As important as it is to prepare yourself for your new, non-clinical career - it is just as important to consider what you need if you ever decide you want to go back.
I recently came across a resource for physicians that helps them in the event that they have left clinical medicine and decide they want to return to practice after an extended absence. A website called The Physician Reentry Into The Workforce Project has a wealth of information and resources for doctors considering this career move.
One of the things many physicians fail to appreciate when exploring non-clinical careers is the myriad of things they need to consider in the event that they ever want to go back to clinical medicine. A guide developed by this group includes a 23-page inventory of things to think about before leaving practice, including:
- The financial impact - i.e., costs to maintain the ability to reenter (licensure, credentialing, memberships, certifications, insurance, etc.), educational programs (CMEs) for reentry, etc.
- Professional issues - i.e., the impact of your leave on the practice or organization, communicating with patients / Human Resources about your leave, hospital bylaws about leaves, maintenance of hospital credentials, continuation of malpractice insurance, etc.
- Regulatory issues - maintaining your medical licensure, contacting the state licensing board for assistance, implications for your narcotics registration through the DEA, maintenance of your board certification, etc.
The Physician Reentry into the Workforce Guide also provides a plan for what a physician should do before they leave clinical practice, including advice and tips on:
- Developing a timeline for your leave or reduction of practice
- Making a plan for continuing medical education
- Identifying all practice considerations (i.e., how to inform patients of your leave, facilitating the transfer of care, accessibility of medical records, etc.)
- Maintaining contacts and connections
- Analyzing your financial situation prior to your leave
- Determining the level of clinical practice (if any) that you will keep
- Ways to facilitate your return to clinical medicine while you are on leave (if you so desire) - including advanced planning for your return, clinical activity, CME, personal requirements for return
This guide is free, in a downloadable PDF form found here. Even if you are a physician deciding to leave clinical practice and have no intention of going back, I still suggest you review this guide to ensure you are doing everything required to make your transition into a non-clinical career as smooth as possible… and to cover all those bases in the event of “what if”.