ACEP members weigh in on how they got ready for retirement and how they’re spending their “leisure” time
In a recent letter to ACEP Now, an ACEP member raised some important questions about career transitions:
I am 66 years old and ready to retire, but I am not sure how to go about it.
I’ve had a great career so far. After working 12 years as a registered nurse (part of it in the Alaskan bush), my family (wonderful husband and three super kids) and I started medical school in 1986 (when I was 34). I was hooked by emergency medicine and decided to make it my life’s work. I did what so many had done—worked two and three jobs for years and years, taking every course I could until I could “grandfather” into becoming FACEP. I served a year as Washington ACEP’s President and two years as a national Councillor for ACEP. After working at a 45,000-per-year emergency department, I “semi-retired” after nearly 20 years and have worked in a rural,10,000-per-year emergency department over the last seven years.
How will life with my husband of 44 years look and how will my career look in retirement? Should I retire active for licensure? What should I do about my DEA? Once I close the door, so to speak, is it irrevocable? What would a “minimum practice” look like? It‘s a little daunting to give up my clinical “life,” so to speak. I know many of us baby-boomers face similar life decisions.
—Merry Alto, MD, FACEP
ACEP Now polled several retired and semi-retired ACEP members for their words of wisdom on how to transition from a full-time clinical career and how to keep doing what you love in retirement. Here are their tips.
First and foremost, during your formative practicing years, don’t neglect your family and health. Once you retire, your family often assumes primary focus. A lifelong exercise program will put you in great position to take full advantage of family and leisure time.
Second, actively engage in professional activities outside of clinical practice. Emergency physicians have demonstrated that they have all the right attributes in fields as diverse as hospital administration, entrepreneurship, and quality assurance. Seek out administrative opportunities within your ED practice that will allow professional growth as your clinical activities wind down.
—Jeffrey Bettinger, MD, FACEP
Bettinger, Stimler & Associates, LLC