Alternative Career Ideas for Burned-Out Physicians

Jenny Handwerk |

Alternative Career Ideas for Burned-Out Physicians


Being a physician has advantages and disadvantages, just like any other job. Even though salaries for physicians are frequently better than for other professions, there are drawbacks to the job. Even without the additional strain of a worldwide pandemic, many physicians struggle with burnout.

Numerous doctors seek alternative employment options due to long hours, bureaucracy, and rising demands. Some want to explore new interests or get away from it all.

After all, becoming a doctor requires a lot of work. It lacks the best work-life balance of any profession. Many doctors eventually decide to pursue something different in their profession.


However, changing careers can seem intimidating. After working as a doctor, what field should you enter? Fortunately, there are lots of other jobs available for physicians! 

We can assist you in exploring your alternatives whether you're a retired doctor, seeking a second job, wanting to work from home, or simply experiencing medical burnout and seeking a change of direction in your career.


1. Pharmaceutical sales

Physicians possess a distinct and indisputable knowledge of medicine. Use your skills and knowledge as a pharmaceutical firm sales representative. Pharmaceutical sales representatives inform doctors about the company's goods, machinery, technological medical developments, and other topics. Doctors regularly interact with pharmacy representatives, giving them a unique perspective of the position and the provider sales process.


2. Medical education jobs

Teaching can be a powerful outlet for physicians who wish to use their medical knowledge to inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals. Creating curricula, creating CME programs, or joining a university faculty are all potential career paths for physicians in education. University teaching may be appealing if you are willing to conduct research. Still, community colleges and technical institutions frequently hire doctors for part-time teaching positions that don't require them to conduct research.


3. Physician Coach

Do you find it fulfilling to collaborate with other medical professionals? Could you help them improve their abilities or adjust so they can stay out of burnout and enjoy their occupations to the fullest? You could work as an individual consultant or physician coach for a healthcare company. Physician coaches are committed to supporting other doctors in managing their careers, responding to stress and obstacles, and creating future goals, regardless of the context.


4. Work in the Legal Field

The legal system respects medical practitioners. Physicians are called upon daily by attorneys to testify as experts in court. You might find this field interesting if you have an interest in criminal justice or forensics. Although any discipline may be asked to testify as an expert witness, forensic pathology and forensic psychiatry are two of the most common specialties in this field.


5. Corporate physician jobs and insurance medicine

Jobs in corporate medicine may involve working for health insurance or pharmaceutical corporations. Medical professionals who work for insurance firms or corporations exchange their lab coats for suits. Still, they make extensive use of the medical knowledge they acquired during their academic and private careers. 

Working as a health insurance physician may involve reviewing medical charts remotely or assisting in creating patient care policies and procedures. Jobs for pharmaceutical physicians may involve providing advice on business growth strategy and supporting research and product development.


6. Medical Writer

Think about your medical knowledge and your insider's view on healthcare provision. You might write or work as a journalist covering healthcare with such information. In many news sites and trade publications, people can find articles and essays from doctors and other healthcare professionals. Additionally, medical writers frequently benefit from a flexible schedule and can work independently. In addition, some practitioners decide to write part-time while still providing patient care.


7. Become a Consultant

Do you have experience with any other software system or Epic? Make a career change and become a healthcare informatics consultant by applying that information! Pharmaceutical and biotech businesses also use consultants for product development. They search for medical professionals who can assist them in testing and refining their new goods.


8. Concierge physician


Concierge medicine may be a good option if you need a change but want to visit patients. You can continue providing patient care using this alternative practice model, sometimes known as "retainer-based medicine" or "direct practice," without dealing with the difficulties associated with dealing with health insurance companies. Patients typically pay a monthly or yearly fee in exchange for easier access to convenient, individualized care.


9. Finance jobs for doctors

For doctors motivated by numbers, there are some intriguing positions at the nexus of health and finance. Healthcare nonprofits utilize doctors to help with fundraising, venture capital funds use doctors to advise on the profitability of healthcare investments, and biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies look to doctors as industry analysts.


10. Healthcare Administrator


The administrative field can be a good fit for you if you're called to be in a leadership role and assist others in becoming more productive. Although most healthcare administrators do not directly provide patient care, their decisions and actions directly impact the doctors, employees, and patients they serve.

You will likely find yourself lured back to practicing medicine in a more conventional setting, even if you take a temporary position in a nontraditional medical setting. And that's okay as well.