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Recruiting Retired Clinicians

Lena J. Weiner, for HealthLeaders Media, July 21, 2014

New laws aim to make it easier for retired doctors, nurses, and dentists to find meaningful work seeing patients and mentoring younger clinicians.

Know any elderly clinicians bored of tea parties with the grandkids and golf at the country club? A future of helping disadvantaged patients or mentoring young physicians just might await them, especially if they are residents of Illinois, where lawmakers think they've got the doctor shortage all figured out.

While different states have been attempting to find solutions to the doctor shortage ranging from expanding the current cap of Medicare-supported training slots for doctors in NY to allowing nurse practitioners to practice without physician oversight in Illinois, legislation aims to expand access to care by making it easier for clinicians, including doctors, nurses, dentists, and optometrists to find meaningful work after leaving full-time practice.

"I'm not surprised that all that this is happening," says Ralph Henderson, president of healthcare staffing at AMN Healthcare. "There are lots of incentives to work in certain states or rural areas. This is a logical next step given the shortage of physicians in the marketplace, and personally, I love the idea."

But this isn't an isolated anomaly—it's part of a greater trend toward clinicians working longer after retired from the full-time demand of their medical careers.

The Lure of Working Life
Nothing lures a clinician out of retirement like a feel-good assignment, says Henderson. "Retired [clinicians] love situations where their work can make a difference in other people's lives in a positive way. They're often looking for a way they can give back."

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