We know the culture of medicine has led to a lot of career dissatisfaction among doctors, but physicians don’t live for medicine alone – they have interests, hobbies, and talents beyond the realm of medicine that are engaging and satisfying. And top-level candidates aren’t just looking for a job; they want a fulfilling career that aligns with their professional and personal goals. Doctors see what they do professionally as an extension of their own values, so finding a recruiter who understands that can decrease the chances of a mis-hire – and increase the possibility of hiring a physician who stays.
We all like the idea of having a little extra income or of having a solid work/life balance. Physicians may be interested in time for a hobby, a consulting gig, or more money. A lot of physicians today want to parlay their medical expertise into advancing healthcare technologies or enhancing the patient experience within their specialty.
This explains why we’re seeing an emergence of healthcare entrepreneurs – or “doctorpreneurs” – who are leveraging skills outside of their typical day-to-day. Doctorpreneurs want to break free from the confinement of their current workload and discover other sources of satisfaction (and income) outside of their typical clinical practice. There’s even a non-profit organization called Doctorpreneurs for doctors and medical students who are interested in healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship.
Harvard Business Review says,“It’s doctorpreneurs like that we need to help usher in a new era in U.S. health care. These doctors are not just medical experts; they also have other qualities that make them very effective leaders, and we believe they are key to fixing the problems of the healthcare industry.”
Joshua D. Mali, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist and award-winning vitreoretinal surgeon wrote a recent Doximity Op-Med article, The Steps I Took to Become a Physician Entrepreneur. In the article, he says he became a doctorpreneur because he realized he could use his scientific ingenuity to solve more problems than just eye conditions. His advice for other entrepreneurs? “If you have a product idea, no matter how simple or elaborate, just go for it. You never know where it will lead you. Make sure to keep a laser-like focus and stay true to your values, thus allowing you to achieve your goals and be a successful physician entrepreneur.”
Another doctorpreneur, Jenny Liu, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist who felt the entrepreneurial spirit and joined the founding team of a revolutionary new healthcare startup called Forward. She writes about her experience in Doctorpreneur: When Physicians Become Entrepreneurs: “For the first time, I was the owner of my dream and I had the power to create something from nothing—I brought that dream to reality and that’s an amazing feeling.”
Here’s her advice for doctors who want to be entrepreneurs:
- Be curious and have an open mind. Know that there is an entire world out there focused on healthcare innovation—please explore it. It would be sad to miss out on contributing your passion to that if it’s interesting to you.
- You can carve out the career that fulfills you without settling. You can still practice medicine and work with startups as an advisor or consultant on the side.
Physicians are multi-talented, so why not help your candidates channel their contributions? It might be an outlet for their hobbies and passions may provide a bit more security in an uncertain healthcare world. It may be a way to make a bit more money, or it may simply add some spice to enhance their career satisfaction. To help physicians speed up the doctorpreneurial process, you might suggest they find a healthcare entrepreneur to mimic. There are a lot of conferences, lectures, events, and meetups out there, too. This website even has a list of physician side hustles that might inspire them. Matter is also mobilizing a community of healthcare innovators who aspire to heroic change. Dr. Lieu recommends looking at a startup accelerator like Startx, too.
There’s a war for talent and physician recruiters have to prepare upfront for the battle. Guiding your candidates to greater career satisfaction can have a long-term effect on their lives – and your recruiting.