Medicine is an extremely demanding profession that requires:
- physical stamina
- mental acuity
- physical dexterity
- complex multi-tasking
- diverse interpersonal skills
- the ability to continually learn new technologies
Aging may make it increasingly difficult to do all that is required as a physician as physical changes inevitably occur and mental faculties become slower.
As we age, visual and hearing acuity may suffer and it may be more difficult to adapt to changing shifts and long work hours. The need for medication may bring side effects that also affect our abilities.
The aging process can be ameliorated to some degree by paying attention to good nutrition, proper sleep, appropriate medical care and physical fitness.
However, as physicians, because we have a responsibility to provide safe patient care we must take honest stock of our capabilities and recognize when it is appropriate to make adjustments to our work schedule or duties to accommodate our diminishing abilities.