Dr. Meenakshi (BDS, GMHE) is a Dentist by profession. She also pursued her management certificate program from IIM Bangalore. After sometime, she shifted her career path and took up writing. Today, she is a content writer and marketer for multiple start-ups.
Many people join medicine but in a few years, feel that they wish to pursue something else. Dr Meenakshi tells us about the plethora of alternate career options if you don’t wish to take up medical practice or want to switch your career mid-practice like she did.
What made you choose an alternate career option after becoming a doctor? When did you decide to take this step?
I decided to take this step 3 years after my practice. I realised that to run a clinic, you need a lot more than just medical skills. There are non-clinical aspects such as management, finance, supply chain, ways to maintain inventory in your clinic and marketing. I found my interest in these aspects and realised that there is more to medicine and dental practice than just treating patients. Hence, I decided to pursue a different field and became a writer and solopreneur. Secondly, to make a mark, you have to take an untrodden path!
So, what are the various alternate career options after getting your medical degree?
There are various non-clinical alternate careers for healthcare professionals who do not wish to continue their medical practice.
- Pharma industry
- Health communication and journalism: medical writing, research, fellowships
- Hospital or healthcare administration and management
- Public health
- Corporate medicine jobs: pharma or health insurance companies
- Finance jobs
- Healthcare NGOs
- Government medical jobs
- Medical start-up entrepreneur
- Inventor/ Innovator: to create effective devices that are customised to the Indian population to reduce the cost of primary health care.
What is your advice for medical students or doctors who do not wish to do medical practice and explore something else?
The world is your oyster. If you are not too keen on practice, there are too many options today. I was always a good writer but never got the time to pursue it. But, since the beginning, I was passionate about education, health and the importance of making people aware about healthcare. If people are not aware of the risks, they will not take care of themselves. So, health literacy amongst people is the basic requirement of any country. And with digitization, this has definitely become possible! So, I am bridging the gap between doctors and patients by making health information easily available using my writing skills.
Hence, my advice to all those who want to leave practice and venture into something else, take the leap! There is a vast scope today even in the healthcare industry and it will continue to grow. It is not restricted to just treating patients anymore.
Did you ever feel guilty for leaving your medical practice? And do you ever feel like restarting it?
Initially, I did feel guilty as I had worked so hard to achieve my goals. The whole purpose of becoming a doctor was to help people. But when I started my second career and worked with many clients, I realised the ways of contribution or the size of your contribution towards healthcare does not matter. In the end, all that matters is that you are able to help people. So whether it is relieving a patient’s pain by doing a root canal or creating a comprehensive brochure for people that simplifies the risk of cardiac diseases – in both ways, I am helping people. In fact, initially, I was only able to help a certain number of people in my clinic. But today, through my writing, I can reach out to people across the world. My reach is larger and it gives me immense satisfaction.
Although, sometimes I do miss my medical practice and wish to go start it again sometime as working with patients was also highly satisfying. However, in my current career, I do not have any spare time.