Alexis Hutson

Coaching doctors Development workshops

Retiring Doctors

07 July 2014

How can Doctors make the transition to retirement smoothly?

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 09.02.17 I recently ran an evening session for the Leicester Faculty of the RCGP for GPs on the cusp of retiring. Thought it would be useful to post some of the information we used here and see what other ideas people have about retiring. Feel free to post at the bottom. The two most important aspects of the session were understanding the emotions connected with retiring and putting together a plan for the change. Emotions I think the most powerful aspect of the session for many of the attendees was coming together with those in a similar position to talk over hopes and fears. Here are some of the issues people highlighted:
  • Feelings of guilt, loss and grief at leaving the practice.
  • Uncertainty about plans, options and what else they could do.
  • Fatigue re; current workload, ability to ease off or move to part time.
  • Managing other’s expectations – partners at work, home and patients.
The structure we used to understand the process surrounding this significant change is the Bridges Transition Model. This model helps guide people through change and is different to the Change Curve. The point being that the change itself is not what people are mostly dealing with; it’s their internal response to the change. Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 08.07.33   As the images shows, different people (orange arrows) will travel through the transition at different speeds and will stay in the zones for different periods of time. Attendees found this a useful way of understanding where they are currently with their feelings about retirement and it legitimized those emotions. Email me for more information on this. Planning The general discussion and one to one Thinking Pairs was a great way for people to share their plans and ideas. Hearing others and talking through ideas helped sharpen objectives. We used a planning sheet with the following questions to support the planning process:
  • When is your change date?
  • What is your vision, desired rewards of retirement?
  • Where are you in the Transition Model?
  • What do you need to start doing now?
  • What do you need to leave behind / stop doing?
  • Who can help you?
Planning ahead can never start too early for retirement it seems. That’s obviously true for the finances, but is also equally true for the lifestyle decisions. Setting your pace, activities, timings, managing relationships and how you may still want to contribute are crucial to how successful your retirement will be.

If you would like to talk over your retirement, call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at

  Articles  BMJ Careers on Retirement Kevin MD Blog of retiring doctor   Subscribe to these blogs..