2019 December Issue of FOCUS

Posted Dec 31, 2019

Editorial – W James Fenton

Retirement is the major theme of this issue of FOCUS. Retirement has many issues to be considered, more than we could hope to cover in this issue. Many of the issues are very personal and family related in nature. Many vary depending on location (e.g. cost of housing and living, presence of conscience protection or not). If an employee, there is likely a pension plan – if private practice you have to provide for your retirement income.

Four articles are personal journey stories (Drs. Clark, Gagnon, Watts, Fenton), with many different things to be learned from each. All saw their professional life as a “calling”, not just as career or work (see Lorne Robinson’s article that pursues this concept). All enjoyed their work with patients and colleagues. Carolyn Watts is not primarily writing about retirement, but her story includes early retirement due to ill health. Her article has much wisdom for all of us – professionals early in their career should pay particular attention! Linda Gagnon writes clearly about the high stress many physicians are experiencing today and the fear of complaints to the provincial College that may be generated by lack of conscience protection.

Drs. Vincent and Fenton both refer to Dr. Wilder Penfield’s essay “The Second Career” (also the name of a book of his essays). We were unable to get permission to reprint the essay in FOCUS. If you can find the essay or the book on-line or in a library, it is good advice.

The issue of what to do with old patient records is raised by Dr. Gagnon. This is a very important issue. Storing old records in your basement is no longer acceptable. Issues may vary province to province, so check with your local medical association, local College, and the CMPA to ensure proper compliance with current regulations.

The cover photo shows a road heading towards a grand mountain – but note there is a curve in the distance and where it leads is not apparent. My experience of God’s leading over my years as a physician is that an opportunity or path is presented and common sense assessment and prayer suggests a way forward though there may be many uncertainties. As the path is followed, there comes the certainty that it is God’s leading. Inevitably, there are curves to be followed and fresh leading for the new direction is provided.

Some words for living and travelling your path well (1 Peter 1: 17b & 15, 16 from The Message):

Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God … let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”