Health Workforce Reentry and Retraining
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Workforce shortages are exacerbated when trained professionals decide not to work or actually leave their fields. Reentry and retraining are possible ways to meet health care workforce challenges.
Reentry is when a health care professional who has left the workforce decides to return. Professionals may decide to leave the workforce for a number of reasons, including child birth, illness, care of family members, educational opportunities, or burnout. In every case, people returning to work may face a number of obstacles as they activate their license, take recertification courses to become up-to-date in their field, cope with challenges related to their prior illness or injury, seek out professional connections, identify job opportunities, and/or face stigma from employers who wonder if they are prepared for current workforce environments. Many states have licensure requirements for those who have been out of the workforce for a certain number of years. Some schools offer courses to help health care providers meet these requirements or gain experience to help prepare them for returning to their profession.
Retraining is when people decide to change careers and retrain for a different type of health care profession or enter a health care field for the first time. In times of economic recession, many unemployed workers take the opportunity to enter high-demand health care careers such as nursing. Many state workforce organizations offer retraining support for people receiving unemployment benefits to develop skills so they can get jobs. Often, people seeking retraining already have a job and/or a family, and therefore have less time to focus on school. Educational institutions may cater to these "nontraditional" students by offering evening courses, distance education, accelerated programs for people who already have a degree, and tutoring or other preparatory coursework to help students who have been out of school for many years develop effective study skills.
Page last updated April 24, 2013