Burning (out) for a new career?

5 minute read

There are options outside full-time general practice: take a look around.

There are alternatives to being a full-time GP that can offer deep reward and prevent compassion burnout, but most doctors only see the traditional career path,

General practice is one of the most adaptable specialisations, says Dr Amandeep Hansra, GP and founder of Creative Careers In Medicine. But some doctors can feel limited by the traditional path of full-time general practice that “sometimes has to churn people through to survive”.

“There are so many other career opportunities that don’t get presented to us when we’re going through medical school,” she says. “Those opportunities are growing because, partly due to covid, a lot of industries now recognise that having health expertise and access to health care is really important.”

Dr Hansra created the Creative Careers In Medicine Facebook group a few years ago, aiming to provide inspiration and support to doctors who aspire to work beyond the walls of a consulting room. More than 22,000 doctors are now members and there are new requests to join every day. 

Dr Hansra lists a broad range of industries some CCIM member are now working in: aviation medicine, digital health and medtech, health services for cruise ships, film production companies and aerospace, and consulting for global firms.

“A lot of these management consulting firms actually require clinicians to provide health industry knowledge. The doctors come in and say, ‘Look, that solution that you’re proposing for that client is not going to work because of how the health system works’,” she says.

Some doctors take the “creative” aspect of Creative Careers in Medicine quite literally.

“We’ve got GPs that are also part-time photographers. Sometimes it’s medical photography, sometimes it’s not. Many of our GPs write fiction or nonfiction.”

Dr Hansra initially started CCIM to attract doctors who were interested in exploring different types of careers aligned with an outside passion. In recent years she’s seen a change.

“Now we feel like there’s a lot of people being pushed out of the traditional roles because of burnout and just not wanting to be part of that. The (GP) world at the moment has been really high pressure,” she said.

Dr Hansra will be speaking about alternatives to the burnout crisis at Burning GP Summit in June.

“We don’t have a silver bullet to solve it … but I’m definitely solution-oriented,” she says. “We can actually create a sustainable workforce [of doctors] who are not burnt out, doctors who are excited to be doing what they’re doing, which naturally is going to improve patient outcomes.

“My aim at Burning GP is for doctors to walk away with an open-mindedness about what a career in medicine could look like.”

At Burning GP summit Dr Hansra will draw from CCIM resources and share stories about doctors who have moved into new industries full-time, as well as those with a portfolio career like hers.

Dr Hansra works as a GP part-time and runs CCIM, which has an upcoming conference – Mediverse on 9-10 March in Sydney.

“We’re really taking people on a journey of what the future might look like for them,” she says. “So, it’s great for people starting out in their career, but also great for people midcareer thinking ‘What’s my next move?’

“We’re going to be talking about the issues that are coming up for us and we’ve got great breakout sessions on everything from lifestyle medicine to entrepreneurship. There’s a lot of emphasis on coaching and we will have actual career coaching sessions people can jump into during the event.”

Other feathers in Dr Hansra’s medical career cap include sitting on the board for Health Direct and MoleMap medtech company and research at the University of Sydney. She says it’s a much easier world to navigate than a full-time clinical role.

“I find that I’m refreshed when I go back to see my patients because I haven’t just been seeing patient after patient, day in day out, week after week. I actually feel really excited.

“Previously, I was worrying and caring so much about my patients every day that I’d go home I and not have a great night’s sleep. Whereas now, on my non-clinical days I get to think about some of the tough problems facing healthcare. I get to work on projects that are system-level, but I don’t get that same compassion fatigue.”

Dr Hansra emphasises, however, that everyone has their own equation for what works and doesn’t work in a medical career. CCIM is a network where people can see other people in different roles and discuss what they’re like.

“We shouldn’t be forcing our expectations of how an individual should practise, or what jobs they should do or how they should structure their weeks,” Dr Hansra says. “That is a very individual, personal thing, and people need to do whatever works for them.”

Curious about what might work for you? Hear Dr Hansra speak at Burning GP on June 14 at the Mantra on Salt Beach at Kingscliff, Northern NSW. Find the program and tickets here – grab your early bird tickets now to take advantage of the lower price.

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