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A Piece of My Mind
April 25, 2017

Navigating Transitions and Charting New Paths

Author Affiliations
  • 1The Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute, Stanford University and Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
JAMA. 2017;317(16):1625-1626. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.19239

A career in medicine creates an identity and a defining sense of purpose in life. I love being a physician and relish the planned and unexpected challenges and opportunities that have unfolded over time—which for many years seemed endless. But I also observed early in my career what can happen if one doesn’t anticipate transitions, especially in midlife and beyond. While I have come to know this as a physician, I have learned it is also true for individuals in other walks of life, as choices, options, and opportunities become altered and sometimes appear constrained and truncated by physical and cognitive changes or because one has become burned out and needs a change of direction or new path to pursue.