Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

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X528
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Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by X528 »

Age discrimination in tech employment (sales, management, retail. software, IT, engineering, etc.) as one gets older (over aged 40 or 50) seems to be an issue that many people can face.

I was wondering if age discrimination as one gets older working in the medical professions, like physician, nurse, physician assistant, and related health career fields, was a real problem? Have any doctors, nurses, etc., here on BH.org ever had problems getting hired, or remaining employed, due to their age?

Due to the high barrier to entry (education and licensing requirements), inability to foreign outsource and scarcity, I would think that this would not be an issue, but I could be wrong.
The Wizard
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by The Wizard »

How does this impact you personally?
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X528
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by X528 »

The Wizard wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:17 pm How does this impact you personally?
I was thinking of going into a medical profession.
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by The Wizard »

X528 wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:21 pm
The Wizard wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:17 pm How does this impact you personally?
I was thinking of going into a medical profession.
Sounds like an excellent reason to me!
My gut feeling, based on family members, is that age discrimination is not a big issue in that area...
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ralph124cf
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by ralph124cf »

I discriminate against older doctors.

I don't want to spend years getting to know a doctor, and having him get to know me, and then have him die or retire. I have had that happen several times already.

Ralph
tenkuky
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by tenkuky »

The greater concern is early separation from the medical field due to burnout.
Lots more wellness initiatives to combat this and younger generation is seeking more work-life balance.
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Raymond
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by Raymond »

X528 wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:21 pm
The Wizard wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:17 pm How does this impact you personally?
I was thinking of going into a medical profession.
I'm in my mid-50s, and have been a PA for almost twenty-five years (second career, I was an Air Force officer before that.)

I've not had an issue with my age and finding employment, but I'm working part-time now by choice, thanks to the Bogleheads :happy

How old are you now? If you're 35+ years old and making a career change, you will be putting in some serious hours in training over many years, especially if you're thinking about an MD or DO program.
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X528
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by X528 »

Raymond wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:42 pm
X528 wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:21 pm
The Wizard wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:17 pm How does this impact you personally?
I was thinking of going into a medical profession.
I'm in my mid-50s, and have been a PA for almost twenty-five years (second career, I was an Air Force officer before that.)

I've not had an issue with my age and finding employment, but I'm working part-time now by choice, thanks to the Bogleheads :happy

How old are you now? If you're 35+ years old and making a career change, you will be putting in some serious hours in training over many years, especially if you're thinking about an MD or DO program.
I was thinking about becoming a physician assistant (PA).
jbmitt
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by jbmitt »

I think the quality of your medical training, residency, and desire of where to practice are driving factors. A speciality with a lower barrier to entry like family medicine as opposed to a sub-specialist might be a more appropriate avenue.

Interestingly, some patients prefer older doctors because they don't believe younger doctors have sufficient experience... training etc. It can be especially problematic for younger female physicians. My spouse has been questioned several times, despite being mid 30's and having had her MD for 10+ years. Don't get me started with the patients who associate females with nurses, and males with doctors. There are plenty of female doctors, and male nurses.
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Raymond
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by Raymond »

X528 wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:53 pm I was thinking about becoming a physician assistant (PA).
Have you volunteered at a health care facility? Have you spoken with or shadowed PAs at their workplaces?

Do you know if you can stomach the situations, sights and smells you may encounter?

I had a classmate in PA school who quit after the first year because (direct quote): "I don't like being around sick people."

I would have thought that one should have determined that before applying, but that's just me :confused
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"
Thecallofduty
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by Thecallofduty »

I dont think you should have any issues. In general for providers (doctors, PAs, NPs) once credentialed everyone is expected to provide the same level of care to patients. Doesnt matter if you are 30 or 70, all held to same standard.

Good luck in your endeavors :D
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mouses
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by mouses »

ralph124cf wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:37 pm I discriminate against older doctors.

I don't want to spend years getting to know a doctor, and having him get to know me, and then have him die or retire. I have had that happen several times already.

Ralph
I've had a dentist and a doctor retire at about 50 in the last couple of years. So you better look for inexperienced twenty somethings if you want to avoid that problem.
Gronnie
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by Gronnie »

mouses wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:19 pm
ralph124cf wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:37 pm I discriminate against older doctors.

I don't want to spend years getting to know a doctor, and having him get to know me, and then have him die or retire. I have had that happen several times already.

