionment with institutions eans that many healthcare workers, particularly doctors, are looking to either diversify their career or change career paths altogether.
Medical career progression pathways are often well-trodden, fixed paths which are built around workforce planning and service provision. It is only in recent years that there’s been more attention on initiatives like less-than-full-time training, which is gradually being adopted by health boards across the country. In addition, taking years out of training is now becoming the norm and the UKFPO career destination reports leading up to 2019 confirm this. The trend is clear – a proportion of doctors are taking a detour away from the conventional career pathways.
It is no secret that doctors are highly technically skilled and talented individuals with strengths in non-technical skills such as communication, time management and organisation. It should not come as a surprise that a lot of the characteristics are transferable skills that are sought after in a range of industries, not limited to areas such medical journalism, health policy, health technology, entrepreneurship, pharmaceuticals and medical illustration.
It is important to note that the decision to diversify or change career paths is one that should be an individualised – you should be the one making this decision on your own terms. This is not about encouraging doctors to leave the profession - far from it. It is about ensuring doctors feel fulfilled and valued, doing what they enjoy and are passionate about, whether that may be in conventional medical jobs or in alternative careers.