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The DO | Patient Care | In the Field

Should young physicians be allowed to work part time?

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Los Angeles anesthesiologist Karen S. Sibert, MD, created a stir last year when she raised concerns about the number of young physicians, particularly women, working part time. In an editorial in The New York Times, she noted that the part-time physician workforce had expanded by 62% since 2005 and wrote, “This may seem like a personal decision, but it has serious consequences for patients and the public.”

Given that women earn nearly half of all medical degrees today and a large proportion of them pursue primary care, the fact that so many are not working full time will exacerbate the physician shortage, Dr. Sibert warned in her column. She argued that such physicians displace future full-time physicians from medical school and residency positions.

Doctors and students, what do you think?

Should recently trained physicians be able to work part time?

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“Students who aspire to go to medical school should think about the consequences if they decide to work part time or leave clinical medicine,” Dr. Sibert wrote. “It’s fair to ask them—women especially—to consider the conflicting demands that medicine and parenthood make before they accept (and deny to others) sought-after positions in medical school and residency.

“They must understand that medical education is a privilege, not an entitlement, and it confers a real moral obligation to serve.”

In 2011, 44% of female physicians and 22% of male physicians worked part time, according to a survey from the American Medical Group Association and Cejka Search.

‘It’s a calling’

Barbara D. Dougherty, DO, took note of Dr. Sibert’s comments. “I agree with the author and have voiced that opinion to many of my colleagues,” says the Sewell, N.J., anesthesiologist. While Dr. Dougherty is working just four days a week now after more than 30 years in practice, she believes recently trained physicians should make a full-time commitment to medicine.

“A new physician who works part time takes away a spot from someone who would work full time,” Dr. Dougherty says. “You have to decide whether this is your profession or whether it’s just going to be a job. Medicine is supposed to be a full-time commitment. It’s a calling.”

Dr. Sibert points out that because tax dollars support medical education, particularly in state-supported medical schools and Medicare-funded residencies, the public has a financial stake in training the next generation of physicians. “I don’t see a recognition of the public good, of the social responsibilities that go along with becoming a physician, among young physicians who choose to practice part time,” Dr. Sibert told The DO. “There seems to be this prevailing sense that this is my spot, it’s my education, and I can do whatever I want with it.”

Members of the osteopathic medical profession are divided on whether new physicians should practice part time. Some praise young physicians for having the courage to prioritize their families, as well as their patients, and blame the medical profession overall for demanding such long hours from those practicing full time. Others concur with Dr. Sibert and Dr. Dougherty that because medicine requires significantly more training than other careers, it requires extraordinary dedication.

More on work-life balance

To learn how some DOs and osteopathic medical students structured their work schedules to pursue other interests, see these articles:

  • In this feature on how young women are balancing medicine and motherhood, osteopathic medical students and DOs share the challenges they’ve faced, such as pumping breast milk while on a surgical rotation and carving out time for themselves.
  • Shannon C. Scott, DO, discusses her move from a large family medicine practice to an academic position that allows her more time with her family.
  • Bethany V. Chernich, DO, talks about becoming an osteopathic manipulative treatment specialist in Montana after she grew overwhelmed by the long hours and high stress of her family medicine residency.
  • A flexible schedule as an emergency physician allows Ivan M. Raimi, DO, to take multiple days off at a time to pursue a screenwriting career.
  • After three years as the medical director of a safety-net health center in Florida, Joanna L. Drowos, DO, MPH, decided to pursue a part-time position in academia so she could spend more time with her two young children.

