Alexis Hutson

Coaching doctors Development workshops

The Power of Divergent Medical Careers

03 November 2017

Having just returned from the Leaders in Healthcare conference I'm thinking a lot about the linear nature of medical careers.

With other Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) Coaches, I had the opportunity to offer Speed Coaching to delegates and contributed to a number of breakout sessions. Hearing people talk about their career (whether early, mid or later) I was reminded of how difficult it can be for people to diverge from the usual path. We know that the medical education and training pathway is long and hard. It clearly requires immense dedication, effort and focus. But it might not give people the time to think laterally or longer term about their options, ideas or passions. I know that the situation is better than it used to be and people can take career breaks, fellowships and transfers, and equally I know the service need is significant - we need people on the ground. However, those who do take alternative pathways often feel isolated and can be made to feel bad about their choices. People who have taken a divergent path often say they have benefited enormously and cite the following:
  • strengthened confidence and therefore resilience
  • increased sense of purpose and highly developed interest areas
  • better worklife balance and life perspective
  • broader and more diverse networks
And they sometimes say they think it makes them a better doctor. I still think we have one of the best medical education systems in the world, despite the interference of the government. But I think it is useful to reflect on the route and destination - might it be worth being a bit divergent? Early Career Doctors  - consider a year away from clinical practice as a National Medical Director's Clinical Fellow with the FMLM CLICK HERE.  Next application round starts this month for fellowships to start September 2018. CLICK HERE for an idea of the timeline. If you would like to talk to me about your career development needs call me on 07540 593476 or email me at