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

Shifting careers


As healthcare professionals, there are multiple ways to have a positive impact on the world. If and when you step away from patient care, thoughtfully consider what will bring fulfillment and purpose. 

10 years ago, I made a significant decision in my medical career. I quit my position as chief of the ICU and burn center, an achievement I’d worked hard to earn. I never imagined there would come a day when I wouldn’t be caring for patients and had to find some new activities to occupy my time.  


I started thinking about an initiative where I could integrate my experiences as a mom, doctor, and educator to serve my community and make a positive impact on others’ lives. I also knew that maintaining a professional activity, even a few hours per week, would be fulfilling and support my overall well-being as I tried to recover from burnout and depression. 


So, I established an NGO, LAMSA, to address the trend of increasing substance use among adolescents, especially for tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis. I asked for the help of medical students to reach out to the teenage community, which was also an opportunity for them to feel the joy of volunteering. I studied addiction medicine and enrolled in many workshops including narrative medicine, to tell the stories of experiences with illness-mindfulness-based-stress-reduction, as well as lifestyle medicine for a healthy body and mind. 


I find fulfillment in serving my community and nurturing my own vitality. I ultimately decided to return to patient care as a general practitioner, with a focus on substance use, lifestyle medicine, and the well-being of female caregivers. 


If for some reason you quit your full-time practice, consider maintaining some sort of professional activity. Here are a few ideas to consider: 


1. Raise awareness and educate your community about a cause you’re passionate about. 


2. Strengthen and expand your community. Ask for help in your mission. 


3. Persevere in your new mission. 


4. You can always return to patient care either full or part time. If so, educate yourself about new advancements in your specialty. 












This piece expresses the views solely of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of any organization, including Johns Hopkins Medicine.