Humans in Healthcare #40: Medicine to entrepreneurship

How one PA moved past self limiting beliefs to go beyond medicine and step into entrepreneurship

Hi friend, Amy here, your authentically honest full-stop human, community builder, and creator of Humans in Healthcare, sharing the stories and experiences of healthcare professionals, patients, and caregivers. Today’s chapter is part of my clinician creator series where I highlight clinicians building newsletters, podcasts, products, services, and beyond. Are you a clinician creator and want to be listed in my creator database? Complete your application below.

Today, I’m sharing Kate Martino’s entrepreneurship story. Kate is a physician assistant who left clinical practice in pursuit of more flexibility. She now offers healthy lifestyle coaching with a special focus on healthy eating and meal planning, to help others be more consistent and organized, and feel less stressed through busy weeks. Be sure to click on the link below to learn more about Kate’s services. Humans in Healthcare subscribers receive $50 off their first coaching session!

Below, Kate shares her path from medicine to coaching and what she’s learned along the way.

Kate, what prompted you to become a PA and what was that experience like?

I decided to pursue a PA career to help people prevent chronic disease. I worked as a nurse aide on a medical/surgical floor at a local hospital while in undergrad. This was my first exposure to chronic disease care. I’d leave my shifts deeply affected by the impact of chronic disease progression, the patient suffering, and the ripple effect on their families. I went home and researched how to prevent various conditions after work, and learned that most chronic diseases are preventable through the same basic diet and lifestyle habits. This was right before social media when health, wellness, and prevention weren’t very popular. The experience ignited my passion to incorporate more education, lifestyle, and preventive habits to medical care. 

Throughout my PA program, I was surprised by how little we learned about nutrition, prevention, and root causes of chronic conditions. I enjoyed learning about medicine, but as I got deeper into the program and rotations, I felt like I wasn’t finding where my interests and passion fit in.

💡 Fun fact: medical professionals receive less than 20 hours of education regarding nutrition [soure]

Why did you find yourself wanting to transition out of clinical practice and what challenges did you experience as you processed through that?

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and been very interested in medicine, so naturally I’ve identified problems to solve in my own way. I started thinking about transitioning out of clinical practice in my first year working as a PA. It felt too rigid and limiting and I thought I’d have more autonomy to practice the way that I wanted to. The rushed and overbooked schedule was depleting for me, and I felt the business of medicine took away from the quality and personalized care I wanted to offer. 

Being interested in a career beyond clinical practice was only the first step. It took me a decade to conceptualize what I wanted to offer through a lot of trial and error and work through my own limiting beliefs. I experienced guilt from wanting to ‘give up’ a profession I’d invested so much time and money into, shame that the PA career didn’t work out for me as expected and imposter syndrome transitioning into a field I had no experience in (blogging and business).

What led you to entrepreneurship and what has helped you learn about entrepreneurship?

Burnout is what ultimately led me to transition out of clinical practice to put more energy into growing my own business. Early in the process, I took an online business course that taught the basics. Personally, there’s been a lot of self-guided learning and trial and error. 

What are you working on now and why are you passionate about it?

Currently, I offer lifestyle coaching with a focus on nutrition. I love good food, living well, and optimizing health, so I’m able to incorporate all three into my work. I can also express my creativity through my website and fun digital product design.

My mission is to help others eat well consistently, without feeling like a relentless chore. I’ve developed an approach to meal planning to support my own success and consistency. It lightens the mental load of managing meals each week and revolves around simple but flavorful and satisfying meals. I guide clients through healthy meal planning, providing a lot of personalized support and recipe ideas. It simplifies the process and helps people feel organized, enjoy satisfying meals, and save time throughout the week.

What has been the hardest and most rewarding part of entrepreneurship including anything unique or specific to clinicians?

To me, one of the most challenging, yet also rewarding, parts of entrepreneurship is freedom. As a clinician you have a structured educational path, then in clinical practice, you have an ordered approach to patient visits and treatment protocols to guide your decisions. This structure has helped me realize that a solid foundation of knowledge and systems supports success. And that applies to starting and growing a business, as well as being consistent with healthy habits. I’ve spent the most time establishing a solid foundation to grow from and help others establish a foundation to support consistent habits. This can be challenging in itself because you don’t always have anything to ‘show’ for all the work you put into it, and it’s not immediately profitable work either. 

What is your call to courage for any healthcare professional who is thinking about entrepreneurship?

I think courage continues to grow as we stretch our comfort zone, so my advice would be to make the entry point as approachable as possible. There’s so much pressure in the entrepreneurial space to take big leaps, which can make starting feel more daunting. 

Before you dive in, be clear on exactly who you want to help and what you want to offer, and stay true to your vision. I’ve personally found that having more clarity has boosted my confidence. When I first started my blog, my focus was broad on health and wellness. It was only when I got more specific on how I wanted to help people improve their health and well-being, that I felt more comfortable putting myself out there. 

Thank you for sharing your story Kate!

In humanity,


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