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Entries in Physician Career Change (22)


Physicians & Lifestyle Design

In the last couple of posts we've discussed the idea of taking responsibility for yourself and "building your own ship" and we've also gone through a few common reasons why physicians aren't the best at career modification.

In this post, I'd like to spend a little time introducing you to the idea of "lifestyle design," something that has become a bit of a buzz-phrase in the business world but as far as I can tell hasn't penetrated the world of medicine just yet (for a lot of reasons).

I'll begin with a personal story...

When I jumped off the academic track in 2006, I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do as a career but I knew I wanted something unique.  My idea was to design a career that was flexible, fun, adventurous, and meaningful, all the while paying my bills and being a responsible spouse and parent.  Simple, huh?

I spent months thinking about how to do this as a physician.  I searched websites and blogs.  I spoke with mentors and colleagues.  I read the literature, all to no avail.  There seemed to be no conversation about a career like this in medicine.  I mean, there were a few articles about volunteer opportunities or non-traditional careers, but nothing really like what I was trying to create.  

What I found, though, was that while the medical community was silent about how to develop a very non-traditional and interesting career, the business world had already awakened to the idea.  Within the world of business, the idea of becoming a "free agent" and overhauling your career through "lifestyle design" was beginning to pick up steam. 

Around this time I picked up a copy of the book Free Agent Nation by Daniel Pink.  I'm not sure how I found this book, but it became a sort of manifesto for me.  In this book, Dan explains how more and more individuals were escaping their cubicles to become independent free-lancers and living their lives with increasing flexibility and empowerment.  It was a great read and it hit me at a very important time.  Through this book I realized that I was not alone in my desire for more autonomy, and that a lot of workers who had already yanked themselves off the grid were thriving.  I was hooked.

The second book I read was a book that has become a bit of a cult classic already, Timothy Ferriss' text, The 4-Hour Workweek .  This book is a basic introduction to how Tim built a stream of residual income and then used his extra time and money to explore his interests and live a more interesting life.  It was Tim's book that introduced me to the term "lifestyle design," and while the phrase might seem a bit hokey, it's a very powerful concept.  Basically, what Tim discusses in his book is the idea that it is possible to live an incredible life if you prioritize correctly, live frugally, and develop your entrepreneurial side.  Some have criticized the book recently, explaining that no productive person-- not even Tim Ferriss himself-- really only works four hours a week-- but I would argue that that's not really the point.  The catchy title sells books, but it's the mindset Tim describes that is the reason why the book is an important introduction for individuals who feel helplessly caught in a hamster wheel at work.  Tim's point is that you can-- through ingenuity and hard work-- leap off the hamster wheel and into something much better.

So how does all this apply to physicians?

Well, when you have a career discussion with most physicians, it often boils down to whether or not that individual wants to continue practicing clinical medicine or go into a nonclinical job.  There's nothing wrong with either, mind you, and I have friends who have great careers in each; however, for me and for many other physicians, I suspect, this approach is just too simplistic.

The fact is, I like clinical medicine.  I've spent a of of time getting good at what I do and I'd like to continue to be able to help people by providing good clinical care to patients who need it.  I also like many aspects of the nonclinical opportunities available to physicians-- things like consulting, writing, medical device development, and many other niches really appeal to me.

My main question is not whether I want to practice clinical medicine or jump into a nonclinical career, it's how do I design my life to be able to practice medicine, participate in the nonclinical activities I enjoy, and still have the flexibility to pursue life outside of medicine?  Discussions about clinical versus nonclinical are at their core too reductionistic for most modern physicians.  What most modern physicians really need to be having are overarching discussions about how to design a lifestyle that incorporates the multiple facets of their career interests and also does not overlook the ultimate (and most likely unspoken) goals they have for their lives. This is a much deeper conversation, but one that is desperately needed today in this time of significant upheaval in our healthcare system.

So where do you begin if you're a physician and you are interested in exploring this idea of "lifestyle design?"

Well, don't go to the career advice section of your specialty journal and certainly don't go to the HR person at your hospital or academic institution.  

In my opinion, you should begin by checking out the conversations going on in other fields.  There are some incredible websites built around some really creative and interesting people who are living fascinating lives and teaching others how to do the same.  Check out the following as a starting point:

Once you immerse yourself in this culture you begin to see possibilities that you never would have realized before.  What's more, as a physician there are even more possibilities available to you than for the typical person, if only you'll step out and take a little risk.

