How can Doctors make the transition to retirement smoothly?

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I recently ran an evening session for the Leicester Faculty of the RCGP for GPs on the cusp of retiring. Thought it would be useful to post some of the information we used here and see what other ideas people have about retiring. Feel free to post at the bottom.

The two most important aspects of the session were understanding the emotions connected with retiring and putting together a plan for the change.

Emotions

I think the most powerful aspect of the session for many of the attendees was coming together with those in a similar position to talk over hopes and fears. Here are some of the issues people highlighted:

  • Feelings of guilt, loss and grief at leaving the practice.
  • Uncertainty about plans, options and what else they could do.
  • Fatigue re; current workload, ability to ease off or move to part time.
  • Managing other’s expectations – partners at work, home and patients.

The structure we used to understand the process surrounding this significant change is the Bridges Transition Model.

This model helps guide people through change and is different to the Change Curve. The point being that the change itself is not what people are mostly dealing with; it’s their internal response to the change.

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As the images shows, different people (orange arrows) will travel through the transition at different speeds and will stay in the zones for different periods of time.

Attendees found this a useful way of understanding where they are currently with their feelings about retirement and it legitimized those emotions.

Email me for more information on this. alexishutson@yahoo.com

Planning

The general discussion and one to one Thinking Pairs was a great way for people to share their plans and ideas. Hearing others and talking through ideas helped sharpen objectives.

We used a planning sheet with the following questions to support the planning process:

  • When is your change date?
  • What is your vision, desired rewards of retirement?
  • Where are you in the Transition Model?
  • What do you need to start doing now?
  • What do you need to leave behind / stop doing?
  • Who can help you?

Planning ahead can never start too early for retirement it seems. That’s obviously true for the finances, but is also equally true for the lifestyle decisions. Setting your pace, activities, timings, managing relationships and how you may still want to contribute are crucial to how successful your retirement will be.

If you would like to talk over your retirement, call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com

 

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this, Alexis. It sounds like an excellent evening. I have also run some ‘thinking about retirement’ workshops and sessions for doctors in the past. Many people think about their pension and financial needs for retirement but few consider the emotional aspects. I like your model very much. Keep up the great work!

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  2. I’m a great fan of the Bridges transition model and really like the way you used it in this session Alexis!

    Important topic – there is so much up-talking in the workplace when people approach retirement, “bet you can’t wait to leave all this behind”, “you’ll enjoy doing all the things you’ve not had time for here” – when for the person letting go it can be a scary, fearful place, And when doctors face not being practising doctors, that is a big role transition to deal with. Well done for helping your group to share in a safe and constructive way.

    Lot of voluntary severance schemes about at the moment. I suspect some have rushed at the opportunity but perhaps unprepared for the vacuum.

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