I asked my age-matched colleague the other day: “Do you think we’ll know when it happens to us?” He responded: “I know. I worry about that, too…a lot. I’m getting out before it happens to me.”
We were talking about our fears of being labeled as an “old” doctor. Not just old in years — our children and bifocals remind of us of that — but old in our mindset. We fear becoming one of the dinosaur doctors who get known for their excessive attachment to old dogma, premature dismissiveness of novel new approaches, fear of social media, and of course the tell-tail (pathognomonic) sign of agedness, ranting mindlessly in front of Fox news about healthcare reform in the doctor’s lounge.
This transition can happen fast. One moment a doctor might be in their sweet spot — a period of time where the nearness of training meets with the treasure of experience in a capable mind, body and spirit. Sadly, and obviously this period is finite. It’s limited by aging. Getting older happens to all of us, but the pertinent fact for medical practice is that, like all humans, doctors age at different velocities. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*