Over the last few years this idea of lifestyle design has been a focal point of my thinking when it comes to career moves and ultimate goals.  I've invested a lot of time, cash, and sweat into learning how to build a unique career, and my hope with Freelance MD is that we can use this website as a vehicle to help other physicians, just like you, succeed in designing a lifestyle and career they truly enjoy. 


Physician Leadership In Industry

Physicians in industry must be strong leaders and team players.

Do you consider yourself a leader or a team player or both? To succeed in industry, physicians will need to be strong leaders—but also team players.

Physicians looking for non-clinical careers may find a good fit in the medical device or pharmaceutical industries.  Some will readily adapt to the technical aspects of their new role. Others may be thought leaders in their field—but could fail if they cannot work effectively in teams. Still others may not fit, if they can’t or won’t follow leaders with less clinical knowledge or experience.

The culture of a company will vary depending on what is valued. For instance, some companies are science-based. Applying the scientific method in all parts of the organization is expected and highly valued. Other companies are very competitive. They compete intensely against time, past performance and industry rivals to rapidly achieve quality results. While companies may differ in their core values, most get things done by working in teams. Teams move scientific breakthroughs from the lab through the clinic to the marketplace—and support other aspects of the business. 

Most companies believe diverse teams working together generate the best decisions for their patients, staff, and shareholders. Their team structure provides opportunities for staff to impact the direction of the organization, gain broader perspective about other functions within the company, and reach their full potential. 

So, what does this mean to a physician who is considering a career move to the medical device or pharmaceutical industries?  t means the physician must be able to demonstrate strong leadership skills—but also work effectively in teams. It means that they will not always be the leader, even if they are experts in the area. It means they will need to flexible, adaptive to change. 

Leading companies in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries continuously evaluate staff on their performance.  But this is not just about getting things done or getting results. Staff members are also evaluated on (1) how they achieve results in line with company values and (2) how effectively they demonstrate the company’s leadership attributes. 

As you consider career opportunities in industry, imagine how you might be evaluated against the expectations of your new role. How would others describe your performance?   What would you include in your self-assessment about team work?  Here are some statements of effective performance:

Team Leader

  • Displays strong leadership in a team environment
  • Builds a strong sense of teamwork and purpose
  • Conveys a powerful influence in a team environment
  • Promotes cooperative behavior and team efforts
  • Excels in building teams for success

 Team Player

  • Excels in developing team momentum, enthusiasm, and pride
  • Resolves team conflicts with finesse
  • Participates effectively in team efforts  
  • Excels as a team player

3 Thoughts On Physicians & Career Modification

Non-clinical and non-traditional medical careers are a common theme on Freelance MD.

If you peruse the posts on Freelance MD you'll find articles on a variety of topics—writing and publishing, real estate investing, concierge medicine, medical device development, business skills, leadership, journalism, and many more.

The common theme of all these posts is the idea of career change, or as I like to call it, career modification. It's the idea that as a physician, you aren't forced to accept the status quo; you have options, and there are a variety of ways in which you can harness your skills and personality traits.

Having said this, however, I must say that it is very difficult for the typical physician to make any kind of career change.  It's been a long time since I've met a physician who wasn't significantly frustrated with their career, but I'd say maybe only one out of fifty, or even one out of a hundred, of these frustrated physicians are actively taking steps to modify their career in some meaningful way.  It's a strange phenomenon, but it does seem to be a cultural trait in our profession.

Look, I'm not a professional career counselor.  If you want professional guidance, I'd suggest Ashley Wendel, whose entire career is focused on helping physicians transition into more satisfying careers.  However, for those of you who can tolerate my amateurish anecdotes, here are my top three reasons why I believe physicians have a difficult time modifying their careers...

(drum roll please)

1. Physicians are Narrowly Trained

A typical physician is overall a very narrowly trained individual.  

The majority of us were science majors in college and then spent a minimum of seven years being crammed full of medical minutia.  When we finished our medical training, we had a fairly firm grasp of our area of clinical expertise, but not much else.  Few physicians have had any significant exposure to personal finance, the legal system, business transactions, popular writing, art, negotiations, investing, or anything of the like.  Many of the physicians who I know who do have a special area of expertise outside of medicine sort of fell into it, or were raised in it by their family upbringing, not necessarily because they sought it out.  

