Moving Us Closer To Osler
A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

Designing Your Life in Medicine


Thoughtful career exploration may promote well-being and protect against burnout. Life design practices may guide you along your career journey.

What do you want to do when you grow up? It’s a question posed over and over again from our earliest years. It’s a simple question but landing on a satisfactory answer is complex. In medicine, even after the decision to become a doctor is made, the questions continue to mount. What specialty? Will you do a fellowship? Where will you practice? Academics, private practice, or something else? What patients will be the focus of your care?


The answers to these questions define our career paths. Reflecting on the how and why behind these decisions can ensure that we’re heading in the right direction. The ultimate goal is to be engaged in work that we find interesting and meaningful;  practicalities such as the extent to which we are well-suited to particular fields must also be considered. Thoughtfulness and deliberation can ultimately lead to sustained fulfillment and satisfaction. This, in turn, helps us withstand the inevitable challenges. It’s not a stretch to imagine how sustained passion for our work can aid us in realizing the ultimate patient care goal of clinical excellence. As such, effort toward finding one’s optimal career path in the medical profession is time well spent.


Life design is needed in medicine during this time when well-being is low and rates of burnout are high. To learn more, please read this recently published perspective.