Elderly doctors are considering retirement but find it difficult to step away from their practice. This hesitation is due to concerns like financial security or workplace frustration. It is tough to finally retire because they know their services are still needed. There is a genuine concern for their patients’ welfare and what happens to their patients when they retire. A review by the Human Resources for Health found that many doctors expect to retire at sixty — yet a disproportionate population of doctors from all over the world retire beyond that age. An analysis of this phenomenon is mirrored in an article published by the Medical Journal of Australia stating that some doctors consider the centrality of work and feel responsible for their patients. If a replacement cannot be found, this becomes another consideration for retiring doctors.
Responsibility for their Patients
Nowadays, the nature of the industry inherently builds more complex relationships between patient and practitioner. There is a deeply rooted sense of purpose shared by many healthcare providers beyond their individual pursuit of success. Years of immersion often build a strong shared sense of accountability for people in the communities that these physicians serve. This transcends transactional interactions and suggests deeper levels of involvement.
Another contributor to delayed retirement is the fact that doctors spend so much time in school just to qualify for practice. Those at the pinnacle of their career tend to stay longer and feel like they’re not ready to retire because of the time they have spent in study and specializations. Many believe they started their careers later than others and that they have to retire late too.
Mentorship as a Solution
Given these reasons for delayed retirement, what can institutions and the doctors themselves do to cope? The same research report detailed the importance of balancing retirement and waiting for the next generation of physicians. Key areas where institutions and physicians can collaborate is via medical mentorship programs which encourage direct involvement in medical education. Similarly, emphasis must be given for transitory systems within medical institutions. These practices ensure that retiring physicians have a peer qualified to handle their workload once they retire.
Seek Advice from Loved Ones and Professionals
On the individual level, there is no easy way to deal with the worries they face when considering retirement. The most that one can do is to take it one day at a time and to keep communicate with their financial advisor, colleagues, family, and even consider seeking help from a certified retirement counselor.