Working with doctors every day as a specialist medical career coach is a real privilege. Doctors’ careers are so different from most people’s everyday experiences let alone most professionals’ working lives. Being able to take responsibility in a crisis is very fulfilling for many people, and being a trusted professional when someone is ill and vulnerable is a rare gift in life. A medical career is richly rewarding, intellectually stimulating, and has multiple different options and career paths, and ever-increasing opportunities to change direction. It also requires substantial discipline, sacrifice, dedication and focus from a young age.
Where to start with doctors’ careers advice
Coaching and mentoring for doctors is the most effective one to one intervention to help doctors in their careers. Most doctors in the UK are currently employed within the National Health Service which is a state-run institution with a significant political dimension and politician involvement which has its own benefits and challenges. Medical careers can also be gruelling and inflexible at times, and many doctors feel uncertain about whether they have made the right choices both within medicine and from other career choices. Being unsure of your career choice can be a lonely, frightening and very anxiety provoking position to be in, hence the need to work with a trusted professional who can help you to understand yourself and your career options.
Medical Careers Counselling
Doctors’ career counselling is an ideal way to help you to identify your needs in your working life and to steadily work towards making changes to bring you closer to the career you want. For some, this means searching for alternative medical careers, such as a change in speciality, or for some it can mean alternative careers for doctors such as either a portfolio career with a little medicine, or leaving medicine altogether. That is a huge decision for most doctors to make and one to not take lightly, hence the need for a medical career counsellor or medical career mentor who is fully qualified and experienced to support you through this process.
GP Career Counselling and Coaching for GPs
Many General Practitioners are struggling in their careers and working lives at the moment. I offer GP Career mentoring and GP career coaching for full or part time General Practitioners to help them to cope in their challenging work environment, and to help them to change career direction within or outside of medicine. I also offer leadership coaching and leadership development for GPs who are partners or who are leading in primary care environments. Coaching and mentoring for GPs in their careers can make the difference between a GP suffering from burnout and being able to sustain their career.
Career Change for Doctors
I offer a structured, evidence based, coaching programme for doctors who are considering an alternative career. This is ideal for those who want to leave medicine or who are considering leaving their medical career. Doctors in this situation usually need a lot of support from an expert medical careers coach.
Doctors in Difficulty
I am interested in working with doctors in difficulty in their careers with health issues, such as mental health, disabilities, and neurodevelopmental conditions such as doctors with Asperger’s Syndrome. I have considerable experience in helping doctors return to work, stay at work, and prevent burnout and other work related health conditions.
What to look for in a Medical Career Advisor
As a minimum, anyone looking for a medical careers coach or a medical careers mentor should check the following:
- fully qualified to work with people at your own professional level (such as ‘ILM7 Executive Coaching’)
- member of a professional coaching body such as the European Mentoring and Coaching Council
- evidence base to their practice
- registered as a Data Controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office and that they have a privacy and confidentiality statement
- Up to date Disclosure and Barring Certificate, and that they are insured for personal and professional liability.
- In regular supervision with a qualified supervisor and attend regular professional development to develop their own skills as a coach.
Medical careers advice is needed now more than ever
Looking back at my own career, over 20 years since graduation, I realise how little I knew about career options at that time, nor how the world of work would change during the course of my working life. How will technology shape the future of medical practice? Will specialist surgeons operate through robots from the comfort of their home offices, supporting on-the-ground generalist teams around the world? Will having someone to hold your hand and look you in the eye when delivering bad news ever be replaceable by a robot? I don’t know, but I do know that the traditional medical career of education, employment and retirement is rapidly changing. Medical careers mentoring and coaching for doctors is needed now more than ever. Like all contemporary career paths, even the medical career is becoming like crazy paving – and if you don’t lay it yourself, it will be laid down for you.
Dr Fiona Day began her career as a doctor in 1996. For the next 20 years she worked in system leadership roles including Board level as a Public Health Medical Consultant and Associate Medical Director, improving the health of whole populations, managing large teams through change, coaching, mentoring and developing people, and innovating and improving a wide range of public services.
She became increasingly interested in helping people to reach their potential, transforming their careers, and improving health at work, and changed direction in 2016 to focus primarily on coaching mid-career and senior Doctors to flourish in their working lives. To find out more about her medical careers coaching programme, please visit https://www.fionadayconsulting.co.uk/services/medical-career-coaching/