You’ve been actively practicing for many years. You’ve watched contemporaries retire, sell their practices, or begin to transition. The last twelve months were challenging for you. You believe that this might be the right time for you to move into a different life stage, yet you aren’t sure. How do you know when it’s time to move on?
Listed below – in no particular order – are five areas to reflect on as you make this important decision. If your response to all of the statements is affirmative, it just might be time to follow your heart.
- “I don’t enjoy it anymore.”
Is your role taking more energy from you than it’s providing? Has the excitement of your professional and clinical activity faded? If you find yourself simply not enjoying your interaction with patients, staff, and peers, it may be time for a change.
- “I have enough.”
Have you recently taken a thorough and formal look at your personal financial profile? If applicable, have your partners done the same? When leaving active practice, it’s important to be sure that “after tax” sales proceeds, retirement savings and other liquidity, along with alternative income sources, will adequately cover lifestyle costs and family needs for your remaining life.
- “I know what I will do with my time in the weeks and months after.”
What will you do with your time? You’ve lived for years with the structure of a loaded schedule. How will you spend your time when not professionally practicing? Maybe you answered this question long ago. Even if so, ask yourself again. Make sure that you are ready for life on the other side of “professionally busy.” Consider psychological needs for such things as intellectual stimulation, comradery, social interaction, relevance and sense of purpose.
- “My patients have a place.”
Where will your patients go? You know them and you care about them. They have depended on you. Whether retiring, selling, changing clinical employers, or some combination of the above, knowing your patients are well taken care of will make the transition easier.
- “Those around me are ready.”
Are others in your life ready for your life change? This might be family you will re-acquaint yourself with, travel with, or simply relax beside. It could be professional successors you will hand responsibility to. It may be partners in your practice. It could be your Saturday morning foursome. Your decision will impact them, and their relative readiness to be with you on your journey will make a difference in how smoothly your exit goes.
There are obviously many other things to consider when making important life decisions such as the one contemplated here. To ensure you make a best one, surround yourself with credible and trustworthy personal and professional advisors who will question, assist, and support you.
If you are contemplating a change in, or with, your practice and feel that you need support in decision making, please reach out. I would be happy to talk with you about your priorities and potential plans.
Jerry L. Kelsheimer is President of Medic Management Group and MMG Healthcare Solutions. His background includes extensive work in areas including leadership development, strategic planning, process improvement, and capital markets / financial management. MMG is a national provider of advisory and consulting competencies, transaction support services, and back office administrative support to independent and system owned physician practice groups.