The 4 steps to retirement

How do you know when it’s time to stop work and make a graceful exit from your cardiology practice? Victorian cardiologist Michael Jelinek gave CSANZ ASM delegates some top tips based on his own experience and knowledge gained from Professor Bruce Waxman, a colorectal surgeon and expert on the issue of physician retirement. 

Four steps to retirement:

Step 1: Recognise that you as past your professional peak

Step 2: Understand why things have changed: diminished referrals, possible adverse events, poorer health and cognitive decline. 

Step 3: Plan for a phased withdrawal by decreasing both the volume and complexity of work; abolish on-call

Step 4: Take on a new view of the world by caring for yourself,  family and colleagues. Share workload and tasks and consider working in a group practice. Think about succession planning and empower younger colleagues. 

Dr Jelinek told delegates that it was also a good idea to also think about alternative career opportunities such as teaching, research, coaching or medico-legal work. 

Dr Michael Jelinek is a former director of cardiology at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, and was president of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand from 1998 to 2000. 

He semi-retired from practice in 2011 after his health deteriorated. 

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