When you compare a physician to an attorney, for instance, and the diverse professional experience of the typical person in law or business, it's easy to see why attorneys and business-types seem to transition in and out of careers with a lot more ease than physicians.  We know the Krebs Cycle; they know contracts, and corporate structure, and business appropriateness.  It's not that we physicians are any more or less as professionals than our peers in other professions because of our narrow training, it's simply that what works in our narrowly defined world doesn't necessarily work elsewhere.  

Physicians who have decided to launch into business, or anything else for that matter, without sufficient prep time usually find just how lacking in knowledge they really are.  Our narrow training puts a premium on our clinical knowledge and skills-- it takes a high investment of time and resources to obtain a medical degree and become a licensed physician-- but it also condemns us to a narrow career path unless we actively seek out further training.  

The good news is that with further training, career transition is much easier.  Here at Freelance MD we're committed to exposing physicians to training in a multitude of diverse niches.   We don't want the "narrow training" issue to be an excuse anymore for any physician considering a career move.

2. Physicians have Difficulty with Ambiguity

This reason takes a little more to explain.

Think about your medical training and your current medical career.  How did you get where you are today?  

Few careers are more systematized for more years than a career in medicine.  Most physicians began thinking about medical school before college and worked towards medical school as a goal from the beginning of their undergrad education.

Take and excel at my core science classes...check.  Take MCAT...check.  Get letters of recommendation...check.  Send in applications and pray...check.

Once in medical school our lives are completely structured to the point of exhaustion.  We are routed into our various specialty tracks and move along the medical assembly-line like widgets, getting the final stamp of approval and then shipped to a place of employment where we dig into our clinical careers, join a medical society, buy a house, begin paying off our school loans, and well, not much else, really.  

When we finally take a look around-- years into our clinical careers-- we have no professional experience other than medicine from which to draw and no practical experience in how to transition into something that doesn't have a structure or system to it.  

Become an entrepreneur?  

Where's the fellowship for entrepreneurial medicine?  

Develop a medical device?

Isn't there a masters degree in medical device development somewhere?

Write a book?  

I'd love to, but I don't have time to go back and get a college degree in English.

Does this seem familiar?

Physicians are so trained in a systematic educational experience of structure and hierarchy that it is very difficult to imagine how an ambiguous career move might work.  The idea of setting sail without a predetermined path and system to plug into leaves many physicians completely flummoxed. 

Instead of taking a machete and beginning to forge our own path through the career jungle, we wait for someone to build a superhighway that we can follow, complete with rest areas and gourmet coffee shops.  Of course, this rarely (read, never) happens so many physicians sit around saturating in the magical thinking that someone will come along with a foolproof plan to save us, and getting more desperate and frustrated when that person doesn't show up.

I could go on and on about this point, but I will use this as an easy transition to my final reason physicians have a difficult time modifying their careers...

3. Physicians are not Risk-Takers

Alright, everybody calm down.  

I know you're brave and calm in tense situations.  I know you can thread an angiocath, or intubate during a code, or your steady hands can find the pulsating bleeder with the best of them, even when everyone around you is losing control.  I know you're good under pressure, but this is not the same as being a person who is comfortable accepting calculated risk.

What I've found in conversations with physicians is that their risk profile is extremely low.  Yes, they're frustrated with their careers, but leave their jobs, start a company, move to a different part of the country, invest actual cash in an endeavor? Are you out of your mind?  Greg, those things are so risky...

Look folks, here's the facts...

You will never grow, transition to a better career, get from where you are to some better place, move beyond your current boundaries, or do anything of significance without assuming some measure of risk.  It's impossible and if you're waiting for that risk-free career move to show up, well my friend, I hope you've got a lot of time on your hands.

Many physicians have a difficult time with this aspect of career modification, even sadly, when the only risk is of the potential damage it might do to their professional standing.  I know a number of physicians, for instance, who deep down do not like academic medicine, but who persist in academics because they simply can't bear the thought of what people might say if they left or how it might affect their standing with their peers.  They're afraid they'll be dropped from this committee or not invited to speak at that conference.  They persist in their academic positions not for the love of teaching or the stimulation of their research; they persist because of the fear that they might lose something in the transition.  Their positions have become shackles that confine them, and their peers have become juries whose approval they must have.

