Key lessons transitioning from a clinical environment into a Public Health Career
1. I didn't need to see patients to practice medicine.
We often believe a doctor looks a certain way with a stethoscope around their neck. Start to shift your mindset to know that you can practice medicine differently. This will make a big difference. You can then believe in the outputs of your work.
2. You can contribute to health issues in a more meaningful way.
I don't always see the outputs of my work but I feel confident of need and motivation for them and the potential longer term impact that they can have. I know that the work can potentially impact thousands or millions of people. By developing my core skills in public health, I could follow my own passion in global health and be responsive to the needs of populations across the world.
3. You can find an environment where you have more energy
With my transition to public health, I've been able to find environments and teams I wanted to work with. This is something to be reflective about, to explore and meet lots of different people and be in different settings and experiences. If you love spending hours researching and writing, but sometimes also need people to bounce off of and love collaborating in a team. Being able to create my own path allowed me to manage my own energy levels, to feel more balanced so that I'm not so drained and feel healthy and happy and be the best version of myself so that I can continue to give as a doctor and give more to the populations that I'm serving.
What careers are there in Public Health ?
So what kind of roles could you do after training or stepping into a different role in public health?
There are so many different roles and these will depend on the organizations, the bodies, that plan and deliver public health in your country and influenced by the mechanisms of that delivery. So if you're unsure about what's out there, start to connect with other colleagues who are working in different settings to find out more about what they're doing. Talk to people, do networking, start looking at interesting job titles and their job specs for those and see how you can use your expertise in interests and skills in those settings. Look at academic publications that interest you. If you have a passion for dermatology in certain populations, and you find a paper that interests you, look at the people who are working on those topics, and see what they've done in their careers. LinkedIn is a fantastic place for connecting with other doctors and healthcare professionals.
Successful Transition Out Of Clinical Medicine
Transitioning out of clinical medicine will look and feel different because a CV from a clinical perspective is different to what you may be expected to have done or can demonstrate when you go to look at Public Health roles.
Start to build up your networks and explore outside the clinical setting that you are in so that you can understand who is doing a different role, and what they are doing. Be inspired by them and start to find role models so you can build up your dream career. There are endless roles in public health. Adding your skills as a doctor and your clinical skills to your public health skills - there will be endless roles for you. It may take time to find the one that's best suited, but the joy of medicine and the joy of public health is variety.
Lessons for a Successful Transition
Find and create a career you love outside full-time clinical medicine.
If clinical medicine is not feeling like it is the right thing for you right now, find your true purpose and create your own vision of success and what that looks like for you in your career. We can all be authentic and be ourselves. Because we are doctors, it doesn't mean that we can't follow our own true purpose in life. It's also important to prioritize your physical and mental health and be the happiest and healthiest version of yourself. This is something we so often overlook as doctors we give, give, give, and we give very little back to ourselves, often putting our priorities at the bottom pile.
Use your medical skills and experience to add value, add value to patients, to populations, to do medicine in a different way to think about how you can change the health of populations around the world, by using all these skills. Add to your skills to collectively address some of the health inequalities in the world and overcome the challenges in health epidemics, where we need to think differently and approach health systems healthcare differently.
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I help doctors create a purposeful, flexible career outside full-time clinical medicine so they can control their time and have more balance in their lives. To find out more book a FREE 60-minute discovery call. https://calendly.com/resilienceyoga/60min