Career Design

 
 
 

The road to becoming a practicing physician is a long and arduous one.  Unfortunately, it doesn't end when you become an attending.  Graduating from a residency or fellowship program allows you to practice your specialty; it doesn't provide you with a professional identity and plan for the future. 

 

 

That's where ALOE comes in.  

Competence

In our experience, a recurring stressor for physicians today is attempting to navigate the promotional and professional development pathway without a guide.  Why? Imagine summiting the most formidable mountain you've ever seen, only to discover that there are ever higher peaks ahead.  Even worse, your map ends here.  How do you move forward? Is it okay to take a break? When do you get to be the person you wanted to be when you grow up? 

 

ALOE helps by demystifying the process.  Through ALOE, each physician in a health care system has immediate access to the tools they need to envision and plan for their future, and to track their progress along the way.  

 

When you give highly functional people a map and a challenge, you'll be shocked by what they can accomplish.  

Here's an example of these functions in practice:

Dr. Henderson arrived. Or so she thought. She worked indefatigably throughout medical school to match into an excellent residency program in dermatology, and graduated with distinction one year ago.  She just walked out of her first annual performance review with her chair, and now has more questions about her future than she ever did before.  Her chair, attempting to be helpful, asked Dr. Henderson which promotional pathway she anticipates pursuing. Should Dr. Henderson prioritize her basic science research, or pursue her love of teaching? Should she apply for a fellowship in Mohs surgery now, while she's young, or spend a few more years in practice to see if she truly wants to subspecialize? 

 

Fortunately, Dr. Henderson's department has ALOE.  Dr. Henderson reaches into her pocket and opens her department's ALOE ChatBot.  She asks, "what are the pathways to promotion?".  Over the next 15 minutes, Dr. Henderson allows ALOE ChatBot to walk her through the promotional process at her institution, and the steps she would need to take to pursue each.  Next, she asks ChatBot to guide her through an activity to help her self-reflect on her interests and goals.  ALOE ChatBot dutifully responds by leading Dr. Henderson through an evidence-based survey designed to help her think deeply about her professional identity.  At the end of the survey, the ALOE ChatBot offers her guidance based upon her answers.  Armed with this new knowledge, Dr. Henderson then asks the ALOE ChatBot to help her find a mentor within her institution to help her further explore her ideas. 

Autonomy

When it comes to professional development, physicians need to know their options for promotion and growth, and, critically, they need to feel in control of the options they choose to pursue.   

The ALOE platform puts physicians in control of their own professional development by offering the tools they need to identify their goals and then track their progress toward meeting them.  

Here is an illustrative example:

Dr. Kappa finally made a decision.  After spending months debating whether to continue as a faculty member at a University hospital or to leave for private practice, he has decided to continue his career in academic medicine.  However, he has decided, simply practicing medicine in the academic setting is not enough to keep him satisfied long-term.  Instead, he has set a goal for himself to grow as a leader is his department.  After meeting with a mentor he matched with through ALOE, Dr. Kappa reviewed his CV and discovered that he will need to increase his research efforts and publish in the coming year to qualify for a leadership position. 

To get a sense of the ongoing efforts in his department, Dr. Kappa visited his department's ALOE forum and entered the Research discussion.  He read posts from his colleagues discussing their research projects and authored a post himself, stating his preliminary plans for a study and seeking help.  Within days, he connected with a colleague who needed help with data analysis on their project, and received a comment from a resident looking to help with his own.  

Now that he has started progress on his goal, Dr. Kappa returns to his ALOE Physician Dashboard where he listed his main goals of publishing two papers in the academic year, and the steps needed to accomplish each one.  Using his Dashboard, he can keep track of the work he has accomplished so far, and stay on top of the steps that he needs to complete to meet his long-term goal. 

Relatedness

At first glance, career design seems like an individual-level task.  However, if you are doing it right, you know that designing a satisfying career often requires help from many minds.  Thoughtfully designing technology to support this interaction can serve the dual purpose of increasing relatedness and helping physicians design their careers. 

Dr. Addas is an Assistant Professor at a major academic medical center.  While this isn't technically her first job out of training, it might as well be.  This is the first position she's taken in which she sees herself growing in her career long-term.  The problem is that she doesn't know how to start.  She knows that she will need to increase her non-clinical contributions to the department, such as educating their residents and conducting original research.  But, most days, just getting home in time to see her daughter before bedtime is enough of a challenge.  She's afraid to volunteer to help with research or for teaching assignments, because she is not sure she'd be able to follow through.  She just doesn't know how anyone does it!

Fortunately, her department uses ALOE.  Before she even reached out for help, she was contacted by an ALOE Peer Mentor.  Dr. Jones used ALOE's online learning platform to help her develop skills she uses to support her peers, and uses the ALOE Group Peer Mentoring structure to coordinate a longitudinal peer mentoring group for early career faculty in her department.  Dr. Jones' group has a secondary focus on being a parent to a young child while in academic medicine.  

Before she attends her first Peer Mentoring meet-up, Dr. Addas is instructed to complete a few self-paced modules through their ALOE ChatBot, which help her identify her areas of strength, growth, and passion, and teach her some core principles in peer mentoring.  After her first in-person meet-up, Dr. Addas joins the group's private forum on their department's ALOE platform.  By communicating on this forum, the group members are able to keep each other updated, offer each other support, and hold each other accountable.