I am happy to report that I am back in general internal medicine practice, outpatient only, 3 days per week. (I had the option of starting back full-time, but decided, after consulting with another reentry physician, to start back part-time. This has turned out to be the right decision for me.)
Reentry into medicine took 27 months. It cost $40,000 (plus 27 months of living expenses). That was 9 months longer and $10,000 more than I had estimated at the beginning. The state of my finances required that I sell my house, accept a short-term loan from a family member, go on Medicaid: none of which I had anticipated prior and none of which I particularly wanted to do.
For 27 months, reentry was my unpaid full-time job. It's fair to say I am somewhat familiar with the process now. This blog ought to give other reentering clinicians at least an idea of what this particular roller-coaster ride is shaped like. But there are no guarantees of success with it, and I am afraid it feels ultra-precarious the whole way back.
There are so many people to whom I owe thanks. This accomplishment really does not belong to me. I could not have made this journey without the folks at home who believed in me, strangers who took time to listen and give advice, the many who gave me online publicity, made phone calls and wrote e-mails or letters on my behalf, spoke to colleagues on my behalf, made introductions for me, etc.
For other reentering clinicians, I cannot stress enough the importance of asking lots of questions, making connections, and letting absolutely everyone in your world know about what you are doing. The contact which led to my eventual employment was given to me by my optometrist, who of course had heard all about my reentry journey during my annual eye exams for the past 2 years. Like I said: make sure you tell everyone. Your acquaintances cannot help you if they do not know your situation. You never know who might know of someone who is in a position to assist you.
You might even throw yourself on the mercy of the Internet and start a reentry blog.
Even though my reentry journey seems to be complete at the moment, I plan on leaving this blog up as an informational resource as well as remaining available to answer e-mail. At some point in the future, I may have to generate a final "summing-up" post, but as always I welcome all civil comments, inquiries and e-mails.