How Mid-Career and Semi-Retired Physicians Can Transition into Work They Love

Are you a healthcare provider who is tired of the daily grind? On the verge of burnout? Ready to experience a new environment? Want more time to focus on family? You’re not alone. In a recent national survey, nearly 50% of physicians said they plan to make one or more changes to the way they practice medicine. Some are semi-retired physicians, and some intend to retire fully.

Nearly 50% of physicians plan to change the way they practice medicine.

In today’s healthcare environment, there are many reasons physicians may find themselves dissatisfied or unfulfilled in their work. Numerous studies and surveys have sought to understand these drivers. Perhaps you can relate to a few of these sentiments:

  • Practicing medicine is not what it used to be.
  • You’ve lost all semblance of work-life balance.
  • You’re inundated with regulatory requirements and paperwork.
  • You no longer have a say in how you provide patient care.
  • You don’t have enough time to provide the highest standard of care.
  • Changes in healthcare have made it impossible to stay in private practice.
  • You don’t feel valued and valuable.
  • You’ve lost sight of your calling – of why you chose a career in medicine in the first place.

Increasingly, physicians are exiting the profession for these reasons, leaving a gaping hole in the national healthcare system. Some, however, are discovering ways to channel their medical expertise into new and more fulfilling roles. Here, we offer five ways physicians can redirect their energy and skills into full-time or part-time positions they love.

Hire physician extenders

If you find joy in treating patients in a clinical setting but simply feel overworked, then consider how a physician assistant or nurse practitioner could ease your day-to-day workload. These mid-level providers are a fast-growing segment of the healthcare community for a reason. Able to diagnose and treat patients directly for many conditions, a PA or NP can free up your schedule to focus on the aspects of practicing medicine you enjoy most – whether that’s handling more complex cases or spending quality time with each patient. If you want to learn more about recruiting physician extenders, TinkBird can help.

Start a concierge medicine practice

Concierge or boutique medicine can be a good fit for physicians who desire to treat patients but want to avoid the complexities of handling medical insurance and reimbursements. Also known as “retainer physicians,” these providers operate like old-fashioned family doctors – they see fewer patients, spend quality time with patients, and develop long-term patient care relationships.

Instead of insurance reimbursements, concierge doctors are compensated with cash payments directly from their patients, usually in the form of an annual or monthly retainer. The patient receives more personalized attention with 24/7 access to their doctor and full coordination of their healthcare needs.

Become locum tenens as a semi-retired physician

Part-time or locum tenens work is an excellent choice for physicians who want to practice medicine but place a high value on a healthy work-life balance. This approach allows providers to be more selective about the number of hours they work, choose the types of settings in which they work, and even enjoy travel to new cities and states to fill temporary positions.

Locum tenens work is a perfect fit for doctors who want a phased transition into retirement. In fact, according to a recent study, 75% of locum tenens physicians are 51 or older. But temporary medical jobs aren’t just for physicians in the latter stages of their career. Younger doctors are working locum tenens jobs to give them greater flexibility and time with family, as well as to avoid burnout that can come with doing the same job day after day.

Practice urgent care

Walk-in clinics have open appointments, convenient hours, and understand the needs of busy people who are looking for basic medical care. For physicians, that can be a desirable setting and a new way of practicing medicine.

While urgent care facilities may require extended shifts, they typically offer more flexible hours and interfere less with the doctors’ personal time. Patients go to walk-in clinics for acute care needs, rather than complex medical conditions. Therefore, physicians don’t have the follow-up responsibilities that come with being a long-term primary care provider.

View TinkBird’s current urgent care openings.

Apply your skills in a non-clinical setting

Some physicians are just plain tired of practicing clinical medicine and want a career change. Your medical degree and practical experience can come in handy in a wide variety of non-clinical jobs in related fields. For example, if you ran a successful medical practice, you could become a practice consultant or take a position in hospital administration. Or, put your medical expertise to use in an advisory role for a medical device company, health insurance company or pharmaceutical corporation.

And how about teaching? A physician compensation study published by Medscape reported that physicians who wanted to drop clinical medicine chose teaching as one of their top three alternatives. Consider a teaching position at a local college or university, or take your skills on the road as a CME instructor.

Follow your passion to the career you deserve

You spent years of your life and considerable money to become a medical doctor, so contemplating a career change can be a scary proposition. However, above all, you should follow your passion. There are many jobs in the healthcare industry and beyond that can inspire and fulfill you.

If you’re a licensed physician ready for a mid-career or late-career transition, contact our physician staffing agency. We can help you evaluate options and choose a path that’s right for you.

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