Opinion: These 7 professions could lead to a second career in medicine

In a recent blog piece for U.S. News & World Report, Kathleen Franco, MD, outlined seven jobs that could lead to a second career as a physician.

Dr. Franco is the associate dean of admissions and student affairs at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University.

Here are Dr. Franco's seven careers that offer the skills necessary to succeed in medical school and become a physician.

1. Nurse. Not only do nurses have a solid medical background, but they also know how to coordinate with other team members and remain calm in crises. In addition, nurses have "acquired the art of caring and compassion from watching their teachers," according to Dr. Franco.

2. Lawyer. A legal background can be incredibly useful in the field of medicine, especially as it relates to researching and retaining challenging information. "Attorneys prepare and plan extensively for complex cases and before courtroom hearings, just as a surgeon does prior to difficult surgeries," wrote Dr. Franco.

3. Engineer. Engineers "understand the concept that multiple minds can problem solve more easily than one person working alone," a skill that can be applied to being a physician. Dr. Franco also added that a number of engineers have a bit of biomedical engineering training.

4. Educator. Teachers and educators are "well-versed in the analysis, synthesis and application of information" and "possess the ability to break down complex topics into smaller, teachable bites," according to Dr. Franco. These skill sets are translatable to medicine, as physicians often must relay information to colleagues and patients.

5. Researcher. Researchers are prone to looking for the most minute details and patterns, and they know how to conduct thorough investigations. As Dr. Franco noted, researchers "are often drawn to medicine in their quest to know the unknown."

6. Social worker. In their training, social workers learn how social determinants and economic conditions affect access to healthcare and treatment options. On top of that, like nurses, social workers are "compassionate," "caring" and "can negotiate challenging teams and stick political matters in the medical arena," according to Dr. Franco.

7. Allied healthcare professional. It's not rare for allied healthcare professionals — such as paramedics, radiology technologists and physical therapists — to apply to medical school. These workers generally have a solid grasp of healthcare from their time working in hospitals and alongside physicians and nurses.

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