—Carolyn Schierhorn

But even those who are nonjudgmental express concern that the growing ranks of part-time physicians could affect the projected physician shortage. “I’m not saying that this trend is good or bad, but the fact that more and more young physicians work part time and make other career decisions based on achieving work-life balance has not been thoroughly accounted for in calculating future physician workforce needs,” says Marc B. Hahn, DO, the dean of the Kansas City (Mo.) University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Penchant for balance

Because both male and female medical students and new physicians say they value work-life balance, some contend that young women have been unfairly singled out for criticism. Although women in medicine are more likely than men to work part time to care for children, the desire for work-life balance is generational, not gender-specific, says university administrator Karen D. Johnson, PhD, who researched this topic for her doctoral dissertation. “I have found that both women and men are much more interested in choosing specialties and forging careers that include more balance than were prior generations of physicians,” says Dr. Johnson, the vice president for university relations at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Ill.

Rather than deploring this trend, Dr. Johnson thinks the medical profession should adapt to it. Medical employers should develop part-time opportunities for men and women physicians, she wrote in her dissertation. Given the growing number of part-time physician positions promoted online, the profession seems to be heading in that direction.

The trend has been a long time coming, observes one chief academic officer. “The quest for work-life balance among young physicians is admirable,” says Robyn Phillips-Madson, DO, MPH, the dean of the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine in Yakima, Wash. “This millennial generation values relationships, especially with family. As a result, society needs to redefine what commitment to practicing medicine means today.

“While those of my generation bemoan the fact that there is a lack of the ‘level of dedication’ that so many of us exhibited by ridiculously long work hours and time away from family, I’ve heard many express that they wish they had had the fortitude to draw similar boundaries.”

But Dr. Sibert argues that young male physicians may say they value work-life balance but still work many more hours than female physicians on average when they begin practice. “In my experience, the young men are the hardest workers there are,” she says. “They may talk a great game about work-life balance, but when push comes to shove, it usually doesn’t work out that way for them when they get into practice.”

Double standard?

When he hears complaints about female physicians who practice part time, Philadelphia anesthesiologist Michael Green, DO, is bothered by what he perceives as a “double standard.” His wife, also an osteopathic anesthesiologist, works less than 40 hours a week so she can spend more time with their two children. While she faced criticism for reducing her hours, he has noticed that few people find fault with male physicians who practice part time for various reasons.

“When a man wants to get an MBA and decides to work two days a week in the operating room and three days in a week in an office somewhere, do people criticize him for contributing to a physician shortage?” Dr. Green asks. He knows one 36-year-old man with a family who reduced his practice hours by 40% to serve as the chief medical officer of a pharmaceutical company. While supporting his friend’s choice, Dr. Green can’t understand why that arrangement would be considered more acceptable than a reducing one’s workload to care for kids.

Dr. Green also knows several men and women who are working part-time hours toward the end of their careers in anesthesiology, a physically demanding specialty. “One physician I know turned 69 this year and has been working part time for at least 10 years,” Dr. Green says. “He tells me that his ability to work part time extended his career by several years. So in this respect, part-time practice is having a positive impact on the physician workforce.”

The availability of part-time physicians can also help hospitals meet their needs more cost-effectively, Dr. Green says. “In anesthesiology, we have other physicians scheduling our days, and what they schedule determines our needs,” he explains. “Having part-time employees gives us increased flexibility and allows us to reduce costs.”

Strategic career planning

Dr. Sibert, who raised four children, says she understands the struggles of young women who are balancing medicine and motherhood. But rather than pursue part-time positions, women can find full-time positions in medicine that have manageable work hours, she maintains.

When her children were young, Dr. Sibert chose to work full time for a large academic medical department, in which many physicians shared call. “Unless you were on call, your days were very predictable,” she says. “Now that my children are grown, I work for a private practice group, which is more lucrative, but my days are unpredictable. This would have been a terrible arrangement for me when I had young children.”

Dr. Sibert believes that women in medical school are receiving bad advice and are being presented with a false dichotomy that they can either practice part time and have time for their families or practice full time and have no family life.

What’s more, women who practice part time early in their professional lives often fail to realize how this will adversely affect their long-term career prospects, Dr. Sibert says.

“In general, women are cutting back their hours at the same time the young men who are their peers are putting in longer hours and taking extra cases,” she says. “So the women are falling behind in terms of gaining experience, getting known in their field, working on difficult cases and developing a good referral base.

“If you enter medicine part time, you probably aren’t going to advance or make top-tier pay. You’re not going to get responsibilities. You’re not going to get the most interesting cases. You’re not going to be the go-to person. You’re going to be looked at as ancillary.”

The growing number of young women practicing medicine part time is already creating a backlash against other new female physicians, she says.

“One young obstetrician-gynecologist recently told me that when she was looking for a job, she was just offered part-time work, even though she wants to practice full time,” Dr. Sibert says.

Unanswered questions

With the millennial generation of physicians just embarking on their careers, the full impact of their choices cannot yet be assessed. But some individuals in the osteopathic medical profession are speculating.

Today’s young physicians, because they make more time for exercise and personal interests, may end up being better role models for their patients, Dr. Phillips-Madson suggests. “What will be most interesting to track is whether physicians’ suicide, burnout and depression rates decrease as a result,’ she says. “On the flip side, will the trend have a positive or negative impact on the health of patients?”

Dr. Phillips-Madson points out that the proliferation of part-time physicians could have adverse effects on continuity of care if precautions are not taken. She says some problems have already been noted among hospitalists and other shift-work physicians when patient handoffs are not handled carefully and methodically.

“Patients want physicians who will be there for them,” Dr. Sibert adds. “They want to be able to get hold of and talk to you.”

But given the high cost of medical education and exorbitant debt load of many physicians, some members of the profession suspect the trend toward part-time medical practice may be short-lived.

“With the tuition indebtedness that students have, working full time will probably be seen as the better option,” says Jerry Cammarata, PhD, the dean of student affairs for the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City.

The issue is complex, Dr. Dougherty acknowledges. She notes that her daughter, an osteopathic pediatrician, may end up practicing part time so she can spend more time with her new baby. Her previous practice arrangement forced her to work unreasonably long hours even while pregnant. When Dr. Dougherty herself was juggling medicine and motherhood, she relied heavily on her husband, who for several years was a stay-at-home father.

For Dr. Green, the issue boils down to the medical profession as a whole making room for individualism and self-determination. “I think it’s OK for people to choose their own path,” he says. “Not everyone fits the same mold.”

cschierhorn@osteopathic.org

24 Responses

  1. richard j. davies do on Dec. 21, 2012, 10:30 p.m.

    I fully support physicians who choose not to work full-time. I was in solo practice most of my career. If had it to do over I would have worked less, not been tired so much of the time, and spent more time with my wife (who died of breast cancer way before her time) and my two great kids.

    Richard J. Davies, DO

  2. Russell, OMS I on Jan. 4, 2013, 1:32 p.m.

    I think that the issue of extending careers needs to be looked at more seriously before bemoaning young physicians wanting to work part-time. When I graduate from medical school and finish residency, I intend to work less than the traditional 40-hour work week. I intend to do so in order to spend more time with my family, to be able to take care of my own health, and to try and avoid burn out, early death, and divorce. This article on Medscape, Physicians Are Not Invincible [http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/410643_2], shows that physicians suffer from a host problems due to the stress of their job. Why is it bad for young physicians to say, “I need me time, I need family time, I need to stay healthy”? Perhaps if we fostered a less competitive and less stressful environment for our profession, we would see the numbers in that article decrease and see more physicians living longer, more productive lives. Do not sacrifice lifelong productivity for short-term gains.

  3. Tamara Moutsatson, DO on Jan. 4, 2013, 1:37 p.m.

    I support flexibility and part-time options for both men and women. I have worked part-time for 7 years in Internal Medicine. I still see complex situations, am available via phone even when not in the office, and have staff that work close to full time. I have experienced harsh comments by older physicians in the community regarding my career choices, but on the whole it has been a wonderful experience that has allowed me time to continue reading up on medicine, work out, care for my children, and volunteerism. Part-time options are the wave of the future and I believe medicine will have to adapt. Perhaps the workaholic physicians will notice that there are other (healthier) ways to practice medicine and that cutting back still allows success.

  4. Bill Tucker, D.O. on Jan. 4, 2013, 1:53 p.m.

    While I feel the profession of medicine demands a full-time commitment, the issue is rapidly becoming moot. As government takes over more aspects of healthcare, medicine is becoming a job, and physicians are becoming employees — very knowledgable employees, but employees nonetheless. There is a chasm of difference between a profession and a job.

  5. Ian on Jan. 4, 2013, 2:12 p.m.

    I support a physician’s right to choose when and where he or she wants to work. This article does bring up some great points though. Physicians are indebted to society; Medicare does indeed train all of us. And the next logical conclusion from this would be that doctors have a moral imperative not only to work full-time, but also to accept all insurance types and shun practices which accept only private insurance/cash.

    Here is why I think this is wrong. (1) To be fair, the gov’t gets something out of us too: namely, X amount of yrs as very cheap labour when we are residents. Hospitals that have residents have more research published, get ranked consistently higher via US News and World and other sources, and most importantly they have better outcomes for patients. So it’s not like Medicare is getting ripped off: residents are an asset to hospitals. (2) Plus, with the average debt for a graduating medical student approaching $200k, I feel that new physicians owe society less for all the ‘help’ they receive. In other places in the world where medical education is more heavily subsidized, I think critics might have a stronger argument about public assistance.

    And (3), because as Dr. Davies points out, we are human beings who have lives outside of work. Why should physicians be exempt from the right to self-determination? Instead of thinking about this as Patients vs Doctors, lets think of the needs of families too. Would children be better off with having more or less time with their mothers or fathers? (I should probably get back to work so I’ll leave all of the sexist inferences for someone else to comment on.)

    My condolences to you and your family Dr. Davies

    Ian

  6. Thomas W. Brown, DO on Jan. 4, 2013, 2:13 p.m.

    I graduated in 1972 and became board certified in OB/GYN through an Air Force residency. Times were different, and we had 2 women in our class of about 100. Now things are much different. I spent the last 17 years of my life practicing in a huge HMO (Kaiser Permanente) where many worked part time. I also spent 8 years in private practice and 10 years in the Air Force.Our new OB/GYN’s now are all women and most work part time either because of family or other interests. So, I can see both sides of this issue. Patients prefer “continuity of care” in most medical issues. They want someone they can call or see almost any time. However, the culture has changed, and people are not as respectful of a physician’s time. People now feel you should be available 24/7, and this is unrealistic. Also, the pace of practice in an HMO is fast and heavy. One can get very burned out, very quickly. In private practice I was available 24/7 and patients loved it. But, I couldn’t plan any trips or time with family without being interrupted. In the HMO, we had schedules, and could take days off and switch call around. So I was able to take even 2-3 weeks at a time off, even working full time. The culture of medicine is changing also, and the profewssion is now becoming a “job.” Profession implies being available for patients and selflessly giving of oneself for the patient’s benefit. Medicine is now so complex, and patients so used to getting what they want when they want it, I think the part time style of practice will be the dominant way. It is more expensive–part time employees also get many “full time” benefits. But in the long run, as medicine becomes ever more subspecialized and doctors want time off, the HMO style with full time and part time positions, and scheduled time on and off will be the way medicine goes.

  7. Debra Cooper, DO on Jan. 4, 2013, 2:17 p.m.

    After sacrificing home and family to go to medical school, complete internship and residency without much choice at all – young physicians should be given the choice of how to schedule their careers. I have been amazed at the lack of flexibility in our systems. Naively thought I would have control over my time once I jumped through enough hoops! Maybe instead of bemoaning the shortage of physicians, we would stop the glut of physicians retiring early or pursuing nonclinical careers if more emphasis on balance was given. Those potential physicians in undergraduate training might be more likely to pursue medicine and in particular primary care if there were a true committment. You can have it all – you just can’t necessarily have it all at the same time!

  8. Katherine on Jan. 4, 2013, 2:42 p.m.

    I fully support physicians who decide to work part time. Don’t let attitudes/articles like this make you feel guilty for making the most out of your life & family and not sacrificing your life to your career. Medical professionals are not indebted to society- we paid VERY good money & accumulated enough debt to receive the education we did. We are servants to society, not slaves to society.

  9. David on Jan. 4, 2013, 3:18 p.m.

    I work part time and it enables me to provide better care for my patients. Frankly, I don’t get burned out as often and this is obvious to my wife, children, and patients. The field of medicine needs to change and adapt. Those that don’t like change should retire.

  10. Rome Walter on Jan. 4, 2013, 3:34 p.m.

    The physicians in the article bring up the important point of citizens paying for a significant portion of medical education (and undergrad ed for that matter). Is there a moral obligation to pay society back? What about countless physicians whose entire education is highly subsidized by taxpayer and then earn millions focusing their entire practice on breast implants and other elective procedures? Are they “taking up a slot?” This is largely an economic issue. The answer is economic. Everybody has the right of self-determination. Citizens should not be forced to subsidize another’s education, especially when this education leads to a relatively stable and lucrative salary. Then we would see who goes into medicine and then goes part time. Also, the artificial restrictions into the medical field and regulations are causing the shortage, not doctor’s choosing a better lifestyle. We have chosen to live with those regulations.

  11. Anette Mnabhi, DO on Jan. 4, 2013, 6 p.m.

    How many hours a physician works does not have a bearing on their ability to provide good medical care. They in fact may be healthier and more satisfied and therefore more productive than their counterparts.

    Most who have had state or federally funded scholarships have had to serve time working in a region or at a facility as part of the “repayment” of those funds.

    Kudo’s to physicians who take the time to lead a balanced life. We should be the best examples of how to live a healthy life-style, which the old school model of working 80-100 hours week, on call, running to the hospital before and after office hours. What many physicians consider part time, is still often a 35-40 hour work commitment, which is the normal full time schedule.

    The world has changed, patients drop physicians the minute the health plan changes and their doctor is out of network, the loyalty, or long term patient physician relationships in the primary care world have changed dramatically.

    The data is out there on the high burnout rate among physicians, the high depression and suicide rates, the high rates of being dissatified with life and work, so why do we attack our own who are making choices to not burn out, to not be dissatisfied and who want a healthy balanced life?

  12. Brian on Jan. 4, 2013, 6:49 p.m.

    Forcing doctors to work more than they wish will only lead to burnout and early retirement. Plus, it’s still a free country and I hope it stays that way.

  13. Charles on Jan. 4, 2013, 7:08 p.m.

    We live in America folks, it’s a free country. Medicine doesn’t have to mean the same to me that it does to you. I don’t have to have the same motivations that you have. I think the larger problem is people who think that because they are doctors they are qualified to tell others what to think and how to live their lives. You have no such qualification Dr Sibert, you might just consider getting over yourself.

  14. KMack on Jan. 4, 2013, 7:28 p.m.

    What country is this that someone gets to tell anyone what’s best for their work life balance? It is better for someone to work and then have depression and get FMLA? And what about retiring physicians that their last words are usually in the realm of “make time for your family.” Never did I hear “work more or harder” from an 80 year old doctor. Also most physicians are at the prime of fertility, most will work part time to later work full time. At 26, I made the to choice see my child more than an 1 hour a day 6 days a week. Is that wrong? If you are religious, I am not guided by the medical community. In the end, giving my child the best me and then subsequent generations is what I think the “pearly gates” are about; not whether I spent 24 v 28 v 32 patient hours a week with strangers. I did do a good deed after all and made it dance class! Lastly parents and caregivers who work part time NEVER are part time. Absolutely insulting and ludicrous!

  15. drsusan on Jan. 4, 2013, 8:17 p.m.

    the female doctors in the article specifically gripe about women who take time off to parent. how dare they. and to claim that THEY raised thier own kids while working full time-when actually probably the nanny did or the husband did, but one thing is for sure, they (the women) did NOT as one cannot working 80-100 hours/week. great comment by another poster here that not one mention was made in the article about men who work part time in order to pursue other degrees or admin jobs. this shows an obvious sexual discrimination and should not be tolerated. this sect of medicine-the ones who comdemn motherhood specifically-must be removed like a tumor.

  16. A Doctor's Husband on Jan. 4, 2013, 9:08 p.m.

    My wife is a physician who happens to work “part-time.” What really saddens me about this article and its thinking is that its premise was developed by someone who should understand more than anyone why people make the decision not to work full time- another doctor. I could count on some MBA bean-counter in a corner office to come up with this analysis, but this doctor has stabbed the rest of you in the back.
    I have often ended up in protracted conversations with my wife and her doctor friends about how horrid the medical profession is and how the health care systems they work for suck the life out of them. I work in higher education and the kinds of things done to you doctors, even as early as your residency training, are appalling. At least academic professionals have unions to help fight for their sanity, but you have no one. On top of that you don’t fight for yourselves. You let patients take advantage of you and abuse your practices, allow people without medical knowledge to dictate to you how much your time and services are worth or how much time a service or visit should take, and then you allow other doctors to dare question your personal decisions regarding how you decide to run your own life.
    I honestly don’t think you all know what full-time means. You all know it certainly does not end with the time you spend seeing patients- then you have call, charting, phone calls, reading to stay current, and most of the systems you work for just “include” this time without bothering to try and actually quantify it. My wife works part time so that she only ends up committing approximately 45 hours a week to her profession. If she saw a FT patient load, it would easily be 60 hours a week, and no one would object to that nor offer her more money.
    I have been with my wife since college- I was by her side through all of the education and training (I was just smart enough to get off the pre-med train and seek out something else. I have no debt…she $170K just from medical school.) I applaud all of you for keeping our country well and say thank you for all you do- you are not thanked enough for your sacrifice. But I want you to fight more for your own rights. Take back the steering wheel of medical care in this country. Don’t defile another resident, humiliate another intern, subject someone else to what you were subjected to. You deserve better…and you are the only ones that can drive the change.

  17. Christine Foster, DO on Jan. 5, 2013, 7:58 p.m.

    Dear “A Doctors Husband”: Thank you, thank you, thank you. It is so nice to hear a voice of reason when I live in a world where I constantly hear the Twilight Zone theme in my head. Shame on you Dr. Sibert. It’s nice to know I am not the only physician who had the same guttural response of disgust superimposed upon fury after reading this article. The previous commenter is on the right track, doctors need to start fighting back against the insurance companies, against the government, and against the legal system to take our profession back. If we all band together it would be interesting to see what would happen, and how the nation would function without us. Sad thing is, the majority of us are too beaten to fight the fight. People like Dr. Sibert, who obviously has lost touch with reality, compound the problem, pitting doctors against doctors. It’s that old school thinking “I had to do it so you have to do it”, no matter how rediculous and senseless the requirements are. It makes me wonder if she doesn’t have any liberal political aspirations. Sure seems so.

