Re-entering Medicine After Prolonged Absence

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  • CM CM 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1195
    Joined: 01/14/2017

    This post is in response to Saildawg’s comment on the “Fatlittlepig’s Questions for PoF” thread,

    “I do not disagree that other professions with competitive incomes would be on par as far as difficulty obtaining previous income and finding a position.  I think medicine has more regulatory hoops to jump through (re-licensing, CME, board certification) and if you are in a procedural based specialty you may even need to repeat training.  None of this is impossible to overcome, but there is so much involved it sure as hell would give me pause before deciding to leave my career early.

    I agree CM has a very interesting story, I am not sure what CM had to do to get back into medicine but would love to hear what was involved.”


    I left the practice of medicine for 13 years. When I decided to return I began to earn CME credits. Ultimately, I earned more than 800 credits over more than one year of study (began to study after about 12 years away from practice).

    Physicians on internet forums told me that I would need to pass the SPEX exam. That seemed like a giant waste of study time that would not help me when I returned to practice, so I studied for board re-certification instead. Scores are reported in decile ranks and I scored in the top decile.

    With CME and board scores in hand, I applied for a license in two states where I held a license in the past. Both granted me a license without any trouble.

    I learned that some states have an established process for re-entry. Some require the SPEX exam. Some require re-training at one of the handful of programs that offer that. Most states had no established protocol at the time I applied; they made it up on a case-by-case basis.

    Before I left medicine it was easy to find a job. I had multiple offers each time I searched.

    When I attempted to return I was met with skepticism. One recruiter told me, “We’re looking for someone to make a career here.” Another told me, “We’re not interested in someone who has not been practicing.”

    I only inquired at two places before I saw an ad for a non-invasive cardiologist. I recognized the employer from the details in the ad. It was the hospital where I practiced many years earlier. There were quite a few physicians there who remembered my good work and thought highly of me. I applied and was hired.

    The hospital asked me to spend two weeks working under the supervision of a well-known cardiologist in a nearby city. He vouched for me and I began my practice at that point.

    I had been an invasive, non-interventional cardiologist. I’m non-invasive now. I’m sure that I could return to invasive work after a period of proctoring by colleagues, but I never liked the invasive work and I earn a good living as a non-invasive guy.

    If you attempt to return in an employed position in a popular location in an over-supplied specialty, you’re unlikely to succeed. Of course, you could always open a private practice. That would be easier in less competitive locations.

    Your professional network is likely to be very important in finding a job.

    Undoubtedly, the process would be more difficult for surgeons.

    Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried bags for Cyd Charisse (gracious). Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

    #206008 Reply
    Avatar Tim 
    Status: Accountant
    Posts: 3341
    Joined: 09/18/2018

    Strong work.

    #206020 Reply

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