When I speak to a physician who is hung up on this aspect of risk, I council them to of course make sure the transition they're considering makes sense-- talk to mentors, read up on the area they're considering jumping into, spend considerable time planning the transition.  However, in the end most of these career decisions come down to taking a jump off a cliff, and when I get to this point in the conversation I always discuss with them the risk of the status quo.

You see, career modifications are not a discussion of risk versus no risk.  They're a discussion of risk versus risk-- the risk of a career change versus the risk of staying in the same place.

I ask them, "What is the risk of staying in your current position for another year, or two, or three?"

If they're honest, they begin to see that staying in the status quo also carries significant risk, and when this is realized, a potential jump doesn't seem as frightening.

The point is that for most physicians, being able to tolerate risk is not something that comes naturally.  We like systems.  We like order. We like knowing our next step and we like having safety nets.  We work in a culture that demands perfection each and every day and the idea of stepping out without a finalized gameplan is terrifying to most of us.  We're creatures of habit with a significant dose of OCD in us-- medical school selects for these traits-- but we have to realize that we'll never begin to grow past where we are if we don't begin stepping out.  The idea of growth without risk is ridiculous, and we need to recognize this fallacy and move beyond it.  Embracing calculated risk-taking isn't optional, it's mandatory for career modification, and the sooner we accept this the sooner we'll begin moving towards a more fulfilling career.  It's that simple.

So there you have it.  My three reasons why physicians have a difficult time with career modification.  

In future posts I'm going to explain more about what I mean by career modification and some unique perspectives on what is available to physicians in today's modern, fully-wired, world.

Until then, check out Ashley's posts here at Freelance MD or her website.  Her advice is excellent for those of you considering a career change, much better than the musings of physician blogger, and almost risk-free.



Leaving Your Clinical Position for the Corporate World...

So you've done it. You're leaving your clinical post to enter the corporate world.

You’ve gone through the career transition phases - from dreaming about the possibilities of a different work-life, to doing your research, networking, making plans, taking action, and finally landing the new job that you’ve been hoping and planning for. You’re thrilled (but nervous), your family is supportive, and your colleagues (the ones you care about) are happy for you and perhaps even a little jealous. Congratulations! It’s onward and upward from here.

Now that you’ve got your start-date nailed down and are taking whatever actions you need to do to wrap things up at your current position, you are ready to go, right? Ready to make that change happen and start your “new professional life”, with all of its opportunities and open doors…. Correct? I hope so!

But for many physicians who have made the move from the clinical into the corporate world, there is a learning curve that they are not expecting, one that can – if they are not quite prepared for it - side-swipe them when they least expect it.

This “learning curve” is a combination of new career orientation – things you would expect you need to know, such as:

  • How the industry and your specific company works
  • Expectations for your role
  • Specific training on methodologies, tools, processes

But it also includes more unspoken expectations, things which have tripped up many a physician who jump into a corporate role without fully understanding the critical success factors – and how they measure up to these - for anyone in the corporate world. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The fact that they, the physician, are now measured on – and only as successful as - how much value they bring to the organization on a daily basis – i.e., in things such as added revenue or decreased costs
  • That they will be expected to act in a team capacity and to demonstrate highly effective skills in leadership, accountability and communication
  • That they are well-skilled in building and maintaining interpersonal relationships with people at all levels of the organization, and have a highly honed level of professionalism
  • That they have the basic proficiencies expected within a corporate environment – including technical (e.g., MS Office – Word, PowerPoint, Excel, MS Project, Email, etc.), project / time management, effective presentations/speaking, people management / mentoring, teaming, etc.

Often it is these pieces of the puzzle which can “make or break” a physician’s venture into a new career path and the success of their new position. At minimum these unspoken expectations – and the physician's ability (or inability) to tackle them - can cause high levels of stress during the transition, and make the learning curve steeper and longer than it needs to be.  At worst it can derail an individual's ability to be successful and/or their longevity within the new organization.

Being prepared for this learning curve – both the new career orientation and unspoken expectations – is literally your first transition task. And it should happen long before you enter the door of your new company on day one. With any job or career change you want to hit the ground running, and set yourself up for success from the beginning

So how do you do that? What are the steps you can take to make sure that you have the most successful “First 100 Days” on your new job as possible?

Next time I'll bring you some tips and strategies for making this critical time a personal and professional success... stay tuned.


50% of Primary Care Physicians Would Leave Medicine if They Could

I am asked from time to time about my perception of the level of physician dissatisfaction with clinical medicine. How do I know that physicians are really dissatisfied with their careers?

