8 Ways to Earn Extra Income From Medical Activities

Leigh Page

Disclosures

March 22, 2016

In This Article

Working Hard to Make Ends Meet

Whether you're on salary or own your practice, you may have times when it feels like you can't get ahead. Your list of monthly bills probably includes a mortgage and car loans, education debt, money to set aside for retirement, and perhaps kids' tuitions. None of these costs are likely to go away soon.

That leaves only one option: You will need to earn more.

Where do you start? One approach is to devote a small portion of your free time to a job outside of the practice. Plenty of companies want your medical skills, and it's often easier to take outside work than to add new services to your practice. By working as an expert witness or an independent medical examiner, for example, you avoid adding space, hiring new staff, and raising your overhead.

Taking an outside job can add $5000 to $10,000 a year in extra income—and even much more in some cases. That's a nice boost, and not just for young physicians needing to pay off their medical school debt. It can also help employed physicians on fixed salaries, or provide a cushion for independent physicians with fluctuating practice income.

Taking on a different job can also revitalize your passion for medicine, adds Michael McLaughlin, MD, founder of Physician Renaissance Network, a consultancy firm based in Pennington, New Jersey, that helps physicians with their careers.

"Doctors looking for extra money may not want to expand their practice and work longer hours doing the same thing," he says. "They may be feeling burned out or in need of more varied intellectual challenges. Having a new challenge can restore their enthusiasm for their career."

What Moonlighting Can Mean for You

Some physicians take on quite a few outside jobs. In addition to his internal medicine practice in Highland Park, Illinois, Jordan Grumet, MD, works in a nursing home and a hospice, serves as an expert witness in legal cases, and writes a blog for an online physician community.

"Having other jobs is a great way to balance your work and life," he says. In a typical week, he spends 20 hours seeing patients in his office, 15-20 hours visiting the nursing home, 5 hours visiting the hospice, and 3-5 hours working on his blog or writing articles. His work as an expert witness varies from week to week and month to month. Dr Grumet says these jobs provide new insights into clinical medicine, making him a better and more efficient physician. When appointments slow down at his practice, he has other work to turn to.

Even though Dr Grumet's blog-writing brings in only a few thousand dollars a year, he wouldn't give it up for the world. "Writing, in particular, helps you avoid burnout," he says. The blog he writes for, Freelance MD, focuses on physicians looking for extra work. "In your practice, you can get to a point where you want to try new things," he says. "You need to find something new and refreshing."

To find the jobs he wanted, Dr Grumet developed a wide network of potential employers and constantly reached out to the community. "I see myself as a serial entrepreneur," he says. "I'm always looking for new opportunities."

Before you jump at a part-time job opportunity, however, Dr McLaughlin suggests taking some time to consider what sort of work would fit your needs. "People have very different wants," he says. "Some think that sitting at a desk and reviewing charts is the last thing they'd want to do. Others say, 'I've been seeing 80 patients a day, and I want some peace and quiet.'"

Your own search may yield different choices, of course, but here are some options to consider.

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