I would highly recommend starting with the two books in the order I listed them. The first book was single-handedly responsible for normalizing the idea of quitting residency in my head. The second gave me confidence that I’d be able to find a well-paying non-clinical job. If you have any resources you think I should add, let me know!
Residency Drop Out: How I Quit My Medical Career To Travel the World and Work Remotely – Chelsea Turgeon
This book is amazing. It was published in March 2021 by an Ob/Gyn resident who ended up resigning. It was the first book I read on the topic and, like I mention above, it completely normalized my feelings around quitting. Chelsea provides a great framework for answering the more introspective questions like “what do I want in life?” but also addresses the more practical questions like dealing with student loans. I cannot recommend this book enough!
Do You Feel Like You Wasted All That Training?: Answers About Transitioning to Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians Answers About Transitioning to Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians – Michael J McLaughlin
This book was written by a plastic surgeon who transitioned from his clinical practice to a non-clinical career. He focuses less on how he decided to leave his clinical career (although he definitely talks about it) and more on the concrete steps you can take to transition to a non-clinical career. He takes you through five steps: introspection, exploration, preparation, acquisition, and transition. This book is GREAT for answering the more practical questions like “how will I make money?”
Physician Nonclinical Career Hunters
Facebook group with over 16k physician members, plenty of good posts about nonclinical jobs for MDs. This group is amazing and is actually where I found the Residency Drop Out book! Their mission (taken directly from the page): “To serve as a platform for purposeful conversation on different types of nonclinical careers and methods for navigating career transition.”
A Reflection on Why I Quit Residency
This post was written by another pediatrics resident who left residency. She provides an honest, well-written reflection on her relationship with the current state of medicine. So many of her realizations completely align with my own and I could not have communicated them as well as she did. I highly recommend giving it a read!
This blog post is a great place to start working through your thoughts. If you’re focused on finding that nonclinical career, the rest of the site provides TONS of additional resources about nonclinical careers, switching residencies, etc. For more transition stories, they have another awesome blog post.
The Darwinian Doctor
Blog post about a general surgery intern who left residency. It’s short and sweet, but provides some additional perspectives, including the comment section. The rest of his site is fascinating as well! To quote his description: “it’s about how a well paid yet indebted physician is using real estate to break free from ‘golden handcuffs.'”
“On leaving a competitive residency and burn out”
Awesome post by an MD who left a surgical residency and decided to complete a primary care residency a few years later. This post is very well-written and I think it’s valuable in that in shares the perspective of someone who regretted leaving residency the way they did.
Outside the Fold: Exploring Nonclinical Work Opportunities for Physicians
Technically written for attendings, but it was helpful for me to read other physicians’ stories. The bottom of the page has some good advice as well.
Should I Quit Residency subreddit
I created r/shouldiquitresidency to serve as a community where residents can ask questions and share experiences with each other. There isn’t much there now, but if you’d like to start a discussion, that’s what it’s there for!
Headspace Guide to Meditation
I’m sure many of you have your go-to apps and videos. If not, I highly recommend Headspace Guide to Meditation on Netflix. On a daily basis I would lay down on my couch and throw on an episode, it was a huge help.
Alan Watts – Guided Meditation (Awakening The Mind)
If you’re new to meditation, try Alan Watts – Guided Meditation (Awakening The Mind). This was the first guided meditation I found and I still use it to this day to remind myself what it’s all about. Pro tip: use headphones.
Affiliate policy: The links I provided for the books are Amazon affiliate links. That means I will get a small commission if you buy the book (there is no added cost to you). Having said that, I read both books and they were incredibly helpful in my own decision-making. In fact, one of the main reasons I built the site was to help residents find these books early in their process. Hosting this site isn’t free and I thought using a non-annoying (think banner ads) monetization process would be the best way to help pay for it! But if you don’t want to use the affiliate links, feel free to just search the books on Amazon and I won’t get any commission. I won’t be offended!