Medicine is a sure thing. What else is out there for trained physicians to do?

“Medicine is not a sure thing,” counters Dr. Arlen Meyers, President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs. “Take a look at all the doctors who are disgruntled and looking for something else.”

Dr. Meyers, who writes about bioentrepreneurship at Modern Physician, emphasizes that a good idea is simply not enough. For MDs trying to break into business, there are four components to success:

  • education and know-how
  • experience
  • networks
  • money

A doctor jobs tip: tap your expertise

Dr. Julie Silver, who is the author of many books on healing and rehabilitation, emphasizes the expertise MDs bring to the table. So for physicians interested in launching a publishing career, Dr. Silver reminds them that “what is critical to remember is that information will always be a top priority, and if you have information that others want or need, you have something very valuable.”

With her most recent book, You Can Heal Yourself, hitting shelves in January 2012, Dr. Silver is often asked about writing books and other types of publishing. “The best advice I give is to take a course and get some training,” she says. “Some courses will also offer the opportunity to meet editors and literary agents, and these contacts can be invaluable.”

She directs a CME publishing course at Harvard Medical School that draws physicians from around the country. “The course is filled with very talented attendees as well as faculty members who can’t wait to meet doctors who want to write and publish,” she says. “It’s a lot of fun, and we’ve trained perhaps one thousand or so doctors – most of whom have gone on to publish in different forms.”

Possible nonclinical job for doctors

So what else is out there? Here are some suggestions, culled from a variety of writers on nonclinical jobs, including Joseph Kim, a physician-executive who blogs at Non-Clinical Jobs. He compiled this list for StudentDoc, and writes as well for KevinMD.

Here is Dr. Kim’s roundup of nonclinical job opportunities for physicians.

1. Healthcare administration
2. VC, finance, market research, etc.
3. Writing and medical communications
4. Technology and Informatics
5. Disease management
6. Pharma/biotech/device
7. Expert witnessing (
8. Public health
9. Consulting
10. Research
11. Executive recruiting
12. Start a company

Read more on nonclinical physician careers:

Next: Physician salaries often drive careers

More: Nonclinical careers offer MDs rewarding options

More: Physician career options

More: Other possible jobs for doctors

Back: Nonclinical career changes

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