As the baby boom generation nears retirement, there will be a flood of doctors left wondering what to do with their time. Some doctors will continue to work in practice and, although it is certainly rewarding to work hands-on with patients and new staff, after 30, 40, or 50 years in the business many start to explore other options.
The motivation that drives one to medicine often stays with them for the rest of their life. Altruism is a difficult thing to suppress and for this reason a lot of doctors feel unfulfilled with the traditional notions associated with retirement. Playing golf, fishing, relaxing by the beach, and reading are certainly well deserved rewards for years of hardship and sacrifice, but after time they may ring hollow. However, there are other options rather than returning to practice.
One popular option doctors can explore is to write a book. Writing can provide a new source of income, can be done at one’s leisure, is a good way to stay involved in the medical community, and is emotionally satisfying. There are two veins to explore when considering writing a book.
First, you can write a book on medical conditions that the public is interested in (autism is a big one right now). Cater the information to the public so it can be easily understood and address the topics they want to know about. For example, if you decide to write a book exploring autism you would want to include chapters on supposed causes, the effects of vaccines, mercury in vaccines, and glutin-free casein-free diets. Also, in this example, pairing up with a behavior therapist to include chapters on behavior modification would make the book even more appealing to readers.
You could also use your expert knowledge to write a guidebook for medical students and graduates. These guidebooks could cover such topics as enrolling in medical school, how to survive medical school, how to get in to the residency programs you want and how to apply for positions after graduation. Also, if you have niche knowledge in one specific area of focus consider writing a report or guide to pass that knowledge on to younger doctors. If you live near a medical school another idea would be to spend time coaching or tutoring struggling students.
All the knowledge and skills a doctor accumulates throughout their years in practice leads to an invaluable treasure trove of wisdom. Retirement is the perfect time to pass this information along to the public or to a younger generation of physicians.
Michael Woo-Ming is a physician-entrepreneur who blogs at IncomeMD.
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