Returning physicians to the workforce: History, progress, and challenges

Authors


  • Disclosures: The authors report none.

Abstract

There is growing recognition of the need to reeducate clinically inactive physicians seeking to return to practice and in the facilitation of this return. Physicians seeking to return to practice face many challenges: maneuvering the various requirements of licensing, medical, and credentialing boards; finding an appropriate educational program to become up to date in current practice; paying for the program; and overcoming personal obstacles. Educational programs also face challenges: cost of development and maintenance; allocation of staff and faculty time to reeducate returning physicians alongside other learners; provision of emotional counseling and career guidance; interpretation of varied licensing and board guidelines; and the need to tailor one's program to individual trainees. Despite these challenges, some programs are returning physicians to the workforce. To provide perspective, we review why physicians leave medicine and return. We then discuss challenges for returning physicians and program developers and highlight current educational resources and organizational efforts to facilitate return. We close by offering next steps for programs to facilitate return.

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