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Part-time work as a doctor? Dreamin'?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by LearnedHand, May 3, 2007.

  1. LearnedHand

    LearnedHand 5+ Year Member

    Jan 4, 2007
    I think that whatever I do (be that Dr. or something else), I'd want to do it part-time. Of course this is easier in higher-paying jobs like law or medicine. Do you think this is totally unrealistic or that I could work it out? I hate working at anything full-time, even if it is medicine and I love it.

    Maybe I'm just sick of my current job....but, hey, "moms" often work part-time! Why not non-moms?!
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  3. lulubell

    lulubell 2+ Year Member

    May 1, 2007
    I think there are MD's that work part-time, but I've heard it's difficult to cover the expense of malpractice insurance and make a decent living with part-time hours. I could be wrong though.. maybe someone with more insight can comment.
  4. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student 7+ Year Member

    From what I've heard, the difficult part isn't making money, it's the malpractice that makes part time work difficult to come by. Go to, there are docs there that do parttime work. There are jobs out there that allow you this but it's not prevalent from what I've seen.
  5. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion 10+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    You can temp as a doctor pretty easily, but I don't know if that means part time. Temping is called "locum tenens" and you basically work through an agency. You can't assume the agency will cover your health insurance or malpractice, but maybe sometimes they do.

    You can stay put if your community is large, or travel to underserved areas. For example if a doctor goes on maternity leave, somebody needs to cover that 2-3 months. I expect peds and FM and IM locums are easy to come by, but specialties might be less feasible. Should be easy to google more info.

    Keep in mind whether you'll be carrying a ton of debt as you consider this.

    Best of luck to you.
  6. LearnedHand

    LearnedHand 5+ Year Member

    Jan 4, 2007
    I'm interested in psychiatry and know of psychologists who do p/t work. I wonder if this is possible in psychiatry, too? I know that psychiatrists usually have better hours than other docs.
  7. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    If you're willing to work part-time as in take contracts broken up by periods of not working, there's always locum tenans, like DrMidLife mentioned.

    But if you really have a tough time working "full time", I would think that medicine would be about the worst career you could pursue, given that you'll have pretty rough hours for four years of medical school and absolutely hellish hours for residency.
    Moms are sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) given more flexibility because they are raising children. This doesn't equate to not working, just not getting paid for it. I've had part-time working moms work for me and loved it, because they tend to have a good work ethic.

    That's a bit different from someone who wants to work part-time because 40 hours per week is too many. That sends up red flags to some folks.
  8. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Psychiatrists tend to have some of the best hours but they also have some of the lowest pay.

    And the average workweek for psychiatrists is still over 40 hours per week, I'm sure.
  9. bottles999

    bottles999 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Feb 28, 2005
    Boston Area
    If your not already a Dr. Are ya not forgetting the time it will take to Get to that position? I mean Med school and then residency?? Those certainly are not part time jobs. Dont get me wrong about the desire to work part time. However, those are two big hurdles that require full time comittments, from what I have seen, and will take 7-8 years or more to complete before you have and a life in luxury.
  10. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection Physician Faculty SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    Inside the tesseract
    I know of a medical school where is is possible to do first year (only) at half the pace, taking two years to cover the material. It is meant primarily for non-science majors who had liitle science background in undergrad.

    At the time that I did residency, it was possible to share a residency spot with a partner and work half time. I knew someone who did this, and she and her partner put in about 60% time each, in her opinion. The downside: the residency took 6 years instead of three.

    I currently work part-time in a practice that is large enough to self-insure, so I don't have that fixed overhead for malpractice insurance. Someone working half time makes half the salary of a full-time doc. Of course, I did not decrease my work hours until after I had paid off my medical school debt (and mortgage).

    So I don't think your goal is unrealistic. You just have to look hard to find such a position.
  11. medstud753

    medstud753 Banned Banned

    Apr 25, 2007
    What medical school is this?
  12. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor? Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    There are docs who are hospitalists (IM trained) who work less than 40 hours, and EM, Rads, Gas, Optho could all work less than full-time. But you'd need an understanding group to do so (and even then you'd need seniority). Or you could own your own practice, and determine your own rules.

