Continuing Physician Professional Development
Physician re-entry to the workforce growing in importance
With growing numbers of physicians seeking flexibility and work-life balance, the issue of physician re-entry to clinical practice is becoming increasingly critical. Re-entry has implications for the physician workforce and physician competency; it also highlights the need for consistent, evidence-based regulations across state medical licensing boards. An AMA survey in 2010 found that about three quarters of boards who responded to the survey either have a re-entry policy or are in the process of developing one.
To learn more, read an article on this topic, with lead authorship from AMA staff, published in the Journal of Medical Regulation. The article has been selected by the journal's editorial board as best article and winner of the 2013 Ray L. Casterline Award for Excellence in Writing.
The article also lists six recommendations from a 2010 conference on regulatory challenges to physician re-entry, sponsored by the AMA in collaboration with the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and American Academy of Pediatrics. One of these recommendations states that licensing board guidelines should clarify the following:
- "The length of time away from clinical practice which necessitates participating in a reentry process;
- "The definition of how much involvement in clinical care constitutes active clinical practice and the clinical practice requirements for maintaining licensure; and
- "The impact of loss of specialty board certification on maintenance of licensure."
Also see the Directory of Physician Assessment and Remedial Education Programs, available on the FSMB website. In addition to clinical evaluation and education programs, the directory identifies resources for mental health, substance use, ethics and boundaries, prescribing issues and behavior concerns.