Ralph
I've had a dentist and a doctor retire at about 50 in the last couple of years. So you better look for inexperienced twenty somethings if you want to avoid that problem.
We just moved from the Midwest to SoCal and this is exactly what I did. Looked for very young PCP and Dentist for my family.
2015
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by 2015 »

The White Coat Investor has weighed in on the subject of job security in medicine:

https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/job-s ... is-a-myth/
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4nursebee
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by 4nursebee »

I see a handful of MD hires that are older. They also trade positions in town fairly fluidly, private to public and vice versa.
PA/NP hires- experience is what helps get in the door so you might have to take any first job offer, then get the job you want.
RN- management says they search for experience but little comes through the door.
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gasdoc
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by gasdoc »

2015 wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:01 pm The White Coat Investor has weighed in on the subject of job security in medicine:

https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/job-s ... is-a-myth/
I agree that job security is a thing of the past in medicine- for the reasons mentioned in the article- and I have seen it personally over the years in my own practice. I have not, however, seen age discrimination. I have found just the opposite.

gasdoc
Bmac
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by Bmac »

I think the article is a bit overblown. If you can successfully get an MD and finish an accredited residency it seems to me highly unlikely you will not be able to maintain a career at a reasonably high salary compared to the vast majority of nonprofessionals. I would say much better job security than, say, lawyers. That being said, I totally agree that age discrimination does not appear to be much of an issue. The bigger issue, as mentioned by others, is burnout. This is especially a problem financially, as is often the case these days, if you start your attending career saddled with mid to high six-figure student loan debt and not until your early to mid or later 30s.
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by dm200 »

X528 wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:53 pm
Raymond wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:42 pm
X528 wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:21 pm
The Wizard wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:17 pm How does this impact you personally?
I was thinking of going into a medical profession.
I'm in my mid-50s, and have been a PA for almost twenty-five years (second career, I was an Air Force officer before that.)

I've not had an issue with my age and finding employment, but I'm working part-time now by choice, thanks to the Bogleheads :happy

How old are you now? If you're 35+ years old and making a career change, you will be putting in some serious hours in training over many years, especially if you're thinking about an MD or DO program.

I was thinking about becoming a physician assistant (PA).
No firsthand knowledge or experience, but my opinion is that age might be less of an issue for a Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner.
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by JGoneRiding »

ralph124cf wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:37 pm I discriminate against older doctors.

I don't want to spend years getting to know a doctor, and having him get to know me, and then have him die or retire. I have had that happen several times already.

Ralph
The last 2 doctors I have had were younger ish and left tt e practice as they had no firm commitment. Now I am going with one of the older ones as I figure retirement will be long announced and planned
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X528
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by X528 »

Raymond wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:10 pm
X528 wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:53 pm I was thinking about becoming a physician assistant (PA).
Have you volunteered at a health care facility? Have you spoken with or shadowed PAs at their workplaces?

Do you know if you can stomach the situations, sights and smells you may encounter?

I had a classmate in PA school who quit after the first year because (direct quote): "I don't like being around sick people."

I would have thought that one should have determined that before applying, but that's just me :confused
Are there PA specialties that do not involve direct patient contact? Maybe pathology and laboratory medicine?
I'm in the early research phase of considering PA programs.
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by Thecallofduty »

In all honesty if you do not want any clinical encounters with patients then I would advice looking at other career options.
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dm200
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by dm200 »

Thecallofduty wrote: Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:30 am In all honesty if you do not want any clinical encounters with patients then I would advice looking at other career options.
:oops:
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

gasdoc wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:46 pm ...
I have not, however, seen age discrimination. I have found just the opposite.

gasdoc
I much prefer experienced doctors over young doctors. Age-wise, usually at least middle age. When your favorite doctor is retiring, ask for a recommendation of a doctor he (she) trusts.
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by wander »

I rather put my health on someone that I can trust. Trust is based on many factors and age is not my big concern. But, I prefer younger surgeons for their precision and new technique & technology.
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X528
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by X528 »

