Is clinical medicine for you?


We established the Medical Careers Service at AMA Victoria seven years ago due to increased demand by our members for a safe, non-judgemental and objective space to discuss their careers. Since then we have supported hundreds of doctors in the role of advisor and coach to develop and manage their medical careers. Over this time there is not much we haven’t heard about the highs and lows of a career in medicine. Questioning a career in clinical medicine comes up often; reasons for this are many and varied. A few we hear often include:

What support is available to explore non-clinical/alternate pathways?

This final theme of ‘transition’ away from clinical medicine to non-clinical or alternate pathways is an area we have experienced considerable growth in over recent years. There is a misconception within the profession that these doctors are either ‘not cut out for clinical medicine’ or that they are ‘under-performing’ as clinicians. However, it is important to understand that in the majority of cases this is untrue and it’s the doctor’s decision to leave medicine or diversify their career. They do this on their own terms; it is their choice. 

Despite this, there is often a negative stigma attached to such a decision and whether this is real or perceived is irrelevant. The sense of shame, betrayal, distress and embarrassment these doctors often bring into the coaching session is considerable and very real. However, there is also a great sense of relief in having made this declaration – sometimes it is the first time they have admitted publicly to anyone, even themselves, that the career trajectory that they are on is incongruent with their needs and wants.

Why the shift away from clinical medicine?

Our insights on why doctors are exploring pathways outside of clinical medicine come from our interactions with hundreds of doctors, as well as through our extensive engagement with the profession, our members, wellbeing forums and partners. Some of the reasons doctors give for wanting to leave clinical medicine include:


The steps to take if you believe clinical medicine is not for you

Reflect on your professional role and understand yourself better

Don’t do it on your own – connect and seek support

Build capability – gain experience

In summary, we are not convinced that the shift away from clinical medicineis a new phenomenon. However, there is a movement within the profession to provide a voice for doctors who want to look beyond a clinical role, which has helped to normalise it and in fact to celebrate doctors experiencing success in other fields, besides medicine. 

This is evidenced by the rapid growth in recent times of communities such as the Facebook group ‘Creative Careers in Medicine’ founded by GP and digital health leader, Dr Amandeep Hansra, who has worked tirelessly to raise awareness, support and networking opportunities for doctors exploring pathways out of medicine. We recommend joining these communities as well as engaging with our coaching team to better understand why you might want to leave clinical medicine and what this might look like.

AMA Victoria’s Medical Career Service is designed to support doctors at all stages of their career. For more information, visit or please contact us on (03) 9280 8722 or

Mardi O’Keefe
Manager, Medical Career Service


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