Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.
Any number of people have asked me how it feels to be retired. Sometimes
I say it feels great, other times I say it's OK, but mostly I say ask me next
year. After 54 years of practicing medicine, of using the doctor insignia
fore and aft my name, of being immersed in a tightly woven medical belief
system, reinforced daily by a busy psychiatric practice, I had little time
to ponder the significance implicit in a heretofore uncritically assumed doctor
identity (DI). It was a given—helping patients fashion their identity took precedence. I took mine for granted—ie, until
the day of reckoning came 'round, the day I'd set to retire, the day I was
unceremoniously transformed from a "professional" to a "civilian."
DeFries Z. Identity Matters (or Does It?). JAMA. 1998;279(17):1331. doi:10.1001/jama.279.17.1331