One of the most useful blog posts I’ve read in a while

Five Tips for Handling the Emotional Side of Leaving Medicine by Dr. Morgan Leafe is a blog post I’d recommend to everyone who is contemplating leaving medicine.

Dr Leafe transitioned into medical writing and informatics after working as a paediatrician for 14 years!

She first talks about the exact moment where she realised her decision to become a paediatrician was a people-pleasing choice. A scenario that kept her in a career she didn’t like, that also created guilt at the idea of leaving.

Photo by Millo Lin on Unsplash

Dr Leafe’s explanation is eloquent and hits close to home. I feel exactly the same way, having grown up with wanting to please adults around me. Becoming a doctor was widely approved and encouraged. Wanting to leave medicine has stricken me with large amounts of guilt!

How could I not enjoy this important work of helping others? Why aren’t I grateful for having a stable job, especially during the pandemic that has left so many unemployed?

Dr Leafe said it was even more difficult to explain she didn’t like being a paediatrician. People looked at her like she had “10 heads”.

Like many physicians, I do NOT deal well with uncertainty (see above 5-year-old who laid out her career path and actually followed it). What would I do if I wasn’t a doctor? How would I make enough money with basically no other job skills? How does applying for jobs outside of the medical field even work? 

After many years of rationalizing, contemplating, agonizing, and trying out different roles in the pediatric field, I finally came to the conclusion that facing uncertainty had to be better than continuing to experience the certainty that this was not the right career path for me.

Dr Morgan leafe – 5 tips for handling the emotional side of leaving medicine
Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Her 5 tips to emotionally deal with leaving medicine

She then helpfully lays out her five tips to emotionally deal with leaving medicine. Her pointers are useful and full of the wisdom of someone that has been there, done that.

Firstly, do not share your decision until you’ve completely come to terms with it. People will give you unsolicited advice, and you need to be firm in your choice before that happens.

It’s no secret that the culture in medicine is one of competing over who works the hardest, sleeps the least, achieves the most, and is the biggest martyr

Dr Morgan leafe

She then recommends talking to everyone that has done it before, to recruit a career coach, set aside dedicated time to work on the career transition, and finally to keep the faith.

As she puts it this will prevent you from making a fear-based choice and keep you on the path to a trust-based decision

So if you’re looking for daily motivation and some useful tips on handling the emotional rollercoaster that is trying to quit medicine, take a peak at her post.

Feature photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash