Exploring what drives clinicians to consider divergent careers in medicine
Healthcare in Australia and globally is ever-evolving. Nowadays, clinical professionals are not only expected to be experts in their field but also to diversify and demonstrate skills in digital health, leadership, education and coaching, and other areas. Existing studies have explored the factors contributing to doctors leaving the healthcare sector, however, what is missing from the current narrative is an understanding of the views and interests of individuals working within the healthcare sector.
To delve deeper into what drives clinical professionals to explore divergent careers in medicine and provide a glimpse into what future healthcare careers may look like, we have partnered with Ccentric and Creative Careers in Medicine to research the views of a cross-section of the Australian medical and healthcare workforce. This first of its kind research also provides invaluable information as to how the healthcare sector can support its workforce to develop complementary skills outside of traditional roles.
Understanding what factors lead healthcare professionals to seek divergent careers in medicine
Earlier this year and before the COVID-19 pandemic, we surveyed 857 healthcare professionals across all seniorities and medical specialties about areas of interest and expertise outside of traditional clinical work.
According to the research, 72% of clinicians are considering divergent career opportunities and 60% report having qualifications or experience outside of traditional medicine.
Interestingly, we found that these areas of interest do not necessarily align with current areas of self-identified expertise which highlights the need for a stronger focus in supporting skills development through medical education, professional development and career coaching.
This was particularly the case for Digital Health* where our research revealed a sizeable gap between the level of interest (42%) and the self-identified expertise (15%), even among the more junior staff. An indication that curricula have not yet evolved to incorporate developments in Digital Health and health technology.
“The large gap between digital health interest and expertise is not surprising… the healthcare sector has not been properly resourced for building capability in digital health, despite health becoming increasingly digital… it is essential to integrate digital health content in the curriculum and not treat digital health expertise as an optional extra. The results of this survey show there is a demand from medical students for this knowledge and I firmly believe that universities who successfully integrate digital health into their curriculum will have a considerable competitive advantage.” Adds Dr. Louise Schaper, CEO, Australasian Institute of Digital Health.
It is worth noting that the survey was undertaken before the global COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has, by necessity, accelerated the uptake and implementation of a range of digital health innovations across the entire industry, resulting in a rapid increase in telehealth services and other technology. However, according to Dr. Amandeep Hansra, GP and Founder of Creative Careers in Medicine, “we don’t know how we actually bring technology into the healthcare sector in a way that is affordable, efficient and that doesn’t negatively disrupt workflows.”
Other popular areas of interest included medical education and coaching (33%), health management and administration (31%), health policy and governance (28%) and public health (26%).
How can we develop and support the healthcare workforce of the future?
According to our research, the main drivers and inspirations behind health professionals’ interests to pursue divergent careers include the need for variety and diversity, an appetite for more flexibility and a desire to make a greater difference. By understanding the diverse interests and drivers of health professionals, healthcare organisations can actively support them in exploring and pursuing their areas of interest.
Healthcare organisations and employers also have a significant opportunity to review the roles and professional development opportunities for health professionals to ensure that the healthcare system is equipped and staffed to respond to the changing landscape of healthcare in the future.
Download your FREE copy of the whitepaper now for more fascinating insights and to take a glimpse into what future healthcare careers may look like.
Download our first of its kind research whitepaper which explores the views of a cross-section of the Australian medical and healthcare workforce about areas of interest and expertise beyond traditional clinical roles.