Letter to the Editor
Rani Kumar, MD, brings up some very good points about older emergency physicians who want to slow down but still have years of experience behind them and a few more good years ahead. (“Emergency Medicine's Four-Letter Word: Retirement.” EMN eNews 2012 Nov 15; http://bit.ly/TOOuAP.)
But this not only affects emergency physicians but many surgeons and other specialists, too. It is difficult for many physicians to find part-time work unless they are willing to travel and do locum tenens. Often we see physicians working longer and harder than they would like or retiring completely. Where is the happy medium?
I was fortunate to be able to continue longer in emergency medicine by splitting a position with another emergency physician in similar circumstances. We each worked half of the usual 12-hour shift. We were able to have productivity equal to the regular full-time docs but had much more time off and an easier daily workload. Fortunately, our partners were happy to have us stay on in this capacity.
It seems there is much wasted talent in physicians who retire completely when they would prefer to work part-time if that were an option. We read that there is a physician shortage in this country. If we provided an avenue for retired physicians to continue working fewer and shorter shifts, we might tap into this unused and wasted talent.
Gerald Geiszler, MD
Great Falls, MT