The Physician Reentry into the Workforce Project is a multi-organization, collaborative effort that aims to address the wide range of issues related to physician departure and subsequent reentry into the workforce, specifically clinical practice. This is being accomplished through a number of venues including the development of these Issue Briefs. This issue brief explores the critical elements of a reentry education program for physicians.

Although each physician will have different educational needs depending on his or her specialty, practice setting, and other factors, there are several considerations for structuring the educational experience that transcend these differences. The following outline, though not definitive, provides a general overview of the kind of content and questions that should be addressed in the formulation of any reentry education plan, whether you are reentering your former practice, or joining a new one. Issues fall into the major categories of an initial needs assessment for the individual physician, the development of a focused and individualized learning plan, the cognitive and procedural content of this plan, and topics related to completion of the educational program, including post-educational evaluation of knowledge, skills, and behavior.

Critical Elements

I. Identify Your Needs Based on the Practice You Intend to Reenter

Analysis of practice characteristics of the practice you are going to join or reenter

  • Type of patients seen
  • Most frequently seen illnesses
  • Procedures performed in the practice
  • Specific requirements for the geographic area and cultural needs
  • Specialty needs of the practice
  • Medical management issues related to the practice

Updates in knowledge, skills, and behavior you will need to successfully enter this practice

  • New content since completion of training and/or since leaving the workforce
  • Requirements for this practice
  • Practice expectations
  • Management duties
  • Changes in practice of medicine since residency and/or since leaving the workforce
  • Changes from your previous practice or which took place in the same practice since you left

Your position in the practice: expectations of the physician, employer, and peers

  • Expectations of your role in the practice (your own and your associates’)
  • Clinical/direct patient care
  • Teaching
  • Research, if applicable
  • Management
  • Leadership

General interests in medicine

  • New topics that you would like to learn/be responsible for

Content and practices you will introduce

  • Special skills and knowledge you will bring to the practice

II. Develop a Personal Learning Plan

Consider how you like to learn; methods you use to learn successfully; ways you identify a learning need

  • Identify learning needs, how you will meet them
  • Determine how you will be able to assess whether or not you have fulfilled the learning need
  • Identify how you will apply new learning to the practice of medicine

Determine how you will schedule your learning

Identify how you will finance your learning

III. Learning Plan Content

  • Prioritize the content you will learn
  • Information
  • Procedures
  • Practice
  • Elaboration on information and procedures as ongoing learning

Develop a “hard copy” learning plan

  • Topic, question
  • Sources
  • Timeline
  • Introduction into practice and the outcome
  • Discuss/approve learning plan with employer and peers

IV. Completion of Program

Completion of learning program

Exit exam/assessment to make sure needs identified at the beginning have been met and deficiencies remediated

  • Personal identification of learning needs met
  • Identify that learning needs are met by another person, group, or board

Certification: specialty boards

Self-study certification


The Web site at provides additional information on the Physician Reentry into the Workforce Project. The Web site also contains practical Resources for both physicians seeking to reenter the workforce and others interested in the issue, including employers, educators, regulatory groups, and medical and specialty societies.

Fair Use Policy: Individuals or organizations interested in distributing this Issue Brief or using its content should acknowledge the authorship of the Physician Reentry into the Workforce Project in an appropriate citation.

Suggested Citation: Physician Reentry into the Workforce Project. Issue Brief: Critical Elements of Reentry Education. Elk Grove Village, Ill. American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009.