Physician Business

What’s the ideal work day for women physicians leaving medical practice?

A physician coach wonders what the work options are for women physicians who quit clinical practice…At the recent SEAK Nonclinical Careers Conference, while introducing myself to the audience as a Mentor, I alluded to “one of medicine’s dirty secrets”. My remark was directed to the many women physicians in the audience as I felt it was imperative to name one of the elephants in the room – the struggle many women physicians have around the timing of having children, whether to have children at all, and how to balance motherhood and a career.

I must’ve touched a raw nerve as my Mentor table was immediately mobbed by a line of women physicians eager to sign up for their meager 15 min. coaching session with me. Over the next day and a half, I had the sometimes painful privilege of listening to the yearnings and frustrated desires of many struggling women colleagues.

These conversations reinforced for me the realization that it is a very fortunate, very few women physicians who experience adequate support in the workplace and at home to sustain their professional and career needs along with their personal desires!

It’s no wonder so many women physicians are left struggling with the decision whether to continue in clinical practice or to quit.

I’ve often asked myself how I would have coped if I had had to leave the house at 7:30 in the morning, only to return after a full day in practice at 5:30 or 6, and face dinner chores and a tired kid!

For all you women physicians out there who face the struggle, how do you manage?

Where do you draw your support?

Given what I sense to be a significant problem, I’ve also been wondering what an ideal work day would look like for women physicians who have decided to quit full-time medical practice, and yet need to find ways to keep their brains active, their skills up and at least some income coming into the household.

  • Would you do volunteer work?
  • Would you try and find something part time?
  • Would you write a book?
  • Would you change careers altogether and do something completely removed from clinical practice and medicine?
  • Would you try and build an Internet-based business?
  • Would you go back to school on your own timetable (local community college, online MBA??) and acquire new skills?

I’d love to hear from you!