    But to get to that point you'd need to go through med school and residency, which are far beyond full-time committments. That's 7 years (at least) spent learning to do something part-time - is that worth it?

    medstud - there's a number of schools out there who let you go half-speed, but this is usually reserved for people who are failed the first few courses and will remediate (in some fashion).
  13. Dr.Detroit

    Dr.Detroit Boogie Member Physician 7+ Year Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    I know a family practitioner who worked 2 days/week in an urgent care clinic. She's now working 1 day/week.
  14. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

    Feb 23, 2007
    Agree with this.

    There are plenty of specialties with high pay and relatively good lifestyles (e. g. derm, rad onc, gas), but that is what makes them so damn hard to match.

    Usually working part time is something that is considered late in one's career after the student loans have been paid and the kids have finished their Ivy League educations. If you really only want to put in part-time hours, you're not going to like the nature and expense of the training with medicine.
  15. gotmeds?

    gotmeds? 5+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    You know, that's how I read the orginal post. If working 40 hours a week is too much for you, you're going to have a hard time in med school. Not to mention that unless you're already independently wealthy (which could explain the work ethic) you will need to work full-time after you finish your residency to pay off your loans.
  16. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Mar 30, 2001
    I think residency is more of overtime all the time;) Not to mention the paperwork involved.

    Anyway, one of my colleagues is a "temp" doc, and works at various hospitals for this medical group. The hours still suck when he is on, and there may be weeks or a month when he may not even work. With med school loans, and other life expenses...thats not a good thing, even on a physician's salary. I do remember him getting off work at 2AM sometimes.

    The OP's question can be taken in many ways. If in the extreme long term, if the OP had their own clinic, then perhaps part time is possible. But given that med school and residency aren't part-time, and privately owned clinics tend to require you working some "share" of time...then thats difficult. You gotta put in the time if you want to play the game. I'm afraid if you're burnt out on your current full-time job, you may not be happy in med school let alone residency and beyond:(.
  17. mitawa

    mitawa Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    We had 2 speakers for or women in medicine club who worked part time. One had 6 kids and the other 5. One was family med, and I can't say that I know how they manage!:eek:
  18. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    I've met people who worked lighter schedules in peds, EM, FP, and psych. However the last few years of med students have been more lifestyle oriented than previous years, suggesting a new generational trend, so expect part time slots to be more hotly competed for in coming years. Plan to have to be a hot property to have a good shot at part time.

    Additionally, the way reimbursements keep getting lowered, high throughput is now the key to success in most offices, so expect fewer practices to offer part time options -- they want someone who can crank patients through 60 hours/week. Because of medmal insurance and other doctor specific expenses, it is much more costly to have two people working 30 hours than 1 working 60, so the full time workers generally win out, and this trend will continue so long as reimbursement amounts stay the same or decrease. Some places have "pay your own expenses" systems, but that is rarer, and less cost feasible on a part time salary. You can always open your own practice, but with high expenses and low reimbursement amounts, you may find you have to work longer hours than part time to make a decent living.

    And, as everyone has mentioned, the med school through residency, through paying down your debt thing is going to be pretty long hours for a decade or so before you can even realistically discuss part time.
  19. Dustbunny

    Dustbunny 2+ Year Member

    Apr 17, 2007
    Probably not what you're looking for, but being a pharmacist is great for moms who want to work part time. Figure 20-25 hours per week and still pull in $50K/year. This is without residency, so your first year out of school, you're making ~$55/hour. (More or less, depending on your location.)

    There are worse ways to live.

    Being a doctor though? I couldn't imagine a worse profession to join if your goal is to work part time.
  20. adoggie

    adoggie 5+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    Honolulu, USA
    I saw a post for a job in California that requires only 7 hours per month. Now that's part time. (It was in the field of neurology).

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