Physicians Who Have Side-Gigs Are Happier and More Likely to Stay in Clinical Practice – Here's Why

5 months ago   •   2 min read

By Ernesto Gutierrez, MD
Photo by Zach Vessels / Unsplash
Table of contents

The great resignation is hitting medicine harder than any other industry.

It is no secret doctors put up with all sorts of abuse –personal and professional– from the moment we are accepted into medical school until the day we retire. But the last two years have shown us, without a shadow of a doubt, just how expendable physicians are to the system. And with so many doctors quitting, I fear for the kind of healthcare my children will receive in just a couple of years.

So the question is, how can we help physicians remain in practice, making the money they deserve and without sacrificing their sanity and self-respect?

We inspire them to start a side-gig.

Seriously.

I believe having a side-gig is a great way to keep doctors in clinical practice for longer. And no, I don't have any randomized, double-blinded, long-term studies to prove this. I only have my own experience and that of a little over 100 physicians I've helped do so to this date.

And here are the main 3 reasons why I believe this:

1. A side-gig gives you a creative outlet.

Doctors train and specialize for many years.

Which is great for patients who need an expert in whatever ails them at that moment. But for the doctor who has to see the exact same half a dozen diagnoses for her entire career? Not so great.

So it’s critical to have a creative outlet.

A side-gig can fill your creative tank allowing you to be fully present in the repetitiveness of your clinical practice.

2. You learn new skills

The difference between a hobby and a side-gig is the latter pays for itself.

Ask any artist and you’ll learn that it’s not the same to create art as to live off that art. Living off their art forces them to develop skills that seemingly have nothing to do with their craft. Skills like understanding their audience, engaging with them, negotiating partnerships, setting up an online store, shipping and logistics, sales, etc…

Learning new skills will keep your brain sharp and hungry to learn regardless of whether you can apply these skills to your clinical career or not.

3. You will always have options

When you have a side-gig that regularly brings in money, you have options.

The reality is most doctors have huge amounts of student loan debt, mortgages, car payments, etc. Physician employers and insurance companies know this and use it to "force" doctors into accepting terrible reimbursements and one-sided contracts.

But what happens when you don't have to take that job?

You no longer need to accept the first offer that you’re presented with. You can even contemplate going solo without fear for your financial future. A side-gig puts you back in control of your career.

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In summary:
A side-gig helps you grow personally, professionally, and financially. You can start one right now.
And the best part? It has zero downsides.

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