The transition from trainee to career clinician-scientist can be a stressful and challenging time, particularly for those entering the less established role of nonphysician clinician-scientist. These individuals are typically PhD-prepared clinicians in the allied health professions, who have either a formal or informal joint appointment between a clinical institution and an academic or research institution. The often poorly defined boundaries and expectations of these developing roles can pose additional challenges for the trainee-to-career transition.
It is important for these trainees to consider what they want and need in a position in order to be successful, productive, and fulfilled in both their professional and personal lives. It is also critical for potential employers, whether academic or clinical (or a combination of both), to be fully aware of the supports and tools necessary to recruit and retain new nonphysician clinician-scientists. Issues of relevance to the trainee and the employer include finding and negotiating a position; the importance of mentorship; the value of effective time management, particularly managing clinical and academic time commitments; and achieving work-life balance.
Attention to these issues, by both the trainee and those in a position to hire them, will facilitate a smooth transition to the nonphysician clinician-scientist role and ultimately contribute to individual and organizational success.