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The Changing Face of Clinical Careers

The Changing Face of Clinical Careers A whitepaper The Changing Face of Clinical Careers was released last week by Wavelength International, Ccentric and Creative Careers in Medicine who collaborated to carry out Australia’s first research on what future healthcare careers may look like. It also provides a call to action for universities to adapt curricula to incorporate current views and developments in digital health, health technology and models of care thereby ensuring clinical professionals are equipped with the right skillsets for the future.

Institute CEO Dr Louise Schaper says: “This research is fascinating! Nothing like this has ever been done before. Medical careers are generally set in stone. Medicine is challenging academically and requires a lot of sacrifices, but then some clinicians realise when they get there that it’s not what they thought it would be, that it’s not enough. It takes a lot of courage and determination to explore an alternative career pathway in clinical medicine”.

More than 850 clinicians from a cross-section of the Australian medical and healthcare workforce were surveyed about areas of interest and expertise beyond traditional clinical roles.

The research indicates that 72% of clinicians are considering divergent career opportunities and 60% report having qualifications or experience outside of traditional medicine.

Importantly, these areas of interest do not necessarily align with current areas of self-identified expertise, highlighting 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 there is a big 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.

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 disrupt workflows in a negative way.

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%).

Drivers and inspirations behind the interests of clinicians in pursuing non-clinical careers include the need for variety and diversity, an appetite for more flexibility and a desire to make a greater difference.

With COVID-19 and major disruptions to the industry, the number of clinicians revaluating their professional situations is on the rise as they seek a more fulfilling and rewarding career.

When it comes to digital health, the question is how well undergraduate curricula and ongoing professional development support the use of the range of technologies available?

Consideration needs to be given both to upskilling health professionals in the appropriate use of available technology as well as developing new roles with a specific focus on Digital Health and analytics. There is a growing recognition that upskilling should not focus solely on how to use the technology but on how to integrate the human skills and digital capabilities to optimise the delivery of safe, effective and efficient healthcare.

The Changing Face of Clinical Careers

Want to find out more about career pathways for health professionals beyond traditional clinical roles?