“SEAK” and What Do You Find?

Every once in a while I get a brochure in the mail advertising non-clinical career opportunities for physicians. One of them is Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians by SEAK, Inc. Especially in today’s challenging and often contentious climate marked by political and regulatory obstacle courses, physician burnout can result. SEAK has this to say about burnout, How to Beat Physician Burnout – SEAK.

Notice the emphasis on the word “lucrative.” SEAK produces a number of educational presentations, which are not cheap, SEAK, Inc. Online Store. And you can have a look at a sort of dirty dozen short videos of interviews on the perspectives of several faculty members who teach these courses:

Advice from SEAK’s Non Clinical Faculty and Mentors {VIDEOS}

I was struck by one of them, in which the instructor, whose topic was “What Health Insurers Look for When Hiring Physicians” seemed to take a dim view of physicians in clinical practice, casting us as non-team players, and he seemed to verge on calling us arrogant:

This gentleman’s view may not be far from accurate in some quarters, but when I read the medical literature, I find a lot of papers highlighting how critically important it is for physicians to be collegial, collaborative, and indeed, humble. Certainly, in the era of managed care, we’re reminded of humility every time we’re connected with a physician reviewer. Physicians are definitely not dominating any conversations lately.

There is also no mention of what a non-clinical career physician ought to do to keep his or her medical license should Maintenance of Licensure (MOL) come to be the law of the land. The point is that every physician must carry a current, valid medical license to practice medicine in any state in the country. And MOL would tie licensure to participation in Maintenance of Certification (MOC) or a similar program. Even the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has not figured that one out yet, but the speculation is that one solution might be different “tiers” of licenses.

SEAK, Inc. seems to have forgotten the risk for burnout even in non-clinical careers in this regard, which one of the instructors let slip in “Plusses and Minuses of Hospital Administration” (which I’m assuming is a non-clinical career):

Yes, political wrangling seems to be unavoidable in both clinical and non-clinical medicine.

I don’t think the physician shortage is likely to be exacerbated by physicians migrating to non-clinical careers. I went to medical school and residency so that I could practice medicine. The older I get and the more the regulatory and political landscape changes in the nation, the more I wonder about non-clinical careers–occasionally. The only thing I have to do to forget about that avenue is to look at a couple of SEAK videos.


Author: Jim Amos

Dr. James J. Amos is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the UI Carver College of Medicine at The University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. Dr. Amos received a B. S. degree in Distributed Studies (Zoology, Chemistry, and Microbiology) in 1985 from Iowa State University and an M.D. from The University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa in 1992. He completed his psychiatry residency, including a year as Chief Resident, in 1996 at the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Iowa. He has co-edited a practical book about consultation psychiatry with Dr. Robert G. Robinson entitled Psychosomatic Medicine: An Introduction to Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. As a clinician educator, among Dr. Amos’s most treasured achievements is the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.