I recently came across this article from CNN that adds some credence to my theory. The article was a report on a survey performed by the Physicians' Foundation and was published in November 2008. Of the 12,00 physician respondents, almost 50% said they would leave medicine in the next three years if they could find an alternative. Wow.

To me, the most interesting quote from the article was the following:

"Many said they are overwhelmed with their practices, not because they have too many patients, but because there's too much red tape generated from insurance companies and government agencies."

In my mind it's very simple: allow physicians to practice medicine and everyone is better. The problems occur when insurance companies and lawyers and bureaucrats are allowed to dictate to hospitals and physicians and patients. Clinics and hospitals become assembly lines to push "customers" through as quickly as possible. The number of patients seen per hour must go up because the reimbursement per patient has gone down so much that a system with any delay will not survive. Physicians cannot practice medicine and many patients—even ones with excellent insurance—do not feel they get good medical care from their physicians.  It's a mess.

My hope is that Freelance MD and the Medical Fusion Conference will be an avenue to revive many of these physicians who are desperately hanging on. By introducing these physicians to ways they can supplement their incomes and find a niche where they can use their careers in novel ways, I believe many of these people will be able to adjust their clinical responsibilities and be able to enjoy medicine once again.

Instead of waiting for some magic "fix" of the healthcare system to arrive, why not take steps to revive the workers in healthcare that we already have? How many of those physicians in the survey would continue practicing medicine if they could drop their clinical load by 30% and still have their current level of income? How many physicians nearing retirement would continue practicing if they could practice on their own terms? How many young physicians would not give up on their careers if they could figure out a way to better balance their personal lives with their clinical duties?

If society is saying our nation's physicians are a necessary and important resource, then how are we protecting and encouraging this resource?  

The ultimate goal of Freelance MD and the Medical Fusion Conference is to encourage and stimulate the physicians in this country. By giving clinicians hope and purpose and an extra measure of control over their lives, I believe we will help physicians practice medicine longer and with more satisfaction.


Is Medicine Destroying Our Young Physicians?

I came across a blog post not long ago that's a great read. The title of the blog is the Traveling Medicine Show and the specific post is entitled, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?Leaving Medicine the First Time.

This post is a very interesting and humorous story about how the author—a first-year Neurology resident at the time—decides to leave his residency on an impulse after a spontaneous marriage to his girlfriend.  The story is well-written and quite funny, and it's easy to identify with the author who is so frustrated with medicine but can't seem to quite find a life outside of medicine either.  Here's how it begins:

After the third month of my neurology residency in Chicago, I took a trip out to New Mexico and never came back.

No one leaves medicine. It’s just not done. Or rarely. There was the guy in my medical school who was so twisted, that even after repeated reprimands for being inappropriate with female patients and colleagues, he couldn’t get it together. Though not by choice, he left. Or the anesthesiology resident found dead of an overdose in his call room, a surreptitious IV catheter still taped to his ankle. He left. These were the role models.

I had fantasized about leaving medicine for years. By my second year of med school, I had the feeling that I had boarded the wrong train, but I kept on clunking down the wrong track, hoping things would improve as I passed into each new stage of training. Things would be better when I was in the clinical years. Clunk. Clunk. When I get to my internship. Clunk Clunk. I couldn’t find the strength to leave something that seemed so successful, even noble. Anyway, the ticket had been so exorbitant, and soon so many miles had flown by that getting off was simply not an option.

I won't ruin the story and tell you how it all ends, but suffice it to say that it is worth reading.  I know many physicians who have felt, and still feel, like this author but only discuss these feelings behind closed doors to their closest confidants, if at all.

What's particularly poignant about this post, however, are the comments at the end.  The post was written in 2007, but the comments have been building since then and emote a sense of desperation amongst the writers. "Glad to know I'm not the only one who feels this way," reads one comment.  "I wish I had never done [medical school]—just look what they make you give," reads another. 

The comments continue: "I just left residency after two years of medicine...," and "I'm in my first semester of med school and I hate it," and "I’m a family doc, have been practicing for eight years. Recently hit with two meritless, frivolous, ridiculous lawsuits… both still pending, one I’ve fought for two years now... I'm getting out."

There are more comments, but you get the point.

