Philippa Keneally MD, MPH was recently interviewed about the opportunities and challenges facing physicians considering a non-clinical career. Dr. Keneally will be speaking at the SEAK National Non Clinical Careers Conference to be held on October 25-26, 2014 in Chicago, IL.

Q. Dr. Kennealy, How important is it for physicians searching for a career change to follow their passion?

First of all, it’s important for physicians contemplating career change to have a strong sense of why they want change. Is it that they hate what they are doing and are looking to get out? Is it that they feel that they have completed this part of their career, and the looking for something different or more interesting? To some extent, it matters what their motivation is. I’m leery about advocating for following one’s passion. However, it is important that the future occupation appear attractive and exciting enough to engage the physician’s effort. Finding the right “next career” takes dedication, deep self-reflection and often diligent work, and there are setbacks. If you lack enthusiasm for where you’re heading, you’re more likely to lapse into staying put, overwhelmed and dissatisfied.

Q. What holds most physicians back from moving forward with their career transition?

Fear. Fear of change, fear of loss of identity or status, fear of loss of income, fear of having to make difficult decisions with uncertain outcomes.

Q. How important is family support for a physician’s career transition?

It is difficult to make a significant career change, and consequent lifestyle change, without the support of one’s spouse. However, I think it is less important to be deeply concerned about the opinions of one’s parents or siblings, unless they have a significant vested financial interest in the physician’s career, which could be problematic in and of itself and would make me leery of wanting to get involved in coaching a physician under such circumstances.

 Q. Can physician’s leaving clinical practice achieve happiness in a non-clinical setting?

Absolutely. I’m a living example of this myself, and have worked with many physicians who have achieved not only happiness, but greater fulfillment. As part of my coaching, I work with my clients to establish professional and personal fulfillment as the goal rather than happiness, as the latter can depend on the time of day!

Craft Your Ideal Non-Clinical Future: Achieving the Results You Are Seeking

Philippa Kennealy, MD MPH CPCC PCC  

Dr. Kennealy will help physicians identify their motivation and rationale for change and assist with developing a plan to achieve their goals. She will explain how to: clarify what you value most, uncover your passions and interests, evaluate your talents, skills and abilities, determine your potential “sweet spot”, and develop and implement the plan that will enable you to transition to your future non-clinical career.

Philippa Kennealy, MD MPH CPCC PCC is President and founder of The Entrepreneurial MD. She is an ICF-certified business coach for physicians grappling with the challenges of changing careers, growing leadership skills or launching, building and growing their own successful practices or businesses. She is a family physician who left her own private practice in 1996 to embark initially on an administrative career as first Medical Director and then CEO of UCLA-Santa Monica Medical Center. Subsequently, she served as Executive VP in two internet start-up companies, before launching her own business in 2002 as a coach and speaker.