Is there life after practice?
This admittedly, is one of the biggest issues facing today’s physicians and other professionals. Let’s face it: anybody who has been in a private practice or a healthcare career ten years or more will tell you, almost invariably, that their perception of practice and their personal role in it has changed dramatically over what it once was even a few short years ago.
Some of this naturally is just a shift in various attitudes as we age, but in my opinion some of this also is deeply rooted in the numerous challenges that we are faced with, with ever increasing frequency.
It wasn’t that long ago that physicians, indeed most professionals, chose one career pathway, and simply stayed on that very same path for forty years or more. Some just retired from work entirely.
And no doubt, some of you reading this right now have never even thought about retirement or a life after work or practice. Perhaps you are new to this, and the concept of doing something totally different with your life seems very distant, not necessarily a priority.
But the fact of the matter is most physicians are 35 years old or more before they even start to glimpse financial security. Many of us are now, or will be even older than 40, by the time we reach that same point due to the rising price of education, not to mention costs associated with starting a private practice.
For most of us, the years spent from 30 to 45 or 50 are spent raising families, as well as paying down physical, emotional, and financial debt that’s left over from early in our careers.
Now add to these unforeseen circumstances such as those associated with work, living the lifestyle you and your significant others imagined as students, the natural physical and emotional changes of getting older, a significant illness or disability of yourself, spouse or close family member, unforeseen divorce, and the ever-evolving practice landscape…
I call this collection of life circumstances we face simply, the “changes”.
For me, making the decision to retire in my early 50’s or continue on was a big one. But I have always lived my life so I had that choice!
And I chose to dig in even deeper into Medicine after 50 with research, teaching and then entered Med School and now in Residency, working harder than ever.
What has made “the changes” much easier for me is I always knew thanks to great physicians and mentors in private practice my life design can and will continue to be whatever I WANT, especially my next phase with direct primary care…and this I believe this the best reason of all to practice direct care.
The more we can teach younger residents and physicians that there are real choices as we face our “changes” the better medicine for both physicians and patients will become.
There’s never been a better time to take your practice to the next level.
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