Toward late career transitioning: a proposal for academic surgeons

Toward late career transitioning: a proposal for academic surgeons

Can J Surg 2017;60(5):355-358 | PDF

Robin Richards, MD; Robin McLeod, MD; David Latter, MD; Shaf Keshavjee, MD; Ori Rotstein, MD; Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD; Najma Ahmed, MD, PhD; Avery Nathens, MD, PhD; James Rutka, MD, PhD


In the absence of a defined retirement age, academic surgeons need to develop plans for transition as they approach the end of their academic surgical careers. The development of a plan for late career transition represents an opportunity for departments of surgery across Canada to initiate a constructive process in cooperation with the key stakeholders in the hospital or institution. The goal of the process is to develop an individual plan for each faculty member that is agreeable to the academic surgeon; informs the surgical leadership; and allows the late career surgeon, the hospital, the division and the department to make plans for the future. In this commentary, the literature on the science of aging is reviewed as it pertains to surgeons, and guidelines for late career transition planning are shared. It is hoped that these guidelines will be of some value to academic programs and surgeons across the country as late career transition models are developed and adopted.

Accepted June 8, 2017; Early-released Aug. 1, 2017

Acknowledgements: The authors thank members of the Senior Advisory Committee in the Department of Surgery for their many contributions to the generation of the Guidelines for Late Career Transitions.

Affiliations: From the Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.

Competing interests: M. Fehlings declares consultancy agreements with Pfizer, Zimmer Biomet and InVivo Therapeutics. No other competing interests declared.

Contributors: All authors contributed substantially to the conception, writing, and revision of this article, and approved the final version for publication.

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.007617

Correspondence to: J. Rutka, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, 149 College St, 5th Floor, Toronto ON M5T 1P5;