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Working Part-Time out of Residency?

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optimisticallypassingorgo

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I recently had someone tell me today that I could not have a career in medicine and raise a good family at the same time. This has really discouraged me and I've been unable to study all day as I ponder what they said.

I'm not naive, I know medicine take effort and a lot of sacrifices and long hours. However, I also want to raise a family and be a huge part of the lives of my children.

Is part time work possible? Is it possible to be a great mom and be a great part time doctor? Is it possible to find a full time specialty that will allow me to spend enough time with my family?

I have read the Mom MD forums but some of those responses are 4-8 years old. I'd like to hear some more recent thoughts on this.
 
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rilte4

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Whoever said that to you is both ill-informed and socially inept.

The great thing about this profession is that your life can look however you want it to look 10, 20, 30 years down the line. I've found that the best cure for these sorts of fears is seeking out mentors who fit the mold you're wondering about. In your case - practicing physicians who also happen to be mothers. It stops being unfamiliar territory when you see the people in front of you making it work.
 

Hospitalized

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It's absolutely possible. Look at someone like Paul Kalanithi for instance. The guy was helping raise his daughter, dying of stage IV lung cancer, writing a book, AND completing a neurosurgery residency. Humans are capable of so much.
 
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optimisticallypassingorgo

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Thank you for the responses; they're really encouraging after basically being told that women who want to be mothers can't become doctors.

I was reading some old threads on here and there seemed to be a lot of animosity towards working part time. They said that it would be unfair to take a seat in medical school if you want to be part time when there are others who would take it and work full time. That it's a waste of tax payer money if you work part time.
 

frosted_flake

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I have the same fear. I want to be the best mother and wife, then physician that I can be, in that order.

I can't stand to think that I might miss my children's important milestones because I am working 60+ hours a week (following residency). I have nothing against hard work, and if I don't have children then bring it on! But if I do, they and my husband will be my top priority, no questions asked.
Thankfully I am interested in lifestyle friendly specialties (anesthesia, peds) so hopefully I can find what works best for me.

Good luck to you girl!
 
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frosted_flake

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Thank you for the responses; they're really encouraging after basically being told that women who want to be mothers can't become doctors.

I was reading some old threads on here and there seemed to be a lot of animosity towards working part time. They said that it would be unfair to take a seat in medical school if you want to be part time when there are others who would take it and work full time. That it's a waste of tax payer money if you work part time.
I have had people tell me to do NP, PA or pharmacy (even nursing :punch:)... that makes my blood boil! :mad: I know they mean well, but I just want to tell them to STFU.
 

musicalfeet

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It's absolutely possible. Look at someone like Paul Kalanithi for instance. The guy was helping raise his daughter, dying of stage IV lung cancer, writing a book, AND completing a neurosurgery residency. Humans are capable of so much.

That being said...some people really are just superhuman??? For example, I really like reading alittlebitoflacquer.blogspot.com , and I hope I could somehow have my life as together as she does, but I'm not amazing...

Doesn't mean that we shouldn't always give 100% and try as hard as we can to be the best versions of ourselves though. But it's important not to feel like a failure if you can't manage to do it all. Everyone's different.
 
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optimisticallypassingorgo

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That being said...some people really are just superhuman??? For example, I really like reading alittlebitoflacquer.blogspot.com , and I hope I could somehow have my life as together as she does, but I'm not amazing...

Doesn't mean that we shouldn't always give 100% and try as hard as we can to be the best versions of ourselves though. But it's important not to feel like a failure if you can't manage to do it all. Everyone's different.

I understand I'm not gonna be perfect, and I know I will not be able to be a surgeon and the mom who brings homemade cup cakes to every PTA meeting. I'm just gonna try my best, as you said.
 

