A favorite operative professor of mine from Emory University’s School of Dentistry, Dr. George Pryles, advised me on graduation day not to practice so long that I had to start replacing the restorations I’d provided my patients through the years! Since 90% of my crown and bridge cases were cast gold and the majority of my posterior fillings were restored with amalgam, I’ve replaced very few of them, thank you!!
Thirty-eight years of practice later, though, I’m recalling those wise words, and the end of my long and rewarding clinical career is in sight. In spite of the fact that I successfully transitioned my practice to another outstanding Emory grad (Dr. Brian J. Gowasack, Gowasack Family Dentistry) near the end of 2012, it has been a joy to continue caring in the interim for many I have come to love.
Part of “knowing when” it’s time to go, however, is to ultimately accept that you’ve served your family of patients with excellence and integrity, but that your best days are indeed behind you. I’ve come to accept and appreciate that thought these past few months, as I step aside from a career I’ve cherished, and a profession I have served with commitment, energy, and passion.
Part of “knowing when” it’s time to go, is to also have a firm understanding of your physical health or limitations and financial well-being. Both significantly impact one’s decision, and require honest and thorough introspection.
And part of “knowing when” it’s time to go, is to have something to “go to!” In addition to having more time to spend with my family and grandchildren, I am most fortunate to have the privilege and opportunity to share that which I’ve learned through the years with others through writing, teaching, and speaking.
Thanks for the advice, Dr. Pryles! Thanks for ensuring that my wonderful patient family has someone to continue to care for them, Dr. Gowasack. Thank you dear patients for having afforded me the privilege of providing your care, and thank you loving family for your incredible support these many, fulfilling years.
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The cliche’ “bitter-sweet” is often over used, but for me Dr. Kerr’s recent retirement from clinical dentistry truly is bitter-sweet. I have known Dr. Kerr as both friend and colleague since the mid-1980’s, and I can promise you you’ll never find a more gifted, caring practitioner, nor a more humble, godly man. While I rejoice for him and his ability to retire from treating patients,selfishly I will also sorely miss working with him professionally. Thankfully, he continues to share his knowledge and experience by teaching others the path to a rewarding life in dentistry. He leaves a legacy of patient care and integrity that most of us only dream of.
Of Dr. Wayne Kerr I can honestly say…. I’m a better person and a better dentist for knowing you.
Godspeed my friend.