The Challenge of Diversity in Non-Clinical Careers

Diversity-Related Challenges Faced in Non-Clinical Careers

Many non-clinical MBBS/MD doctors work with teams of people who resemble very little with them in education, training, and may have completely unrelated skill sets. Quite often, they may be the only doctor in their team or perhaps the only doctor in their organization.

Image Credit: John Hain from Pixabay

Working with diverse teams and environments produces many operational challenges in the profession of non-clinical doctors. Some of the important challenges are described below: 

Non-Clinical Doctor - A Lone Warrior

Working Alone
Image Credit: Grae Dickason

For somebody who is used to being around doctors transitioning to a new culture can lead to a lonely feeling. If not loneliness lack of community to associate with can be experienced, especially when there are pre-existing communities of people with different qualifications and work profiles. For somebody accustomed to being around doctors, mixing with nondoctor peers could be difficult and there may be permanent invisible walls that the physician may need to break to be a part of the team.

Unclear Career Paths in Non-Clinical Roles

Career growth
Image Credit: Mohamed Hassan

In many organizations, the cadres and career graphs for doctors may not be well defined, unlike other employees. The physician may feel that he was hired at a junior level or role than his qualification leading to dissatisfaction. There may be the opposite case also, when the physician though younger in age may be hired at the middle or senior level in the organization generating resistance among other employees.

Diverse Teams in Non-Clinical Roles

Image Credit: Colin Behrens

The physician may be leading or managing paramedical people, administrative employees, and sometimes totally unrelated positions like an office peon. Those people may not fully appreciate the job and responsibilities of their boss. They may compare him to former nondoctor bosses or to a clinician whom they know. They may try to judge the clinical acumen of the non-clinical doctor and question his competency. They may ask for favors like a second opinion, prescription, or a medical certificate from their boss not fully realizing the non-clinical nature of his work.

A Non-Medical Boss - The Worst Nightmare of a Non-Clinical Doctor

There may be a case that the boss has never worked with a physician before. On the contrary, there can also be cases when the boss has worked with multiple physicians before but he could not get along with them due to ego issues. Both these situations will present several challenges for the non-clinical doctor. For a non-clinical doctor, it may take much longer to establish a healthy work relationship with a non-medico boss. The boss may not be fully aware of the technicalities of the job and may hate medical jargon. The boss may expect oversimplification of the outputs produced by the physician's ordinary tasks. The boss may not use the prefix of "doctor" while addressing the physician which he/she may be so used to.

The Fast Pace of Change in Non-Clinical Roles

Image Credit: Gerd Altmann

The non-clinical doctor may be frequently reassigned new tasks with time and due to project needs. Multitasking and working with newer teams may be demanded by the job more often than expected. There may be back to square one position several times. The physician may be transferred across roles or geographical places or products. The team may see conflicts and have unrealistic expectations of work or compensation which the physician would have to manage.

Business Travel - A Lifestyle Associated with Non-Clinical Roles

Image Credit: Rudy and Peter Skitterians

For many non-clinical roles, travel is an important variable to be considered by the physician. While occasional travel for conferences or meetings may be a standard protocol for most senior positions, some positions may have high local, national, or international travel requirements. People who have medical or personal problems may find it difficult to meet such obligations. With travel, the challenges of living in multiple physical environments do arise. Speaking newer languages, eating newer foods, meeting new people every day can be equally draining for some while pleasing for others. 

While not every operational challenge can be eliminated, with time and experience, one can overcome these challenges by believing in yourself, your team, and the organization. While everybody onboard has to contribute to making their journey smoother, a lot depends on the value system, social and communication skills of the non-clinical doctor that how much the team will respect him while he is around and miss him after he has left the organization.

Did you get a pulse of the work profile of a non-clinical doctor? Feel free to share your views.

Views expressed are personal

Last Updated On 08/22/2019 07:30 PM

Author Profile

Dr. Naval Asija is a New Delhi-based non-clinical doctor having health administration postgraduate training. Since 2018, he has been writing/blogging full-time on health issues. In the past, he has worked for a decade in healthcare, in different organizations, namely Innodata India Pvt. Ltd., Win-Medicare Pvt. Ltd., National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, Integrated Disease Surveillance Project, and the National Polio Surveillance Project.
The author can be contacted through
journey of a non clinical doctor



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