What Are the Options for Pennsylvania Physicians Looking to Return to Clinical Practice?

The reasons a physician might choose to leave clinical practice are varied: raising children, illness, working in a non-clinical job, retirement, physician burnout. Whatever the reason, some physicians who have taken time away from clinical practice come to the decision that they would like to return.

Given that there is a projected future physician shortage in Pennsylvania, the return of skilled, dedicated physicians to the workforce would be welcome.

The Pennsylvania Join State Government Commission released a report on the physician workforce on April 20, 2015. The report contains six recommended strategies to address projected physician shortages. Among the strategies is increasing the number of residency positions in order to train more physicians in Pennsylvania and establishing a state pipeline program to prepare students for medical careers.

Retraining physicians who have left the practice of medicine is another under-the-radar tool for addressing physician shortages in Pennsylvania. Physicians looking to re-enter the world of clinical practice face many obstacles, however, as illustrated by an article published by Kaiser Health News.

One physician interviewed for the article took a 10-year hiatus to raise her children and found that finding a job following that absence was difficult. The problems with re-entry include the rapid changes that have taken place in medicine as well as the need for skills to be maintained through daily practice.

The good news is that there are solutions available for physicians who need to refine and update their clinical skills.

LifeGuard® Program Offers Physicians a Pathway for Returning to Clinical Practice

The Foundation of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s (PAMED’s) philanthropic affiliate, offers its LifeGuard program as a resource for physicians and other referring entities, including hospitals and health systems.

Physicians looking to return to clinical practice will find that LifeGuard can help them with reinstatement of license and transitioning career or specialty.

Helen Kuroki, MD, vice president of medical affairs at Riddle Hospital in Media, Pa., has relied on Lifeguard’s services to provide physician assessments for her organization. “LifeGuard provides that unique and specific service to evaluate our physicians to make sure that they are able to practice and provide the highest level of care to our patients,” she said.

Watch Dr. Kuroki’s video interview.

LifeGuard is not just for a resource for individual physicians but also for physician group practices, hospitals, health systems, state boards of medicine, and health care attorneys. It can help organizations with a need for comprehensive and confidential physician clinical competency assessments and recommendations for remediation for physicians with identified quality concerns.

More Resources

  • Physician workforce resources
    • PAMED’s news release on the physician workforce shortage report
    • How Pennsylvania’s Health Care Scholars Academy  is addressing the state’s physician shortage issue
    • Recruiting International Medical Graduates
  • Resources from PAMED, in collaboration with the Foundation, to help physicians identify physician burnout symptoms, and find coping strategies to alleviate burnout.