Doctors in Retirement

Check this out.  What you will see are the musings of a retired physician. But the paragraphs here are less important than the thought process that they can start. A mental path I have not previously traversed. More specifically, “What happens when a doctor retires?”  

Imagine for a moment the psychological impact of a physician’s retirement. Years of training and study put on the shelf, never to be consulted again. Social interactions with patients and colleagues gone for good. Time to recuperate from years of increasing burnout.

On Hilton Head Island, SC, a caring physician, now deceased, figured out a way to channel the possibilities here. Way back in 1994, Dr.  Jack McConnell realized that there were two very different groups on HHI. One was a rather large cadre of physicians, dentists, nurses and pharmacists who were retired on the Island, and bored out of their minds. The second was a rather large group, amazingly one out of every three people on the Island, who were too poor to have access to medical care.

Light bulb. He founded Volunteers in Medicine. VIM. An opportunity for retired practitioners to serve this population, part time, amazingly in an environment where licensure and malpractice insurance are defined out of the equation. It is now a national organization. Find out about it here.

Bottom Line. Retirement for anyone is a profound rite of passage. For a physician, even more so. America’s doctors have been our customers throughout their, and our, entire careers. Is there a way we can help them to deal with hanging up their stethoscopes?  

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