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Sunday
Dec122010

Non-clinical careers for Millenials

A user's guide

Among the many joys of working with medical students, particularly Millenials,  is how they push back. Generation Y, the Echo generation, typically refers to those who came of age around 2000 and are typified by their techo-comfort, the fact that they still live with their parents, and that they all expect a trophy just for showing up. In addition, cultural monitors and demographers predict that Echo kids will switch jobs, if not careers, more often.

Medical educators, like me, who ignore this demographic trend do so at great peril. Millenial's expectations are different than those of former students, and they demand more options, feedback, decision making and rewards. Here are my suggestions for the care and feeding of Millenial medical students when it comes to non-clinical careers:

Give them a place to play

Unsatisfied with traditional career pathways, students want options that satisfy their work objectives and work-life balance requirements. In addition to rotations on surgery, medicine, ER and the ICU, students should be offered elective rotations in biotech, medical device, diagnosic development and healthcare IT.

Recruit faculty who are experienced and can serve as role models

We're all familiar with the copy of the recruitment add for the new chairman, seeking someone with extraordinary clinical achievements, scientific and clinical research reknown, teaching awards and awe -inspiring leadership skills. Did we mention we want someone from industry with product development experience?

Stop playing games during the admission interview

Medical student applicants should be encouraged to tell the truth about their aspirations and career objectives without fearing retribution from admissions committees looking for "real docs". More and more students come to medical school with business, entreprenerial and technical backgrounds. It is obvious that they will want to leverage those  talents when they graduate.

Do a better job of measuring the impact of dual-degree programs

Joint MD/MBA programs are now offered by a great majority of US medical schools. Few have measured their impact, particularly as it applies to bioentrepreneurship and whether they make any difference.

Create opportunities to practice medicine and pursue non-clinical careers at the same time

We're heard from others on this site about the sources of physician dissatisfaction and job stress. Teaching students that they can have elements of both careers might lead to less cynicism, dissatisfaction and more joy.

Engage them in the conversation

Freelance MD should recruit student and resident authors.

The Trophy Kids want more, they want it now and they want a say.  We should help them get what they want.

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