Outplacing Doctors, Graduate, and Medical Students

It might seem that the last people in the world who would need help with outplacement services would be doctors, medical students, and bioscience graduate students. However, some recent trends indicate that the demand for these kind of services will be increasing: 

1. While the numbers of employed physicians has been increasing, the trend has plateaued and more are leaving their employed status to join or create independent practices.

2. Bioscience graduate students and post-docs have about a 15% chance of finding a tenure-track research and teaching job within five years of graduation. 

3. More medical students are deciding to quit medical school or not do a residency to participate in entrepreneurial ventures, particularly in digital health.

Outplacement services are common in larger companies, but their effectiveness is questionable. For medical students, doctors leaving their employed status, and graduate students, they are non-existent. In fact, in many instances, there is a sense of resentment by PIs, mentors, and faculty that students would quit or not "be part of the tribe". Students are subjected to harassment, ridicule, and marginalized as pariahs who betrayed the culture.  

We need the best talent we can find in bioscience and medicine. We have both a moral and practical obligation to help them find a place where they can continue to contribute and add value to a system that badly needs all hands on deck. Ostracizing them is not only stupid, but a terrible waste of talent if they decide to leave the reservation. 

Informal networks and stealth career planning only helps a few. Personal career development counseling should not stop simply because someone changes their mind.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org