Staying involved with urology later in your career

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"At some point, it will make sense, and it will be obvious to me and to my colleagues that it is time," a urologist writes.

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"Letting go is not necessary if you can and want to perform whatever responsibilities you set up for yourself at a level at least equal to your peers," a urologist writes.

This is written from the standpoint of a prior tenured professor, division chief, and program director at a prestigious academic US (regulations in Europe and elsewhere are quite different) institution, a prior surgeon scientist who had a large office and surgical practice, and who has always been very involved in multiple intramural and extramural activities. Someone coming from an “eat only what you kill” environment, whether true private practice, hospital employed, or venture capital owned, may have quite different views about what I call “staying involved” in certain activities, particularly those enjoyed and through which can be derived a sense of contribution and appreciation.

Letting go is not necessary IF

  • You can and want to perform whatever responsibilities you set up for yourself at a level at least equal to your peers. In my case, these would involve activities listed below.
  • You enjoy what you do, meaning:
  1. You are able to do what you enjoy most about urology and eliminate (most of) those items that you disliked the most.
  2. You are capable of adhering to a schedule that enables you to complete all of your work-related responsibilities and still allows you ample time for other pursuits and family.
  3. You keep up and are capable of keeping up with an understanding of “general urology” (for example, guidelines for practice) and of keeping conversant with the latest developments in whatever your particular field(s) of interest (if any) were.

In my case, the activities would consist of

  1. Part-time affiliation with an academic center, to include:
  2. Limited patient care as a general office-only urologist, seeing new and follow-up patients, no procedures, appropriately treating patients in the office and triaging them to the appropriate colleague when more specialized or procedural care is necessary
  3. Teaching and mentoring medical students, residents, fellows, and junior staff (when requested), intramural conference participation
  4. Maintaining extramural editorial responsibilities as editor in chief, associate editorships, or as reviewer
  5. Hopefully, receiving a feeling of appreciation, value, and support from the institution faculty, students, and house staff for efforts put forth on their behalf.

As long as this continues with the above being satisfied, it does not makes sense, at least for me, to entirely “let go” of something I have enjoyed for the better part of my life. At some point, it will make sense, and it will be obvious to me and to my colleagues that it is time.

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