According to a recently published survey by Medscape, roughly 40 percent of radiologists and other physicians have side jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. These second gigs allow physicians to create an additional income stream or pursue a creative passion project. More than 2,500 United States physicians were surveyed about their jobs, how much they are currently earning, and what they hope to achieve in the future.

Partly due to the COVID-19 income-related loss, more doctors and medical professionals began looking for side gigs. Roughly one in four doctors have a side job in 2021, though the interest in a second job began rising throughout 2020. Nearly 45 percent of those surveyed who picked up a side job during the past year cited pandemic-related hardships.

David I. Beran, DO, emergency physician and writer, said, “I have seen physicians pursue side gigs more and more in recent years. Sometimes they are clinical jobs (moonlighting), sometimes they are not clinical but medical (file review or expert witnessing), and sometimes they are neither (business, investing, real estate, etc.).”

About twice as many men in the medical field have a second job (65 percent) than women (33 percent). Nisha Mehta, MD, a radiologist, founded Physician Side Gigs, a Facebook group with over 80,000 verified physicians interested in pursuing creative ventures or different revenue sources. The group regularly discusses jobs, business skills, financial topics, life in medicine, and physician burnout.

Mehta said, “The data are actually very encouraging when you consider antiquated stereotypes of male and female physicians. To me, it states that despite the challenges that female physicians traditionally face in finding the bandwidth to balance work, family and a side gig … women physicians are finding innovative ways to create fulfillment and flexibility in their careers.”

Between March and May, when the survey was conducted, approximately 75 radiologists were included. Of those, roughly 37 percent said they are working a side job compared to 63 percent who are not. Medical activities such as consulting, expert testimony, chart reviews, and moonlighting are popular alternatives.

Mehta said, “In a healthcare landscape that’s increasingly challenging, the side gig offers physicians an opportunity to do something on their own terms as well as use a different part of their brains. This leads to new skill sets, networks and mental breaks from the stress of their day jobs, all of which can be tremendously fulfilling and ultimately counter burnout.”

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: