What is so special about the radiology resident when it comes to rehiring? Moreover, if a resident finds himself in a situation where he leaves and subsequently wants to go back, is it ever appropriate for a residency to rehire this individual? To answer these questions, let’s first discuss why residencies are so different from a regular job when rehiring.
Why Rehiring Is So Different For Residencies?
Rehiring at a typical job and residency is not the same. For residencies, each post-graduate year has a distinct service role and responsibility that the program needs to fill, different from most jobs. Additionally, since residency is not just service (unlike a typical job), the resident also needs to meet educational qualifications in any given year. For some programs, that might mean passing specific procedural and cognitive activities. Finally, residents may need to fulfill designated milestones of differing responsibilities at each institution. So, residents are not easily interchangeable, and rehiring during residency can be challenging.
Additionally, when one leaves and wants to come back later, your program may not have the educational or financial resources to compensate the resident. For example, if you complete a different residency year and then return to radiology residency, Medicare may no longer fund your position. Or educationally speaking, a first-year most often cannot substitute for a third-year resident spot that might be open and vice versa. All these issues can also stand in the way of a rehire.
When Can A Residency Program Rehire A Former Resident?
Now that you can understand why rehiring might be so tricky, let’s discuss some of the situations that residencies might encounter that would enable the residency program to rehire a former resident. Three of these circumstances are a coincidental fortune, grants and opportunities, and institutional policies. We will go through each one of these in particular.
Sometimes all the stars align that allow a program to rehire a resident. Let’s take the example of a resident that was let go because of failing the Step III USMLE. At some institutions, residents need to pass the test before they reach their PGY-3 year. So, hospitals are not obligated to rehire individuals who do not pass their Step III boards after starting their PGY 3 year.
But, let’s say the resident who failed initially was in good standing up until the boards and then passed their boards well into their PGY-3 year. Then, suppose the residency program has not filled that spot, and the former resident applied to it again after passing. In that case, the resident could be fortunate enough to retake their place (albeit possibly graduate later.) The story could have also ended without the resident able to retake their spot if it was no longer available. It was luck that enables the resident to get their job back again.
Grants And Opportunities
Other times, different programs have opportunities built into them to rehire residents after a specified amount of time. Perhaps, it is a year of international volunteering as a radiologist. Or, a resident may take off a year to complete a permissible research project in the institution. In these specific situations, programs can rehire their residents after they fulfill their time.
Finally, some institutions may have specific policies that forbid a resident from being fired. Perhaps, a residency suspends a resident but has done so without the appropriate documentation to do so. Other by-laws may force due process before termination (as long as it does not jeopardize patient care!) Specific policies in place at the hospital such as these can cause the rehiring of a resident.
To Rehire Former Residents: Not So Simple!
Residencies are much more than a typical job because of their education as well as service requirements. Therefore, rehiring former residents can present multiple obstacles due to the nuances of radiology residencies. Given these obstacles, don’t expect to regain your former position unless you do your due diligence to ensure that you still have a spot. Rehiring at a residency program is not the norm!