At the end of December, I was sending this letter to my patients, telling them I am retiring. In an effort to try to give a bit of closure, and to thank my patients, and to wish them well, I felt impelled to get this into the mail. It surprises me how few doctors actually "take leave" of the patients in a personal goodbye. I believe when we have developed a doctor-patient relationship, I owe them this. So here it is, and maybe someone reading it will comment, build a better one, or use it for their own patients.
To my dear patients:
I would never find a good time for retiring, for saying goodbye. As you probably have heard me say, I have been having a very hard time keeping up with the computer, with the details which are needing attention, with having enough patience with all the things we need to do, so that your care is as good as it can be. I will miss you all, but I know that it is time for me to let younger and more energetic doctors do this job. I have been tired, and I don’t think I am as quick-witted as I used to be! I am grateful that I do not have a life-threatening illness, or a big huge new stressor. I feel glad that I can try to give more of my attention to my own family now, and to enjoy some time being healthy! My retirement will begin January 31, 2015.
I want to believe that you are taking good care of yourself, doing your daily exercise, eating right, and not letting yourself be bullied. I want your children to grow up smart and strong, and for your life and your relationships to be healthy and happy! I am hoping that the next doctor you see really does engage you as a caring provider! I think the younger doctors will have an easier time with the computer than I do, and that will make it easier to keep up the charting.
I believe the next big frontier in medicine is the mind; and it is coming to pass, that more attention will be given to how to help people stay more mentally healthy as we age. I envy the younger doctors who will have better tools for helping people to stay strong and healthy, and also probably have less guess-work.
The kind of private practice which we have here at Harbor Medical Group has had some very hard stresses; as the majority of doctors move into bigger corporate practices. We have tried to be flexible and to be accessible to our patients; but the costs of delivery of care are rising, and it has been a big stress for us to try to juggle this problem, too.
If you need your records to be sent to another doctor, please send a signed record release form. If you have received routine Obstetric or Gynecologic care, unless you have had an ongoing problem or need your pathology report from a previous surgery, your next doctor may not need these records.
I do not think it is easy to form a healthy doctor-patient relationship, and so I hope you will have patience with your next doctor, to try to teach them how to do it! Because I know it is a relationship which is precious and worth having, and it DOES make a difference in getting the best care.
I thank you for your love and support, and kindness, and loyalty to me. As I said, it would never be easy, or the right time to say goodbye.
With love and hope for all of our futures,
Martina Nicholson MD, FACOG
P.S. I will stop by and check once in awhile, so if you have a photo of your baby, or want to drop me a note about how you are doing, please do.