Characteristics of doctors transitioning to a non-clinical role in the MABEL study

N Vaswani, H Eyre, W C Wang, C Joyce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Objective: To investigate the characteristics and satisfaction of medical doctors transitioning from a clinical into an entirely non-clinical role. Design and setting: Wave 1 to Wave 5 data from 2008-2012 in the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) longitudinal, population based survey were analysed.Participants: Medical doctors including general practitioners (GPs), specialists, specialists in training(SIT) and hospital non-specialists (HNS). Hospital nonspecialists represent doctors working in a hospital who were not enrolled in a specialty training program. The total number of participants surveyed across the 5 waves was 15,195 doctors.Main outcome measures: The number of medical doctors making the transition from a clinical role to a nonclinical role from one wave of data to the subsequent wave of data. Individuals who responded ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Are you currently doing any clinical medical work in Australia?’ were defined as working in a clinical role. Individuals who stated that they were ‘Doing medical work in Australia that is non-clinical’ were defined as working in a completely non-clinical role.Each doctor’s characteristics while partaking in clinical work prior to making the change to a non-clinical role were noted.Results: Over 5 years, there were a total of 498 individuals who made the transition from a clinical role to a completely non-clinical role out of a possible 15,195 doctors. Increasing age was the strongest predictor for transition to a non-clinical role. With regards to doctor type, specialists, hospital non-specialists and specialists in-training were more likely to make the transition to a totally non-clinical role compared to GPs. There was minimal evidence of a relationship between lower job satisfaction and making a transition, and also between higher life satisfaction and making a transition.Conclusions: Understanding the characteristics of, and reasons for non-clinical career transition are important for workforce training, planning and development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Health Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Non-clinical
  • workforce
  • medicine
  • transition
  • doctors

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