Working Part-Time?

Last week we reported some interesting findings on the effects of different arrangement aimed at helping women in the workplace on female physician’s career motivation. Today, we would like to focus on other effects of those measures, working part-time. This measure aims to give women, especially those with kids, the opportunity to spend more time at home without abandoning their careers. However, a study by Rosemary Crompton and Clare Lyonette shows how problematic part-time work can be. In their qualitative study with accountants and physicians they find that working part-time is perceived as quite detrimental to women’s careers and the type of work they can do, especially for physicians working in hospitals. One participant notes:

“a lot of the time the part-time posts are just waiting list initiatives, you know, they need somebody to see this number of back pains or this number of people with such and such, whereas a full-time post, you’re part of a team, you’re setting up a service or doing something a bit more meaningful. So it would be difficult to get the equivalent post as a part-time person, I think.”

The authors also note that women in medicine try to avoid specialties in which part-time work might be detrimental (such as surgery) and prefer going into General Practice, which is perceived as more family friendly. On the bright side – at least for all you women in medicine – , the authors find that women in medicine fare considerably better than those in accountancy. However, whether that holds true for women in surgery, is another question.

4 thoughts on “Working Part-Time?

  1. Hi. It would be relatively easy to email all the part time female surgical trainees via the colleges or Deaneries and find out a UK perspective on this. It seems this stuff is very publishable? We have 3 female part time trainees in our deanery (which is unusually high) as aren’t many nationally.

    • Yes, it would be interesting to see a UK perspective on this. And it does seem like those things are fairly publishable.
      By the way, I sent you an e-mail to the address associated with your wordpress account about guest blogging. As these have ended up in the spam folder a couple of times in the past, I just thought I’d let you know.

  2. At the risk of being blog-bashed, I think part-time training in surgery is just bad training. Bad for patient’s continuity of care, bad for training and learning about postop care/consequences of your action. And no matter how much longer training is prolonged, the experience is just not concentrated enough to attain good enough practical skills. As for working part time after training, yes it is feasible, but I think the team really need to be cohesive with similar perspectives. I personally find it very difficult as I like to be in control of my patients’ care so that I know what outcome to expect. I can hear readers yelling ‘control-freak’ already!! 😀

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