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.


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.


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



BMJ Careers on Retirement

Kevin MD Blog of retiring doctor


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‘Know thyself’ is as relevant now, as it was in ancient Greece.

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I recently ran a session for the Leicester Faculty of the RCGP for their First5 group. It was an evening session on a very cold and windy March night, but we had a full house. I used the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) to give attendees insight into their personal preferences about how they naturally interact with the world, plan and organise their lives, make decisions and cope with change. Whilst we had a lot of fun, it was really interesting to see how individuals came to terms with some pretty intrinsic truths about themselves and how these might affect their transition from training programme to independent practice.

When I attended the session I did not really know what to expect- but afterward I feel like I have got to know myself so much better…In the busy world that is general practice and with the increasing pressure it was a breath of fresh air to be able to take a step back and assess my personality not only professionally but also personally. I feel that I have the tools to deal with future tensions better and also to be able to recognise when that is also not the case.” GP Attendee.
Knowing thyself and managing yourself are so important in the challenging and pressurised environments Doctors function in. Taking time to read your emotions and review the affect you have on others is vital for your development, as well as fundamental to your leadership and management effectiveness.
But it’s not easy. Doing things that come naturally or are habit can be straightforward to you. But doing things that you find difficult or are outside of your comfort zone are a different matter. And when you have to do something like this then your internal battle is tough. Knowing yourself and finding ways to out manoeuvre the urge to avoid things that you have to do, is a powerful self management tool.

Building Self Awareness

You can access a whole host of tools that can help you to build self awareness such as MBTI, Emotional Intelligence, Hogan etc and these are very useful. However I think it’s your inner voice and the relationship you have with yourself that is the greatest indicator of affective self awareness. I’m re-reading Dr Steve Peter’s (Psychiatrist) The Chimp Paradox at the moment. It’s really helping me train for the 10k I’m doing in July as my urge to not run is strong! But the book is supporting me to develop a more honest and realistic relationship with myself about running. See more about The Chimp Paradox HERE. We can be thankful that for most of us our brain is developable at any stage of our lives, so we can keep learning about ourselves.

If you would like to talk over Coaching to build self awareness call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at

NB, Dr Steve Peters is now working with the England football squad, so that should test the model…

What to expect in your first year; managing your transition from training grade to GP or Consultant.

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 09.52.33“When I stepped through that CCT curtain, I expected so much. I’d worked so hard, for so long. I never expected my first year to be the start of another learning curve!” Secondary Care Consultant.

But it is. Your speciality training provides you with a structured pathway with identifiable goals and targets to meet, a supervisor as guide and mentor, and safety net for your clinical decisions. When you move away from that long-term structure, it is not replaced by anything equivalent. Its up to you and the team/department you are now working with.

And the surprising thing for many new consultants and GPs is that it’s the human element that is the biggest challenge. That is; negotiating your new role, a position within a team/hierarchy, developing allies, navigating the group dynamics and politics are all amplified when in it ‘permanently’.

So your performance and your sense of professional value is now associated with who you are and how you fit in, not just what you can do clinically.

Working with newly qualified GPs and Secondary Care doctors has given me a clear insight into what these first year challenges are, so I’ve designed a morning of practical tips and insights to help people anticipate and plan for this big change.

Designed specifically for those in their last 1-2yrs of training, those in their first 1-2yrs beyond CCT and for both primary and secondary care Doctors.

FLYER-what to expect the first year

25th September 2013, 9am to 1pm. The Phoenix Arts Centre, 4 Midland St, Leicester LE1 1TG. Cost £50 & includes breakfast.

Benefits of attendance:

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses in your team
  • Build a development plan to suit you
  • Develop your skills for networking / working in partnership
  • Working with management and managing others
  • Planning for the internal politics
  • Handling change and the impact on people

Call 0754 0593476 or email me on to reserve your place.