  18. Older Doc on Jan. 5, 2013, 8:28 p.m.

    I am a female family physician and have practiced for over 20 years. In training and in my practice life I have been around too many of these “workaholic” physicians who sneer at anyone who doesn’t work as hard as they do. Most, sadly to say, had personal lives that were basically crap. I agree that a career in medicine is a commitment, and we have an obligation to society. For me, having a family and actually spending time with them helps me to be a better physician. I attend my children’s school plays, band concerts, sporting events, and I feel sad for doctors who give all their time to Medicine. I have always worked full-time, but I worked urgent care when my children were young. That gave me more days off to spend entirely with my family, but it also meant 12-14 hour days where I didn’t see them as well as weekends and holidays. I would love to have worked part-time, but never had such and offer nor could we have afforded it. My husband stayed home with the children most of these years, and he still does. We just couldn’t coordinate taking care of the children with us both working outside the home. We had no family or friends to help with the child care. Some doctors may not have the luxury of working in a different job situation that affords more family time, as I did and as the one writer in this article states she did when her children were young. Part-time may be their only alternative. I think part of being a good physician is relating to people, and I think a big part of that comes from being involved in life away from Medicine and by sharing the same life experiences. Besides, the doctor who initially works part-time may eventually work full-time. Who’s to say the young doctor who takes a full-time slot won’t eventually go to part-time? We are human, we have accidents and diseases, sadness and depression, heart attacks, MS, cancer…..need I go on? If society thinks they own us, and we have to commit every day of every year of our lives to paying them back for educating us and taking another’s spot…… then I am done now. As another person commented, some doctors don’t ever even practice clinical medicine. They go into research, teaching, insurance reviews, administrative roles, etc. Why should this be “allowed”? After all, they took a slot too.

  19. Peace on Jan. 6, 2013, 11:49 p.m.

    I think primary care is very difficult. Long hours, lessening reimbursement, much administrative work. Thank you to those of you who understand the difficulties and encourage us to take back our lives. I’m trying to do that.

  20. Lucinda R. Michel, DO on Jan. 8, 2013, 4:47 p.m.

    Doctors should definitely be able to work 1/2 or 3/4 time. In this day, where some studies have shown that the majority of Docs are suffering from burn-out, and other studies have predicted a shortage of up to 65,000 docs by 2015, more and more should be done to encourage docs young and old to not quit practicing completely.

    Working full-time as a physician actually equals 65-80 hours per week, which in the normal world equals two jobs. A part-time doc is probably working 35-40 hours a week, which is what regular people call full-time. Just because we’re Doctors does not mean we have to give up our families, friends, and phsical and/or mental health.

    Lucinda R. Michel, DO
    Phoenix Arizona

  21. Mary Jo Robinson, DO on Jan. 10, 2013, 12:38 a.m.

    When I finished pathology residency in the mid90s part-time work was not an option. Even when I experienced issues with trying to juggle major family health problems and making enough money to support myself and family later in 20teens, financially I needed to work full-time as working locums and part-time as an academic physician did not pay the bills.
    As younger physicians encounter the realities of a poor economy, the current political health care climate and paying off education loans there will be less of a part-time work force.
    I support those physicians who can work part-time, but I dont expect it to be a common reality.

  22. Nancy Girard, DO on Jan. 17, 2013, 3:12 p.m.

    By the time I pay off my educational debt, I will have paid close to a million dollars. Sometimes I paid interest rates above 19%. I am in rural primary care and no, it was never my plan too be a small town girl making it big in the city. Many, many teachers with subsidized state education work less hours, only part of the year and have retirement plans and vacations that i cannot afford. Every nickel I’ve earned has gone to servicing my usarious debt. I don’t think anyone has the right to tell me how many hours I need to work. A better solution might be to select different candidates….those more interested in being slave labor? If the profession is unhappy with the product their educational system has produced, then perhaps they need to do some self reflection. Look at admission/selection process. I must work until I die so I must pace myself.

  23. The Happy Hospitalist on Jan. 17, 2013, 9:18 p.m.

    I’m confident physicians pay far more in state income tax and sales tax and generate much more tax revenue with their small business practices than they are subsidized with in education state tax dollars. The issue is even more irrelevant for physicians who graduated from private institutions. What an odd position to consider.

  24. Medical student on Feb. 1, 2013, 11:53 a.m.

    All I can say is wow! Coming from a DO school we should practice what we preach and not judge others that want to work part time if they feel this is best to have a balanced life.

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