Non-Clinical Career Choices for Doctors by Dr. Amber Tahir Siddiqui
1. M. Phil leading to PhD in Basic Sciences: Highly underrated, I personally think M. Phil can be a brilliant career choice. You can start right after house job (no other pmdc requirement) as a Lecturer in a medical college (there’s one in every other street of Karachi). Pick a basic sciences subject of your choice. A secure job as a Lecturer and you can continue your M. Phil alongside, as you gain experience with passing years, there’s promotion to Senior Lecturer, Associate/Assistant Professor and then Professor according to the pmdc criteria. M. Phil will then lead to PhD. A lifelong career in teaching needs to be glamorized once again. Currently, many medical institutes are preferring young teachers to abridge the generation gap between teachers and students and to encourage young doctors to pursue teaching as a career. Along with medical colleges, there are jobs of individual M. Phil / PhD in other universities including University of Karachi (physiology, biochemistry, microbiology).
2. Masters in Health Professional Education: Discussing it here as it connects with #1. MHPE is a flourishing degree, but it cannot be your primary degree after MBBS. When you have decided to pursue a medical teaching career, you can go for MHPE as an additional degree. This degree is also handy for those who plan to complete their residencies and then work as consultants in teaching hospitals, since they are then associated with medical teaching in clinical subjects (medicine, surgery, OBGYN, etc.)
3. Other teaching careers: Other teaching careers (requiring no degree other than MBBS) include high school level teaching (they are pretty well-paying and less-hectic jobs imo), online medical teaching (bhot acha business hai boss), medical undergraduate level tuition.
4. Other Masters Options: Masters in Psychology, Masters in Special Education. There are various research based masters programs in various subjects (neurology, psychiatry, cardiology, etc. in various parts of the world)
5. Public Health: Public health is very diverse. It can be numbers and data based office jobs, laboratory or field research, policy formation, jobs dealing directly with people to help improve their health, addressing health problems of communities as a whole. Most of these jobs are field based, some are institution/office based. The basic degree needed is Masters in Public Health. There are really good MPH programs in Karachi (APPNA, DUHS, SZABIST, AKUH). Almost all countries offer MPH. Just don’t go for an online MPH.
Where will MPH take you?
a. Government agencies, such as UNO, UNESCO, FDA etc. (I’m not sure if we have parallel organizations in Pakistan, but most have their local centers)
b. Health department (provincial and federal)
c. Nonprofit organizations (major ones include Red Cross, there are many local and international NGOs too.)
d. Health care organizations, including hospital systems and long-term care facilities
e. Private sector companies, including health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies.
f. Colleges and universities, including schools of public health or medicine as teachers as discussed in #1.
6. Masters in Business Administration: Many healthcare related MBA programs are being offered. Some key ones are:
a. Pharmaceutical Management – Very valuable. It can open options for pharmaceutical marketing as well as medical departments (you can complement it with an MPH). Common courses include risk management, sales and marketing, business strategy formulation, etc.
b. Health Services Management – it will lead to options in managerial or planning positions in health authorities, hospitals, primary and community care, aged care services, NGOs. There are four majors (that I know of) offered in this Masters – Planning, clinical leadership, project management, health research.
c. Hospital Management – Masters in Hospital management will lead to administrative positions in secondary / tertiary care hospitals (this is already covered in MPH)
d. Human Resource Management – Again for HR and administrative positions in hospitals (again covered in MPH)
What are the corporate sector jobs for doctors?
1. Pharmaceutical companies
2. Insurance companies
3. Pharmaceutical call centers
4. Large businesses that provide in house doctor facility to their employees (although many prefer a practicing doctor)
5. Industries located at high risk and far-fetched areas that need a doctor in field
Collateral options for practicing doctors/residents:
Diploma in aviation medicine, MPH, MPHE, Masters/Diploma in Clinical Research Associate (not offered in Karachi)
How to create a career in medical research?
For undergrad level – Get a grip on basics of medical research
For those who want a grip on research to complement with their clinical practice – basic undergrad knowledge and online research methodology courses are enough. The rest, we learn as we practice.
For those who want a pure research career:
a. Clinical Research Associate Masters/Diploma
b. Masters in Biostatistics
c. Masters in Epidemiology and Biostatistics (offered by AKUH, excellent course)
d. Go for a research based Masters in the specialty of your choice
Clinical pathology vs Histopathology:
A histopathologist is the one sitting in a lab and observing and maintaining reports on biopsy samples (CPSP approved institutions offer this program).
A clinical pathologist, on the other hand, deals with the above stuff plus pathological aspects of hematology and oncology. Clinical pathologists have practicing licenses and conduct OPDs. Dip/MCPS/FCPS is offered in clinical pathology at various institutes. It’s a very flourishing field, must be looked into.
I have covered whatever I knew of and I could think of. Feel free to add options in this. Take home message: Only do what you love doing.
Good luck with life.
by Amber Tahir Siddiqui, Class of SMC’17, Ex-Head Research Society.