Physicians Helping Physicians Spotlight
John V. Jurica, MD, MPH, CPE
Host, Physician Nonclinical Careers Podcast
Founding Partner, Clinicians Career Cooperative (clinicianscooperative.com)
1. Can you tell us a little about your career path and what led you to your current role running the Clinicians Career Cooperative?
I started out as a typical family physician in a small private practice. But I quickly found myself volunteering for committee work, and providing part-time support to the hospital, first as a utilization review physician advisor, then as medical director for its family planning and occupational medicine clinics.
I developed an interest in healthcare finances and leadership. So, I completed a Master’s in Public Health, and joined the American Association for Physician Leadership (at the time it was called the American College of Physician Executives) to learn more about healthcare finances and management. I also began to experience burnout. The increasing burden of regulations, difficult EMR implementations, uncompensated paperwork, and the need to see more patients became an immense emotional strain.
So, I convinced the hospital CEO to hire me as the first VP for Medical Affairs and then Chief Medical Officer. I ultimately left direct patient care completely. I found my work as CMO to be much more fulfilling than clinical work.
And I discovered that other physicians wanted to shift to careers built on their medical training and experience that did not involve direct patient care.
So, I shifted gears completely. I left hospital leadership, partnered in an urgent care start-up, and began podcasting so I could learn more about unconventional careers for disenchanted physicians. Through the podcast, I began to see that there were many fulfilling options for physicians that did not come with the baggage of long hours, frequent call responsibilities, and the constant threat of a lawsuit.
I have now dedicated myself to helping my colleagues find fulfilling careers that bring them joy in any way that I can. I provide inspiration and education about nonclinical careers via my blog, podcast, the Physician Nonclinical Career Hunters Facebook Group, the Nonclinical Career Academy, and my latest venture, the Clinicians Career Cooperative.
2. How did the Clinicians Career Cooperative get started, and what are its goals?
There is a growing need for mentoring, coaching and teaching physicians and other clinicians how to recognize and overcome burnout, find more balance in their lives, and pursue new careers that enable them to express their unique talents.
For the most part, what has been available to clinicians so far is free, sometimes misleading, promotional information on the Internet, or very costly one on one coaching and online courses. The latter are often quite helpful, but limited in reach because of the reluctance of skeptical clinicians to commit the time and money to access them.
A small group of clinicians have stepped up to help these colleagues by becoming expert coaches, consultants, speakers and authors in the area of unconventional careers. One of those consultants, Dr. Tom Davis, approached me last year about collaborating on a project that he believed would help to address this need.
Tom and I recognized that frustrated clinicians would benefit from basic mentoring provided in a safe environment, with the opportunity to engage multiple mentors whose work had already been validated. We believe that a low-cost online forum provides such a solution. It enables members to post questions at their convenience in dozens of topics, and engage with a growing panel of knowledgeable mentors. Over time, members can develop rapport with one or more of the mentors and pursue a direct coaching relationship if desired, or access their paid courses.
As a typical online forum, members are notified when new content is added in their areas of interest. Then meaningful conversations continue over a period of days and weeks. And the forum has the ability to provide free audio and video content. Tom and I have already provided extensive discussions pertaining to telemedicine and hospital management, respectively. And everything is easily searchable and archived indefinitely.
Over time, we expect the Cooperative to grow in terms of members, topics covered and available mentors (both in terms of numbers and breadth of expertise). And it will become an abundant source of actionable advice for clinicians seeking new opportunities.
3. What do you enjoy most about the work that you do? What excites you?
Everything that I now produce in the online world centers around three beliefs or guiding principles that I follow. I believe that:
All physicians are part of my family or tribe. We have a shared set of experiences that binds us together. And I care about my family.
My physician colleagues deserve a career and a life that brings them joy and fulfilment.
Physicians are natural leaders.
I personally find fulfillment by creating resources that help my physician colleagues, mentees, students and listeners accelerate their career transition, if that is what they desire. I’m passionate about maintaining and improving the tools and programs I’ve created to help physicians, from the Facebook group, to the podcast and Nonclinical Career Academy.
And the thing I am most excited about right now is the Clinicians Career Cooperative that I described above, for several reasons:
It is a unique resource for clinicians;
It is just getting started, and we’re getting traction with members;
We’re attracting more mentors; and,
We’re inspiring and informing physicians and other clinicians who have had enough, and are successfully escaping the medical industrial complex and serving patients in new ways that bring joy to their lives.
4. What do you wish you had known as a young physician?
I like that question. There are so many things!
I wished that I had known that:
I have much more choice and flexibility in my career and life than I realized;
I could use mentors to help me avoid mistakes and accelerate my career journey;
There are many organizations looking for physicians to advise, direct, and lead them, from accrediting bodies, to educational institutions, to nonprofit healthcare organizations and others; and,
I could create a life that is balanced and fulfilling by being intentional, and working with my closest friends and family to define and pursue that vision.
Registration now open for the 2020 Virtual Conference