What most disturbs me about these comments is that they are all from individuals at the beginning of their careers in medicine. It's one thing to have a cohort of physicians towards the end of their careers, complaining about changes in medicine and longing for "the good old days." But these writers are all young, early in their careers—and desperate to get out.

Our colleague Dr. Ryan Flesher produced an entire documentary film on this subject entitled The Vanishing Oath.  Ryan's film sheds light on the problem of early burnout in young physicians, and after watching his film, it caused me to be seriously concerned whether there would be anyone left in medicine to care for my family and me when we're older.

When I read comments like the ones mentioned earlier, or see a film like The Vanishing Oath, or speak to colleagues who are overwhelmed by their careers and stressed to the hilt, it makes me even more committed to what we're doing here at Freelance MD.  

You see, I come from a family of medical people. Between the stories I've personally heard and the stories told to me by other family members, I have had a growing concern that the practice of medicine is becoming increasingly toxic to those who practice it. Medicine is devouring its young.

This unfortunate truth is why Freelance MD and the Medical Fusion Conference were developed—to help physicians navigate the now treacherous waters of modern medicine.  

We'll be discussing physician burnout and other indicators of the problems in medicine in more depth, but our hope is that the discussion won't simply digress into a complaint session. We've created this site as a place not to simply document the obvious problems in medicine, but to offer direction for those who are struggling and connect them to leaders who can help them progress into a career that is fulfilling.

So take advantage of the resources here at Freelance MD and begin building towards a better career.  

We need you in medicine.


Leaving Your (Professional) Comfort Zone

While many more physicians these days (certainly the ones I talk to) are more open with the idea of expanding their career outside of the clinical medicine they've been trained for, there are others that are still very deep "in the closet" with their desires for change.

I've wondered what makes physicians such a different breed of professional, when mid-career people in different industries or professions see career jumps and side-steps as an expected and required part of their career progression. In the corporate world you are looked at funny (i.e., as lacking skills or ambition) if you're not considering a move to a different company or role within 3-5 years of being in one place.

So what makes doctors so different? Why is it so difficult for you all to leave your comfort zone and move to something new? What are the unique barriers and drivers for professional change that you experience?

Well, true that the years of training inhibit changing careers, the time and effort, and certainly the investment you've placed on becoming a successful physician. 

But there are other factors too.  Expectations of yourself.  Expectations from others. 

While many times the desire for a career change is something that has developed over many years, even starting as far back as med school, it is inhibited by the very real expectations of those around.  One doc I worked with described it as a "train he couldn't get off "... once the expectations from his very traditional family (with a long lineage of physicians - his father, grandfather) placed him there, he buckled down and did his best, all the while ignoring the nagging voice inside of him that said "this isn't a good fit for you". 15 years later he is deciding to do what he needs to to be happy and professionally fulfilled ... and with the support of his wife, he is looking outside of medicine for the first time.  What a relief for him, and how exciting the possibilities.

And of course there is what I simply hear over and over again - that one of the main drivers to leave clinical practice comes from the increasing level of disappointment with what being a physician means today... dealing with being "squeezed" by the changes in healthcare, being told how to practice, feeling undervalued, feeling out of control when it comes to your professional life and how it impacts your personal one. 

Notice that none of the people I've talked to say that they "hate medicine" or don't like taking care of their patients - on the contrary, most physicians I speak with consider that the most rewarding part of their work.  It's just everything else that gets in the way.

Luckily there are some very positive reasons I hear physicians wanting to expand outside of purely clinical work. Another client of mine encompassed it as "wanting to do something bigger". As an anesthesiologist he felt that he had hit the growth ceiling when it came to his specialty, and felt that instead of simply doing the same thing day in and day out, he wanted to leverage his skills/experience in a larger platform. Figuring out what that platform would be and how he uniquely brought value to that industry / role was his next challenge, and he brought passion to figuring that out. 

Physicians as a whole are some of the most entrepreneurial types I've ever encountered. Smart, organized, linear thinkers - put them in line with a strategy, and they just go. If anyone can build something to make change happen, it is a determined doctor.

The outgrowth of communities like Freelance MD, and conferences like Medical Fusion (which I highly recommend) show that the desire and the drive to explore and expand outside of your professional box is not yours alone. There are many other like-minded professionals who are out there, interested in the same thing. I hope you use venues like this to connect and compare notes. Getting out of your comfort zone is easier with inspiration and encouragement from those who are doing it too. Good luck!

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