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  • How to ease into retirement?

    I am an employed surgical subspecialist practicing in a "hard to recruit" area. I am in my mid 40's and I am essentially FI. I think I will continue to work for another 5 to 10 years. I am unhappy with my current location and is looking for a change in the next few years.

    Ideally I would like to work part time with lots of time off when kids are out of school in the summer. But it seems to be unrealistic. I have been casually looking at various job boards and I have never seen a part time job in my specialty. Most the advertised jobs are trying to attract potential applicants with promise of getting busy and thus making lots of $ quickly, which is not what I am looking for at this stage of career.

    I'd also like to live/work in or near a major metro area in the future. Obviously I understand I will be making a lot less than what I am making now, which is OK with me.

    Any advice? Am I more likely to get what I want as employed physician at a hospital, or join a private practice single or multi-specialty group?

    Thanks

  • #2
    VA may be an option—sometimes they only have a part-time need for certain surgical subspecialists. We have plastics that works part time. I recently heard a VA near NYC is looking for FT vs PT Ortho major joint. If interested you can contact the VA where you want to be, find out who their chief of surgery is, and send them an email with your interest.

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    • #3
      Real problem. Most professional positions have not adapted to job sharing or partial workloads for new employees. Some county hospitals have a difficult time recruiting sub-specialties, they might cave on the requirement and be happy to have what you choose to offer (half a doctor is better than zero).

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      • #4
        Probably harder as surgical specialist. Willing to take equal call? If not then maybe could find a 50/50 (or whatever) job share with another doc.

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        • #5
          Have you considered locums?

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          • #6
            I think it's very doable in the right private practice. In my group for instance, if you are willing to make less money, you can work as little as you want (as long as you pay your overhead). I'm ortho. I have good friends, different groups, who are private urology and ENT in town and have a similar setup (ie could take as much time off as they want, sacrificing income to do so). There's another ortho group in town that functions similarly. And there's also a large multi-specialty private group that absolutely doesn't work that way, they're almost to the level where have to clock in and out each day. So long story short, you just have to find the right group. What's your speciality?

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            • #7
              I owned by own OB/GYN practice. I was able to go part-time and simply make less money starting around 50. I had a call sharing group and continued to take full call. I quit ob at 56 and completely retired at 62. By owning your own practice you can decide how much you work in the office as long as you can find some call coverage.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Eye3md View Post
                Have you considered locums?

                I don't think locum will work as I have kids at home.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by abds View Post
                  I think it's very doable in the right private practice. In my group for instance, if you are willing to make less money, you can work as little as you want (as long as you pay your overhead). I'm ortho. I have good friends, different groups, who are private urology and ENT in town and have a similar setup (ie could take as much time off as they want, sacrificing income to do so). There's another ortho group in town that functions similarly. And there's also a large multi-specialty private group that absolutely doesn't work that way, they're almost to the level where have to clock in and out each day. So long story short, you just have to find the right group. What's your speciality?
                  Vascular Surgery

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                  • #10
                    You say the area is hard to recruit. Can you negotiate a better version of your job where you are? They may view it as better than losing you all together.

                    Worst case you cannot and leave. The benefits of being FI

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                    • #11
                      The problem is that even if you can find someone who is desperate and will offer part time, they’ll still just stick a full-time number of patients into a part-time schedule.

                      If you work at the VA, like Anne suggested, I’d strongly consider being a contractor and getting paid per patient instead of by salary. That way, if they overbook your schedule, at least you’re getting compensated for it. Also consider a VA with residents or fellows, I find it a lot more fun to teach.

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                      • #12
                        I think that you just have to find a vascular surgeon that is too busy and wants to off load some of his/her routine work some months. The vascular surgeons that I work with seem over-worked and would be better off with some part time help rather then staying until 7-8 at night declotting our accesses or place new catheters. I would imagine that it would just take approaching a few groups and seeing if the full time people were willing to come up with some sort of arrangement where you could help out when you want to in exchange for them making money off your work in exchange for covering for your patients when you were not available. I think that there is a shortage of vascular surgery everywhere, especially as IR gets more and more busy, but maybe that's just my perception because people don't like to deal with my patients.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by childay View Post
                          Probably harder as surgical specialist. Willing to take equal call? If not then maybe could find a 50/50 (or whatever) job share with another doc.
                          Job share remains uncommon in medicine but it is the best solution. Understandably few institutions want to invest in a highly paid surgical subspecialist whose stated gol is to take a lot of time off. That's even a hard sell in psychiatry.

                          My coworker and I might job share in our mid 50s, but even in psych and even as the service line director, it is not going to be an easy sell to the C suite. Ironically our organization understands part time like 0.5 and 0.8 FTE but not true job share, which would probably be slightly better financially for us.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by FIREshrink View Post

                            Job share remains uncommon in medicine but it is the best solution. Understandably few institutions want to invest in a highly paid surgical subspecialist whose stated gol is to take a lot of time off. That's even a hard sell in psychiatry.

                            My coworker and I might job share in our mid 50s, but even in psych and even as the service line director, it is not going to be an easy sell to the C suite. Ironically our organization understands part time like 0.5 and 0.8 FTE but not true job share, which would probably be slightly better financially for us.
                            Is there a functional or financial difference between two docs dropping down to 0.5 FTE vs. doing a 50/50 job share?

                            Is part of the reason it’s a difficult sell because of the cost of benefits? In the case of retirement benefits the baby can be split without increasing the overall budget but I don’t see how health insurance coverage can be cut in half.

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                            • #15
                              I’m kinda in the same boat as you. Married with No kids so that has some different options.

                              I’ve approached corporate with the option of coming back to the area 1 week out of the month for er call and waiting to hear back.

                              otherwise I was going to do what the others suggested. Approach the local va and see if they want any part time coverage, approach hospitals/groups in the area we want to live about helping out call coverage/work as a pa/first assist, teach at a medical school, work locums.

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