Being a diversified professional does not mean that you have to forfeit your primary career as a doctor or even lessen your commitment towards your main occupation. Nowadays, many people have realised the benefits of being a multi-skilled individual, and employees that have diversified skill sets and talents are considered important assets to the organization.

Expanding your knowledge and skills in a different discipline requires extra time and effort. As a doctor whose primary occupation already takes a large chunk of your time, proper time management is crucial. More importantly however, you have to have the passion and motivation to explore new things.

The following are some tips to help you get started:

1. Find a niche(s) that you are interested in

Perhaps you have taken an elective course that you really liked, although the subject might not relate directly to your line of profession. Maybe you have another lifelong passion besides medicine that you have always been enthusiastic about. Author educator, speaker and consultant Anne Hill, says that finding your niche is more than just streamlining what you do, but also adding back some of the early interests you may have dropped along the way in your life. [1] Regardless of what the subject matter is, pick a niche that really interests you. It is okay to find a profitable niche, but profit or fame should not be a core motivation when you choose your niche. When you have finally decided on your niche, find ways to invest your time and energy into it.

2. Explore learning opportunities

The next step is to find ways in which you can gain deeper knowledge in the field that you have chosen. If you are interested in coding, for instance, enrol in programming courses that allow you to learn at your own pace so that it does not interfere in your work schedule. Udemy, Coursera and Alison are good platforms to start if you are considering taking online courses. You might also want to look for reading materials related to programming. You should, nevertheless, be realistic and persistent throughout the learning process, since it would obviously take time before you can master the skills thoroughly.

3. Networking (the smart way)

Connecting with people who have the same passion and interest as you do can foster a fruitful exchange of ideas and information. However, you also have to know how to connect with the right people. It is a paradox if you managed to build a huge network, yet not being able to gain anything significant from it. An article in Harvard Business Review states that high performers usually have strong ties to the following people: those who offer them new information or expertise; formally powerful people who can provide mentoring, support and resources; and people who give constructive feedback, challenge their decisions, and push them to be better. [2] In other words, the quality of your network matters more than its size.

How you define yourself as a professional is entirely up to you. There are many healthcare professionals who are successful in their medical career, yet still manage to embark on another path of interest and excel at it as well. As long as you have the passion and determination, grab the opportunity to pursue another area alongside medicine. MIMS

Read more:
5 upsides to every doctor’s career
Doctors among highest paid professionals
8 career options all doctors can consider

[1] Hill, Anne. “The Secret to Finding (and Keeping) Your Niche. Huffington Post. 1 January 2014. Web. 15 Oct 2016.
[2] Cross, Robert; Thomas, Robert J. “Managing Yourself: A Smarter Way to Network”. Harvard Business Review. July-August issue (2011). Web. 15 Oct 2016.