Thecallofduty wrote: Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:30 am In all honesty if you do not want any clinical encounters with patients then I would advice looking at other career options.
I figured that response would get your response. But your response did not answer the question.
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by augryphon »

mid/late 50's dud here, I work in a tech field where age discrimination runs rampant, disguised in various ways such as re-orgs, but the old guys get pushed out, and struggle to get meaningful employment. I've watched it happen for 35 years. it's often softened by a handful of shekels severance pay, so you'll go quietly, but almost no-one makes it past 60 in my world, especially in management. My wife and DIL are in the medical field and the demand is so high that age discrimination isn't an issue, and if you do lose you job, another is very easy to find.
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by LiterallyIronic »

augryphon wrote: Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:43 am mid/late 50's dud here, I work in a tech field where age discrimination runs rampant, disguised in various ways such as re-orgs, but the old guys get pushed out, and struggle to get meaningful employment. I've watched it happen for 35 years. it's often softened by a handful of shekels severance pay, so you'll go quietly, but almost no-one makes it past 60 in my world, especially in management.
Maybe if you weren't such a dud, it wouldn't be a problem. :D

Joking aside, I started my CS degree at age 29. Finished at age 32. I operate under the assumption that I will be unable to find/keep a job as a software developer beyond the age of 50. So I save money at a rate that should (assuming 4% return) allow me to retire after an 18 year career.

As for the medical field, whenever I need to see a doctor, I just go to a few offices, find who will be the cheapest, and use them. So I've been into four or five doctors offices in town and would say that doctors vary in age, but I don't really see any beyond mid-50s or so. Couldn't tell you if that's because of: A) sample size; B) they make enough money that they retire by then; or C) age discrimination.
EnjoyIt
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by EnjoyIt »

There is in fact some age discrimination though it is very very small and can go unnoticed.

Age discrimination comes in the later years of practice such as the late 50s/early 60s. In general at that age speed and efficiency tend to decline a little. I have noticed being later in years makes it harder for some to learn new computer software. Some older providers tend to not accept newer and more advanced techniques that can be safer or better. Younger providers tend to be more eager and easier to train to fit the culture of the practice.

All of that doesn’t mean an older provider won’t be hired. But it does mean that they may have a longer onboarding and a more difficult time getting up to full speed.
A time to EVALUATE your jitters: | https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=79939&start=400#p5275418
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by stimulacra »

ralph124cf wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:37 pm I discriminate against older doctors.

I don't want to spend years getting to know a doctor, and having him get to know me, and then have him die or retire. I have had that happen several times already.

Ralph
I hold the opposite view. I don’t want a young doctor that is saddled with 6 figures of school debt weighing on them day in and day out. If I had a choice in the matter, I would prefer someone with 20 years of medical practice under their belt and medical school has been long paid off.
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Raymond
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by Raymond »

X528 wrote: Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:21 amAre there PA specialties that do not involve direct patient contact? Maybe pathology and laboratory medicine?
I'm in the early research phase of considering PA programs.
The PA profession started as, and remains (mainly) a direct patient care field.

There are other fields that a PA can enter, but I believe most of those would expect the PA to have had some clinical work experience:

"Outside the Clinic" - aapa.org

There are PAs in pathology-related fields, but not many that I've heard of - mainly as forensic field investigators for medical examiners (MD/DO) or coroners (elected officials who may or may not have medical training, depending on the jurisdiction.)

There is a separate profession - pathologists' assistant (PathA) - who work exclusively in the pathology lab under the supervision of MD/DO pathologists.

If you're interested in laboratory medicine, you might consider becoming a medical technologist.
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by michaeljc70 »

ralph124cf wrote: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:37 pm I discriminate against older doctors.

I don't want to spend years getting to know a doctor, and having him get to know me, and then have him die or retire. I have had that happen several times already.

Ralph
Yep.

Also, I know some will dispute this, but I feel older doctors aren't as up to date on everything. I know, they do continuing education (which I've heard can be a joke- vacation in Vegas) and some probably do a lot to keep up. Overall, I'd trust a younger doctor to be more up to date (on drugs, treatments, advice, etc). On the other hand, I don't want them so young they have no experience :D .

But, of course, I am not really hiring a doctor directly and some patients I'm sure prefer older doctors.
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by 4nwestsaylng »

Interesting, I know a surgeon who, a few years ago,inquired as to a surgical position at a Kaiser facility in California. He was in his mid fifties, and spoke with the surgery department chair, a woman in her mid forties. She told him he would have to do eight highly technical procedures every week, and wondered whether at his age he was up to it. So he asked her "well, how many operations do you do every week".

Her reply " Oh, I don't feel comfortable with my skill set, I don't operate anymore".

