By Paul Thompson
March 1, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Dr. Elaine Joslyn’s decision to retire – like many of the biggest decisions of her life – came as the result of intuition.
Joslyn acknowledged in a conversation with the Northeast News that she has been considering retirement for about a year, saying that she’s grown weary of the long hours and the increasingly difficult health care climate. She noted that at her apex, she was working 60-70 hours per week. Ultimately, her mind and her body collaborated to tell her it was time to end this chapter of her life.
“You just have to work pedal to the metal constantly in order to make it, and I don’t have the energy to do that anymore,” said Joslyn. “So it’s time.”
Joslyn had a similar premonition more than 20 years ago, before starting her own solo practice, when she was working as the medical director of Kansas City University’s clinic on Independence Avenue.
“When I searched my hardest, it was clear that what I really wanted to do was to take care of the people of this neighborhood,” said Joslyn about her leap of faith. “I am a woman of faith, and I believe that this whole process has been God-driven. If I just let things happen, the right person comes through the door at the right time. It just clicks in and feels right.”
On this most recent occasion facing a major life decision, Joslyn said that the final push towards retirement came when she learned which organization was interested in taking over her practice. Joslyn noted that she was heartened to learn that the respected Kansas City Care Clinic – former operators of the KC Free Clinic on Broadway – would be moving into her Northeast office.
“They are opening a branch office in this location,” said Joslyn. “They are a group with great heart, and I feel really good about leaving my patients in their hands.”
In addition to her confidence in Kansas City Care Clinic’s ability to provide high-quality care to her customer base, another major bonus for Joslyn was that the clinic has agreed to keep her staff on board after her departure. Joslyn said that the decision was made easier with the knowledge that her tight-knit and loyal staff would be taken care of.
“They’re excited about the change. Of course it helps that the Kansas City Care Clinic has the resources to pay them on a parody with their employees at the Broadway office,” said Joslyn. “It will be a nice little raise for most of them, and they have good benefits. It’s a very good employer.”
As she prepares to depart from her practice, Joslyn discussed her recommendations for how to repair America’s health care system. In her opinion, more Americans need to get access to a primary care physician who can help them manage their ailments before a highly-trained specialist needs to be brought into the picture.
“Most people don’t need a cardiovascular surgeon,” said Joslyn. “Most people need a primary care doctor to talk to them about how to prevent having to go to the cardiovascular surgeon.”
In the short-term, Joslyn said that she’s looking forward to some time away from the grind of running a solo practice, something she’s been doing for more than 22 years. Initially, retirement will likely be about enjoying stress-free mornings from the comfort of her home.
“The first thing I’m going to do is sit in my sun room in my robe, fuzzy slippers, no makeup, and drink coffee as long as I please,” said Joslyn with a laugh. “Of course, my husband David has been retired for 15 years; he’s looking forward to it.”
Joslyn said that while she’s unlikely to ever practice in an office setting again, she is potentially interested in teaching on a part-time basis. But first, she’ll spend the entire month of July relaxing at a cabin in Colorado, the state where she grew up. From there, she’ll start thinking about the next stage of her professional life.
“I figure by then, I’ll be ready to contemplate my next step,” said Joslyn.