Episode #14: Things to Do Before Leaving Medicine

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Fix it up before you give it up. Leaving medicine is a big deal, but burnout can have you looking for the nearest exit sign. In order to have no regrets, it’s helpful to do everything you can to make things better before leaving. In this podcast, interventional radiologist Dr. Robert Kanterman talks about the 5 things he did over a number of years to improve his situation before deciding to transition. Find out how ice cream figured in.

In this episode we’re talking about:

  • The value of “fixing it up before you give it up”
  • 5 thing to do before leaving medicine
  • Dr. Robert Kanterman’s transition story
  • Out-of-the-box options like having an ice-cream parlor
  • How doing less and saying “No” can be a good thing

Links for this episode:

Download the Physician Transition Starter Kit Here
A “must have” when you’re questioning your career path. This 25-page guide answers many of your questions about career transition, nonclinical options, and how to just get started.

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Heather Fork

9 Comments

  1. Jennifer on January 28, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Great podcast episode! I really appreciate how open and honest Dr. Kanterman was in sharing his experience, and I wish him all the best on his next endeavor. I especially appreciated his advice at the end about being open to exploring careers outside of medicine entirely. I think it’d be great if you featured a guest who decided to pursue something totally outside of medicine. Again, thanks for this podcast – it helps me feel a little less alone in my conflicted feelings about my career in medicine.

    • Heather Fork on January 29, 2021 at 1:23 am

      Jennifer! Thank you for your lovely comments. I am very appreciative of Dr. Kanterman as well, for honestly sharing his story. I love his sense of humor and willingness to try out ideas and see where they take him. I definitely will have some guests on have done things totally outside medicine. Is there an area in particular that you’d be interested in hearing about? I could do some reconnaissance. Thank you for being a loyal listener.

      • Jennifer on January 29, 2021 at 11:00 pm

        Thanks for your reply, Heather! I am interested in hearing about anything outside of medicine, but am especially interested in hearing about something more creative/artistic or something that directly helps others (i.e. counseling, non-profit work). I’m trying to keep an open mind, so I’m open to anything!

  2. Thomas on January 29, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    What an intelligent and interesting conversation! Dr. Kanterman’s candid description of how he made changes to his career path are surely helpful to others. The interviewed flowed easily, was organized, and even offered moments of humor.

    • Heather Fork on January 29, 2021 at 8:27 pm

      Thanks so much Thomas for sharing your kudos for Dr. Kanterman’s interview on the podcast. I was really glad he wanted to share his journey as a lot of physicians feel like they’re going too slow in figuring out what’s next. It took us a long time to become physicians and it makes sense to take some to work with your current situation and explore options if you’re not 100% crystal clear. Robert’s story is a good reminder us to find the fun and humor along the way.

  3. Ali on February 4, 2021 at 1:17 am

    This was a really well spent 30min. I walked away with actionable, manageable steps I can take as I contemplate next steps that will help me with whatever next move I take in my career. It was helpful to hear parts of the journey of 2 people who have navigated career changes in both Heather and the guest. And, there were some powerful reframing lessons in the guest’s story, namely the need to recognize that the hospital and practice won’t love you back.

    Thanks for this form of guidance and support

    • Heather Fork on February 4, 2021 at 2:03 am

      Ali! You are so incredibly welcome! This is just the kind of feedback we were hoping for. Robert and I wanted to be able to provide concrete advice and actionable steps through the telling of his transition story. I am thankful to him for trying all these things and coming on the podcast to share his pearls and wisdom. I’m so glad you found the episode helpful. Thank you for listening and your great comments.

  4. David MH Lambert on February 5, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    Interesting. I’m wondering whether there is a common thread in the “stressors” which prompt clinicians to want a change and whether or not these same stressors existed prior to, say – the 90’s? I think what I’m driving at is that I’d be willing to bet that to a large degree a “loss of control” while maintaining the same level of responsibility would be identified as a top issue?

    • Heather Fork on February 5, 2021 at 11:39 pm

      David, you hit the nail on the head with your speculation. Yes, this combination of having 100% responsibility for patient outcomes with a significant loss of control over patient care is a huge factor in burnout and stress. It’s like putting a pilot in the cockpit but locking the control panel. How are you supposed to fly, and how do you keep yourself and the passengers safe? With the advent of the EMR in the 90’s and the successive buyout of practices by large corporations, there are many challenges that physicians face without a lot of options for practicing medicine on their own terms. Thank you for listening and taking the time to leave your thoughtful comments.

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She was able to listen to my "ramblings" about becoming a stand-up comic, lounge singer and voice-over actor and translate them into action steps.  I chose to become a composite of all of these. Now I am a more confident, healthier, happier person. I credit this in its entirety to the tutelage I have received and continue to receive from Heather.  She cares. She listens. She was there for ME.  She will be there for YOU!

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Heather helped me understand that I am more than just a doctor and that my experiences in clinical medicine are valuable in so many arenas.  As a result I realized that there are other ways to use my background, still be able to help people and continue to challenge myself and grow.  To that end I discovered coaching - specifically health coaching.  I am on my journey becoming a health coach and truly loving it!

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What started out as an initial thirty-minute consultation call turned into an amazing four-year journey that transformed my life, personally, spiritually and professionally. 

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She is incredibly knowledgeable about the range of careers available to physicians and provided me with advice and connections which I would not have found on my own.  From the start she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try different things.  I was laid off unexpectedly in early 2017, and Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart and making decisions based on trust, not fear.  Now I am enjoying working part-time in a clinical setting in addition to teaching and writing.

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After months of struggling to find a non-clinical career that matched my values and passion, I stumbled upon Heather's website which truly changed my life."

Heather's insightful and personalized approach to career coaching made me think outside the box since she took the time to evaluate my personality, values, interests, and preferred lifestyle.

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My career was going reasonably well but I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling I could do better; or at least find a better long-term career fit.  

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If you are reading this as a “Type A” surgeon who doesn’t think coaching is for you, I would encourage you to give Heather a shot.  I’m very glad I did!

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Through our work, I learned to trust myself to make good decisions for my own future – something I hadn’t realized I was struggling with because as an emergency physician, I make life-changing decisions with patients every day. 

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