Law2Doc

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1. Lots of things are "possible". Doesn't mean that it plays out equally well for everyone.
2. In medicine you will have to make trade offs. You won't be able to be a full time mom and a part time Doctor. Youll make big sacrifices on both fronts.
3. In general, will need a lot of help to make this work. Spouse or family help, nannies and daycare.
4. "Part time" in a professional career can still be a lot of hours. I've known people who were considered "part time" still working over 40 hours a week, basically logging 2/3 of the time for 1/2 the salary, and not in line for promotions, bonuses, partnership.
5. the economies of practice in most specialties don't work well with part timers. Overhead is about the same per person whether they are there 40 hours or 80 hours a week, so the latter is cheaper for an employer than two 40 hour people. So the number of jobs offering part time out of the box is small. Many places will allow part time options to retain great employees who have proven themselves but not as an entry level job.
6. Your choice of specialty will be limited if it has to be something you can work part time.
7. A lot of medicine is such that you need to spend a lot of time at it to get good. It's a lifetime of learning. You will never be as good procedurally, for instance, as the guy who does twice as many such procedures each week, or the guy who has seen double the pathology.
8. As an early professional, a lot of places expect you to "pay your dues". The rickety old senior partners are often hiring young guns who can sop up the night and weekend call. So seeking part time work limits the jobs that will be interested in you.

So while everyone on SDN is going to rally around and say "of course you can do this", bear in mind that it's not quite as cut and dry. Yes it's "possible". But the more help you have and the more trade offs you are willing to make the more realistic this journey will be. But whether knowing that you only want to do this part time going in makes any sense, I'll leave that to others to debate.
 

getdown

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1. Lots of things are "possible". Doesn't mean that it plays out equally well for everyone.
2. In medicine you will have to make trade offs. You won't be able to be a full time mom and a part time Doctor. Youll make big sacrifices on both fronts.
3. In general, will need a lot of help to make this work. Spouse or family help, nannies and daycare.
4. "Part time" in a professional career can still be a lot of hours. I've known people who were considered "part time" still working over 40 hours a week, basically logging 2/3 of the time for 1/2 the salary, and not in line for promotions, bonuses, partnership.
5. the economies of practice in most specialties don't work well with part timers. Overhead is about the same per person whether they are there 40 hours or 80 hours a week, so the latter is cheaper for an employer than two 40 hour people. So the number of jobs offering part time out of the box is small. Many places will allow part time options to retain great employees who have proven themselves but not as an entry level job.
6. Your choice of specialty will be limited if it has to be something you can work part time.
7. A lot of medicine is such that you need to spend a lot of time at it to get good. It's a lifetime of learning. You will never be as good procedurally, for instance, as the guy who does twice as many such procedures each week, or the guy who has seen double the pathology.
8. As an early professional, a lot of places expect you to "pay your dues". The rickety old senior partners are often hiring young guns who can sop up the night and weekend call. So seeking part time work limits the jobs that will be interested in you.

So while everyone on SDN is going to rally around and say "of course you can do this", bear in mind that it's not quite as cut and dry. Yes it's "possible". But the more help you have and the more trade offs you are willing to make the more realistic this journey will be. But whether knowing that you only want to do this part time going in makes any sense, I'll leave that to others to debate.

I agree with L2D's post 101%. Working part time is possible and I have co-residents graduating planning on doing just that. However, the pitfalls and downsides of doing part time work is what is already mentioned in #4-8. If this were the good ole days back when you could just open a solo practice and be your own boss you could definitely do that. But unfortunately these days with healthcare being more a business and solo practices are going down the drain replaced with large corporations and management companies, you're just another employee that they need to pull their weight.

The question you should ask yourself is not can I work part time as a doctor but what will ultimately make me happy. If you feel that medicine is the only way to go knowing full well the hazards in your future then do it. If you're doing it for any other reason then you really love medicine then you're going to hate it. You'll regret not being with your family, regret not seeing your kids go up and just being unhappy with your situation doing a disservice to both your patients and your colleagues. So think long and hard. Is there anything else you would/could do that allows you to have the family life you want besides medicine if that is your #1 priority in life.
 
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