Reboot Your Career in 2017

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Three physicians share how you can breathe new life into your career in the new year. 


Reboot: Broaden your horizons with international E.M.
with Joe Lex, MD


Emergency medicine as a specialty has been established in 45 countries and is developing rapidly. If you have a sense of wanderlust, consider exploring your options teaching or lecturing in another country. That’s exactly what international educator Dr. Joe Lex did 15 years ago, and he never looked back. In early 2001 he had no idea that speaking at the First Eurasian Emergency Medicine Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, would have a significant impact on his career. Now retiring, Dr. Lex can list Poland, Argentina, South Africa, Vietnam and Myanmar among the many countries where he has spoken – and had an impact on medical development. While it is exciting, Lex advises colleagues that they won’t get rich in international EM.

“This is a very expensive hobby, but a noble one,” said Dr. Lex who was recently recognized as a Fellow of the International Federation for Emergency Medicine (FIFEM).Lex also notes that when teaching abroad, it’s no longer enough to teach the basics; you must also be able to bring unique skills to the table. Many countries are in demand for EM physicians trained in ultrasound, EKG interpretation, toxicology, disaster medicine, resuscitation, or adult education. If you are willing to travel on your own dime and bring your skills to bear, you’ll find a world of rewarding opportunities.

“It was a distinct honor to be involved in the development of emergency medicine in so many diverse places,” says Dr. Lex. “The ability to travel the world while apparently making a difference in the treatment of patients is an opportunity offered to few people, and I was lucky enough to be one of them.”


How to get started:

  1. Join an international emergency medicine association, such as IFEM (, or join the international section of your national medical association.
  2. Sign up to teach overseas, but do it for the love of the work, not for money. With rare exceptions, you will pay your own transportation and often your own lodging.
  3. Bring a travel buddy. Extensive international travel can get lonely, so consider factoring the added cost of bringing along a spouse, child or member of your staff.


Reboot: Boost your income with a new kind of locums
with Rob Scott, MD, MBA

If you are looking to increase your flexibility and do a little traveling, you might need to take a second look at locum tenens, thanks to a new company that launched this fall. As an emergency physician, Dr. Rob Scott saw locum tenens as a great way to rethink the emergency medicine career path, but picking up extra shifts was onerous and involved enough moving parts that many physicians decided not to give it a shot. In an effort to simplify and democratize this locums process, Dr. Scott founded Lucidity, an online marketplace that connects employers with locum tenens physicians, and helps with the backend headaches of credentialing and scheduling. For Dr. Scott, another big driver for this change was the need for transparency during the recruitment process. “Under the current model, locum tenens companies charge medical groups a price for doctor services but they don’t share with that group what the physician is receiving,” says Scott. “On the other side, physicians are paid a wage by the agency but the physicians have no knowledge of what the group is paying for their services.” By creating Lucidity Dr. Scott hopes to introduce an on-demand platform for today’s entrepreneurial physician. Lucidity gives physicians control over everything from their professional profile to negotiating payment terms. “What I strived to build with the technology was a platform that was fair to both sides, that would be valuable and productive for their careers and businesses and not be weighted to any side.” If Lucidity takes off, it will become easier than ever to pick up shifts on your own terms, giving you the freedom to pursue the things that matter most.


How to get started:

  1. Examine your current schedule and financial needs and see if you would benefit from moonlighting – or going full time – as a locums physician.
  2. Create a professional profile on
  3. Set parameters concerning where you want to work, when you want to work, and how much you’d like to get paid.
  4. Communicate with prospective employers to negotiate your rates.


Reboot: Grow your passion project into a side hustle
with Stephanie Burgos, MD

What are the things that you love doing? Stephanie Burgos, MD, posed this question to herself after finishing up her residency at Harvard. She was drained from seeing patients and wracked with anxiety and depression. “I wanted to help people more than just the 15 minutes that I could work with them,” said Burgos. So Dr. Burgos developed a side plan that would allow her to spend more time helping people stay healthy outside the hospital. She started by joining Beach Body, a company that sells at-home workout programs to help motivate people to live a fit and healthier lifestyle. “I became intrigued by the whole idea of building something on social media,” she said. As she built her personal brand within the company, Burgos began to combine her health coaching with her emergency medicine training. “Whether they have certain disease processes or whether they just need some basic nutrition education, from my medical career I’m able to understand what people are going through in ways that others might not,” said Burgos. Thus was born HealthyER Doc. Burgos uses this new platform – including over twenty-thousand followers on Instagram – to “educate, inspire and motivate people.” “One of my first coaching clients was a single mom who was depressed, even suicidal. She completely turned her life around in a positive way and is living a fulfilled life. In the emergency room I can’t be very long-term with people and really work with those who want the help. What I love is that coaching allows me to do that.”

How to get started:

  1. If you’re feeling burned out in the ED, look for a charity or cause outside the hospital that you feel passionate about. Developing your passions outside the ED helps you stay compassionate in your practice.
  2. It’s OK to take a break from clinical medicine. You can reduce overall career burnout by taking time to focus on what is truly important to you. What will your legacy be?
  3. Working on you isn’t weak. Everyone needs personal self-development. Take a class, learn another language, take risks in the New Year.


Taja Whitted has worked as an editor for Emergency Physicians Monthly and currently works at Harper Collins.

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