True story.
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by visualguy »

augryphon wrote: Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:43 am mid/late 50's dud here, I work in a tech field where age discrimination runs rampant, disguised in various ways such as re-orgs, but the old guys get pushed out, and struggle to get meaningful employment. I've watched it happen for 35 years. it's often softened by a handful of shekels severance pay, so you'll go quietly, but almost no-one makes it past 60 in my world, especially in management. My wife and DIL are in the medical field and the demand is so high that age discrimination isn't an issue, and if you do lose you job, another is very easy to find.
Age discrimination doesn't seem to be much of an issue in medical fields based on what I hear from relatives who are doctors. At some age it truly becomes harder for some/most people to do certain things, but the impact of that shouldn't be considered age discrimination.

Tech is different for many reasons... Larger supply of people (domestic, foreign, offshored). Rapidly changing technology which reduces the value of experience, and makes it harder to remain relevant. Deteriorating working conditions - people used to have offices, then cubicles, and now open space is common. Typically the older you are, the more you hate open space :wink:
tenkuky
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by tenkuky »

From James Bond Skyfall:

"Age is no guarantee of efficiency....

and youth is no guarantee of innovation”
Thecallofduty
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by Thecallofduty »

OP.

I dont have a direct answer to your question. All I can say if there is non clinical work then you are gonna purse training at an advanced age for a chance of getting a job that maybe really really limited to find.
PA is a great field. Just dont want you to have all eggs in one basket and not get the job you desire.
-thecallofduty
HIinvestor
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by HIinvestor »

I have several friends who were nurses at Kaiser from the day they graduated with their RN degree in their early 20s. They fully expected to finish out their careers there but Kaiser corporate nationally changed retirement benefits and if they didn’t leave in a certain window they’d forgo some valuable post retirement health insurance benefits. They all reluctantly left with their close to 40 years experience apiece and got jobs elsewhere for the last few years of their careers.

Another friend was a MD specialist at Kaiser hired right out of residency. Again corporate changed the retirement options so I’d she didn’t leave within a small window she’d lose at least a six figure sum of pension benefits. Reluctantly she left and then got hired by another medical center who was thrilled to get her four decades of experience.

In other words, there are definitely forces at work that may incentivize healthcare professionals to switch their place of employment that aren’t per se age discrimination but result in getting rid of some very experienced staff.

Personally, I’ve been sad to lose several of my MD providers recently, ages 68, 70, and 60. They were all very good and getting to know the newer younger ones has been a process. I do ask for referrals but it’s always a process getting to know one another, especially when one has chronic health conditions.

I do see and hear about age discrimination in the private sector, tho it’s not supposed to be there.
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by jlawrence01 »

There is a great demand for competent medical professionals in MANY rural and inner-city communities that are very underserved. Those areas cannot really be very picky on non-essential factors like age.
physiorol
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by physiorol »

I am in healthcare I do not see my age discrimination. In general, patients value experience and gray hair and there is high demand to fill positions so employers cannot be very picky, even if they wanted a younger workforce. The only thing I notice is between professionals, where the younger more up-to-date providers look down on the older providers that have not made an effort to stay current. Don't worry the older ones frown on the younger ones for not knowing the old ways. The best obviously is years of experience enhanced by staying as current as you can.

I just selected my new primary care doctor and I got one of the young new doctors. My reasoning was by the time I am in my late 60s they will have 20 years of experience and still be 15 years or so from retirement. I am not sure if we will both make it that far, but if I do I will look back and congratulate myself.
lernd
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by lernd »

somewhat tangentially related:

"When is a surgeon too old to operate?"
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/01/heal ... e=Homepage

Many medical fields are both physically and mentally demanding. While overt age discrimination may not be apparent, there may be some self selection ("I can't do this job anymore") or peer pressure ("If you can't take call every 4th night, you can't be in the group") as one ages.
Swansea
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by Swansea »

In the ophthalmology practice I go to, I'd say about 5 of the 10 docs are certainly over 70, and 2 or 3 joined when they were late 60s or even 70.
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dm200
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Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

Post by dm200 »

Swansea wrote: Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:46 am In the ophthalmology practice I go to, I'd say about 5 of the 10 docs are certainly over 70, and 2 or 3 joined when they were late 60s or even 70.
A friend of mine's father is an Ophthalmologist. At a certain age (cannot recall details), he stopped doing surgery but remained active in a practice with others - doing everything but eye surgery.
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