Disposable Doctors

Disposable Doctors

We all know how long it takes to create a practicing physician-in most instances, four years of college, four years of medical school, three to five years of residency and maybe two years of fellowship after that. Unfortunately, if disability, disease or some other life circumstance prevents trainees from getting over the finish line, they are, in most cases damaged goods, disposable and lost in the next career wilderness.

It doesn't have to be that way. Every now then I am contacted by someone with an MD or DO who wants career rehabilitation advice. Here's what I suggest to them:

  1. You are not alone. Getting over the loss is emotionally traumatic like getting a divorce or a Dear John letter. Getting teary-eyed talking about it is to be expected.

  2. You will need education, resources, networks, mentors, experience, peer to peer support, and non-clinical career development guidance.

  3. You need to get in the game as soon as possible, even if it means working for free for some reasonable period of time. It is much easier to get a job when you have a job.

  4. You will have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your next Prince.

  5. Build your social media platforms so employers can find you.

  6. Network, network, network.

  7. Hitch your wagon to your local connector stars.

  8. What got you to where you are won't get you to where you want to go.

  9. Don't expect your medical society or the medical education establishment to help you.

  10. Stay away from toxic people.

Things have changed since you started medical school. 

There are a lot of Plan B doctors. Dust yourself off and welcome to the tribe.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs

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  • Sam Wilkinson

    I agree that even the most intelligent students who graduated with ease at high school may find medical school to be an entirely different level of rigor.

  • Hugo Marquez

    Some people are underestimating how hard medical school is.

  • Chris Rose

    Medical school is the first experience in which students work very hard academically and still may be nothing more than average in the class.

  • Jason Collins

    This is a severe reality check !

  • Adam Rodriguez

    You will never be the same again.....

  • Sophie Prescott

    If salary is your sole motivator, you may end up sorely disillusioned.

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org. He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at www.bridgehealth.com and www.cliexa.com and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at www.globalminded.org, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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