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Physician NonClinical Careers with John Jurica

Sep 14, 2021

What can you expect, and how should you prepare, when leaving your current position? 

Most of you will be in the following situation:

  • Working for a medical group or healthcare system. 
  • You find clinical medicine to be frustrating and unrewarding for a variety of reasons, including:
    • lack of respect,
    • understaffing,
    • poorly designed or slow EMRs,
    • long hours,
    • churning of patients to maintain worked RVUs,
    • entitled, angry patients,
    • endless paperwork,
    • lack of control over your hours, staffing, vacations, etc.
  • You’ve checked out emotionally and you realize that something must change.

You may envision the following scenario:

  1. You're going to find something else to do, either clinical or nonclinical, or both,
  2. Once that’s locked in, or you have a really good plan, you will give your separation notice to your employer,
  3. You will leave in a few weeks to a few months from now, and that will be that! Problem solved.

Unfortunately, that is not how it usually goes. If not fully prepared, what follows are a series of unexpected financial, legal, and/or psychosocial consequences that can slow or complicate your departure. 

Financial Issues

Any pivot will have financial consequences. If there is a gap between jobs, you’ll need a nest egg to get you through the time when income temporarily stops. This is ameliorated if you have passive income from other sources or a spouse’s income can cover expenses while you’re in the process of transitioning.

Legal Issues

This leads us right into the legal ramifications. An employment contract is typically a long and complicated document, with many provisions that are forgotten until separation is imminent. And some of them will prevent, postpone or complicate your departure.

Psychosocial Issues

You may observe a common behavioral pattern in colleagues and employers when leaving.

That pattern is Kubler-Ross’s 5 Stages of Death and Dying. You may go through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance once you come to the realization that you can no longer tolerate working in the current healthcare environment. But you may not be prepared for those very same steps occurring in your colleagues and employer. The denial and anger of those around you can be particularly disconcerting.

You may intend to be completely professional and deliberate as you wrap things up. But prepare yourself for others to be oppositional, upset, angry, or in denial. This may manifest as passive-aggressive or overtly hostile behavior.

Your managers may avoid you, even though there are issues to take care of. They may try to involve you in matters that are no longer of your concern. And they may attempt to burden you with more than your share of on-call duties.

Oftentimes, you’re leaving an employer because it is dysfunctional. It may not be run like a business: no regular meetings, problems are ignored, strategic planning is nonexistent. It is naïve to think that a business that is dysfunctional is going to respond to your departure in a functional way.

Listen to the complete episode to learn how to prepare for these challenges. Remain calm, deal with the chaos logically, follow the advice of your accountant and attorney, and move on.

To access the show notes and the links for this episode, go to

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